On Sabbath we resumed our study of 1st Peter and explored the latter half of chapter one, discovering that hope wins when we respond to the grace we’ve been given.
Rewind to 1 Peter 1:10-25. Verses 10-12 make the case that hope wins when you’re serious about your salvation. Don’t take it for granted! What the prophets looked forward to, the Christians could look back on. The living hope of what Jesus has accomplished for you and in you, is what makes life worth living.
In light of this great salvation and living hope Peter has just described, there is an appropriate response. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed” (vs. 13).
Peter says, “get your minds right.” Get ready for action (not just mental assent) and know what your hope is centered on. No flabby thinking. What needs to be “girded up” in our minds so we can run spiritually without tripping? Are there loose morals, loose jokes, loose philosophies, loose language, loose images, loose attitudes that we need to get out of the way so we can get our minds right—especially when trials come? I’m sure you know the answer.
Here Peter looks ahead to the second coming of Christ, and the grace we will receive then. Our hope is in the grace of God from start to finish. Grace redeemed us at the cross; grace sustains and transforms us in our walk; and grace will glorify us at His coming.
Our living hope is God’s gift—an inheritance created for us by Christ’s death and resurrection. This gift is not only ours to have, but it is ours to live. The response to being given a living hope is living in that hope. Peter spells out three ways this happens: in holiness, in love, and in the Word.
Called to live in holiness [Read verses 14-16]. Obedience is a characteristic of the people of God who have been “chosen, sanctified, and sealed by the blood of Jesus.” [See verse 2.] This is covenant imagery. (Rewind to Ex. 24:3-8.) There was a choosing, vows of obedience, and a sprinkling of blood to seal the covenant.
In the new covenant we see the same thing. Obedience is the new way of life for those who’ve received new life in Christ, even as “one-fleshness” is the new way of life for those who enter into the marriage covenant. A newly-married couple lives according to the new covenant of their love as “one-flesh”—not returning to their old life of singleness (when they “lived in ignorance” of the marital love they are sharing now).
In the same way, we are not to conform to evil desires that were part of our first birth–when we were ignorant and didn’t know we had a living hope in the resurrection of Christ, and an inheritance waiting for us in heaven. But now we know! And are called to live covenantal life in Jesus—a life Peter calls “holiness.” Holiness is merely the way we live in relationship to God. It’s our “marital” status.
When God brought Israel out of bondage in Egypt, He told them they were not to go back (see Deut. 17:16). This tells us something about how we are to relate to our former lives and conduct prior to becoming Christians. We’re not supposed to go back there again! Holiness is not going back to the old life. (Rewind to 1 Peter 4:3 for a description of that old life. Then compare with 4:7-10 for a partial description of what the new life of holiness looks like.)
Called to live in love [Vs. 22] We are “Purified by obeying the truth” which causes us to “have sincere love for your brothers”–a love that is deep and from the heart. A life of holiness results in a life of love. What does that look like? 2:1 says, “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” If obeying the truth doesn’t result in love it hasn’t purified you.
Called to live in the Word [Vs. 23-25] A life of holiness and love can only be sustained by a life in the Word. Why is Peter telling them this? Because they are wondering if their faith is worth the trouble. Peter is reminding them that no matter how rich, advantaged, secure and powerful the pagans (and Jews) appear, “all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:24-25)
Twenty centuries later, the Word of the Lord endures and is alive today—in you and me. Crave that word as mother’s milk or you will starve to death. Because of the precious blood of Christ, you’ve been redeemed and given a living hope; now live in that hope through holiness, love, and the Word. –Pastor Randy
p.s. Announcing “The Altar Project”: Calling the Family to Prayer. Starting at sunset on October 12, and ending at sunset November 10, families (including singles) throughout the Washington Conference are called to engage in 30-days of prayer to re-prioritize the pursuit of God in our homes, schools, and churches. Washington Conference Prayer Ministries invites you to experience spiritual revival through the restoration of family worship. For daily prayer and devotional ideas, visit washingtonconference.org/altar.