WHEN THOU ART CONVERTED, STRENGTHEN THY BROTHERS.
On the night that Jesus was betrayed and arrested, he told Peter that he would deny knowing him three times. Of course, Peter denied that he would deny. Jesus told Peter,
Satan has desired to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith would not fail. When you are converted, strengthen your brothers.
This verse has always fascinated me. Notice what it reveals. Jesus said that satan desired to sift Peter like wheat. Jesus didn't say that He wasn't going to allow it, but only that Peter's faith would not fail. Not that Peter himself wouldn't fail, but that his faith wouldn't fail. Peter's faith in what? His faith in Jesus, of course.
The phrase ‘when you are converted’, at a glance, would seem to point to the idea that Peter would need another conversion experience after his denying the Lord. However, this is reading too much into the word, converted. This word simply means, to turn around. Jesus knew that on that night, his disciples would be severely tested. Jesus was telling Peter, ‘ I know that you are going to get all twisted up and disoriented because of Satan’s testing you. But I have prayed for you that your faith will endure and not fail. After you have gotten back on course, and turned again in the right direction, strengthen your brothers in your faith.’
How was Peter going to be able to strengthen his brothers after such a failure? Because he knew through experience, the Grace of the Lord Jesus. It is only those who have failed in some way in their walk and have been restored, who also understand the depth and the power of the grace of God. Grace is not a ticket or a license to sin. It is the avenue and power of God to restore after we have sinned. Who among us has not failed to some measure, in our walk with God? Are we restored through our own efforts or righteousness? I think not, but only by the power of the Grace of God.
THE SEED OF GOD REMAINS
7 Little children, let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (I John 3:7-9)
This is a most powerful passage. In verse 9, John says, ‘whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin’. Is this saying that a believer does not ever sin? God forbid. John would be in contradiction with himself and the rest of Scripture. The key is in the tense of the verb, commit. This verb is in the Present Tense, which signifies action that is continual and ongoing. This is actually saying, ‘whosoever is born of God does not continually and habitually commit sin’. The reason a believer cannot continually sin is because the Seed (lit. the sperm) of God continually remains in him. Did you get that? The Seed of God CONTINUALLY REMAINS IN HIM!!! Here is an expanded translation of this verse, giving the sensing of the verbs used.
Whosoever is born of God, does not continually and habitually commit sin; for His Seed continually remains in him; and he is not able to continue in sin, because he is born of God.
In this verse, ‘seed’ is used in the sense of life and image. The seed of God in the believer is the Life of God in him, and the seed bears after its own likeness. It is not that we become ‘god’, as He is God, but that we are created after the image and likeness of God. “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him” (Col. 3:10). This verse also shows that our security is based upon relationship, not works.