Making Biblical Decisions – October 20, 2023

All of us make decisions every moment of every day. Most of these decisions seem inconsequential. They have little impact on the broader scope of our lives. However, some decisions hang around our neck like a millstone. Often, we feel ill-equipped to consider the consequences of our decisions and feel overwhelmed by life itself. A significant aspect of moving into adulthood is the longing to return to the time when others made the decisions for us.

Perhaps you grew up in a home or church environment where you were told what to do and what to believe. Spiritual leaders taught you a list of rules to live by. If you kept these rules, God was pleased with you. If you broke these rules, you feared God’s punishment. Authorities informed girls of God’s desire for the length of their skirts, dresses, and shorts. Guys were told what shirts and slacks to wear to be right with God. You were informed what music pleased and displeased God. You were forbidden from the movie theater and music concerts. Yet, as you grew, you began to see people very different from you who loved God deeply. This possibility created chaos in your structured life.

Perhaps you grew up in a home or church environment that seemed to allow anything and everything. The Bible never came into mind when considering things you could wear, listen to, or places to go. The only rule seemed to be not to embarrass your family or church. As you examined your life, you recognized no difference between you and the unsaved people you encountered.

In both cases, the Christian can be tempted to fall into a spiritual tailspin. Yet, The Bible provides the necessary answer for the believer. In 1 Peter 1:3, Scripture informs us that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness in His Word. Peter reveals that God, through Christ’s divine power, granted to the believer everything needed for life change. At the outset, Peter reminds us that life change comes not through personal will but through God’s divine power. Most importantly, we must recognize that this divine power cannot be defeated or frustrated.[1] God accomplishes what He purposes to do.

God’s divine power grants us everything needed for life and godliness. First, Peter notes that God gives the believer everything required for life. Through this statement, Peter points to eternal life and mortal life. As the heretics of Peter’s day denied the reality of eternal life and judgment, Peter points to God’s sovereignty as a reminder that eternity awaits. Further, God grants the believer this eternal life even now while awaiting Christ’s second coming and eternal life.[2] Today’s life impacts every individual’s eternal destiny.

Further, because an eternal destiny awaits all, so too, eternal judgment awaits. As a result, God also grants the believer everything needed for godliness. Barclay notes, “Jesus Christ tells us what life is and then enables us to live it as it ought to be lived.”[3] Further, the believer must note that this godliness cannot be sourced in their power or will but in Christ’s divine power. Actual change originates only through the knowledge of Christ.

God’s glory and goodness reveal Christ through the great and precious promises given to the believer in Christ. Scripture contains the sum of these promises to the believer. Specifically, these promises include the promise of sharing in the divine nature. Peter refers not to the ability to become gods. Instead, these promises refer to conformity to Christ and restoration of God’s image in the believer.[4] As a result, when the believer reads the promises in the Word to make the right decisions, they may claim them for themselves.[5] The Word of God contains all we need to make right, Biblical decisions.

However, the response to this truth usually comes in two forms. Because life in the modern world feels increasingly complicated, we cannot see how a book written thousands of years ago can inform our current decisions. Paul did not deal with the technology we deal with today. Peter was not worried about where to send his child to college. James could not fathom the complications brought on by a modern recession. As a result, many modern Christians deny the possibility that the Bible contains the answers they need for their everyday decisions.

Others respond in a very different way. The burdens, busyness, and demands of everyday life crowd out any thought of God, His Word, or His desires. We could summarize the goal for these individuals as survival. These people work for the weekend. Their goal in childrearing is simply that their kids would not get pregnant out of wedlock, finish school, and get a good job. Anything beyond these things is just a bonus. As a result, many modern Christians ignore the reality that the Bible contains the answers they need for their everyday decisions.

What if I told you there is a third way to respond? What if I told you that this third way provides a map to making good decisions that align with God’s desires? That is what this series of The Pastor’s Pen seeks to accomplish. I am writing this series to encourage the believer that the Bible should be the foundation of their life. And that when they apply the teaching of the Word to their life, they can find satisfaction and joy. Now, I must clarify what this series is not. This is not a series of rules. This is not a series of standards. In fact, two Christians can read this series, apply the lessons in it, come up with two opposite conclusions, and both be right with God.

This series is the result of my story. I grew up in an environment that sought to set the rules for everyone to be right with God. We were told where we could go, what we could wear, watch, and listen to to be right with God. If we strayed from these rules, we were warned that we were in danger of God’s punishment. However, several events created conflict in my soul. First, time passed, and the world changed. Unfortunately, the rules did little to help me adapt to the ever-changing world. Second, I met people who loved God with very different convictions. Most importantly, I became a youth pastor responsible for teaching teenagers how to approach the world and make good decisions.

Believing that God’s Word contained everything I needed for life and godliness, I set about to discover how the Ancient Book applied to modern life and its decisions. What I found changed my world and led me to satisfaction and joy. I discovered not a list of rules but a set of lessons that apply across the ages and all cultures. What amazed me even more was that these lessons provided immense freedom. So, I invite you to join me on this journey toward making biblical decisions by establishing biblical convictions for the next few months.

[1] William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 342.

[2] Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, 292.

[3] Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter, 342.

[4] Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, 294.

[5] Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter, 343.