I PETER 6
Extra essay to think about
FAITH IS THE RESPONSE OF THE MIND
TO THE FACTS OF THE GOSPEL
I remember a professor at Denver University (I think) quoting an old definition of Education that said, “Education is a process of information passing from the head of the teacher into the notes of the students without passing through the minds of either one of them”. This may be funny, but when applied to the field of religion it is too often sadly true, and the observed results very sobering. We decry those who spin prayer wheels and believe that each spin sends a prayer up to heaven. We sadly pity those who mouth meaningless phrases, or make ritual signs with their hands and feel that they are being piously worshipful. But stop and think: how much of our mind is really involved in the worship we practice every Sunday? During the Lord’s Supper, do we really remember Him? As we sing, are we singing with the Spirit and the understanding? Are we really ready to say, “Amen”, at the end of each prayer, or are our minds elsewhere during each of these activities?
I would remind you that faith is a response of the mind. Peter, in this first chapter, reminds us of that which brought about our redemption. Christianity is not based on some mindless emotional mumbo jumbo. Nor is it based on our membership in some organization, no matter if it is called a church. Being a part of a church is important for our oneness and fellowship, but it is not what redeems us and it cannot save us.
Christianity and our redemption is based upon the fact of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, twenty centuries ago. Faith is the grasping of that fact, and the response of the mind to its implications. Too much of religion today is based solely on emotions, and on loyalty to the institution to which one belongs. Faith is in the words of the preacher, because he speaks for my church. The words are heard, but our thinking mind never gets involved. As a result we neither question or respond in true faith to the message given. Our Christianity too often consists of being members of the audience, but not actors of faith as a result.
In this chapter, Peter is insisting that it is necessary to put our minds into our religion if we are to be holy as He is holy. Paul says if we are not to conform to this world, we must renew our minds. Peter is in full agreement with this when he urges his readers to be self-controlled and “not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance”. In other words, “Get your mind involved in your professed religion”. Only the disciplined mind, activated by a recognition of the realized facts, will control the individual to be the kind of person God wants, and the only one redeemed. When you wish to stand by the Cross, let your mind realize where you are.