Monday, February 20, 2017, 4:46 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “In Holiness.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 1:13-25 (NASB).
Prepare Your Minds (vv. 13-16)
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
We who are in Christ Jesus, by faith, were chosen by God even before the creation of the world to be holy in his sight. We were chosen by God to be cleansed of our sins and to obey Christ, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit (1 Pet. 1:1-2). To be sanctified means to be purified and made holy. Jesus died on the cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He gave himself for us that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. And, he died “to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:14; Eph. 2:10).
Therefore, because of all that Jesus did for us, and on account of his will and his purpose for our lives, according to which we were created and chosen by God, and for which he called us and he saved us, we are to do all that Peter stated here that we should do. This is why we are here on this earth, for a time. We are not here to live for ourselves, to entertain and be entertained, and to live selfish lives, engrossed in the world of sin, satisfying our every sinful desire. We are not here to please ourselves, but to please God; not here to do what we want, but to do what he requires and what he desires.
So, we are to prepare our minds for action. What action? And, how do we do this? The action is pretty obvious. It is whatever God’s word teaches and commands us we must do. The way we prepare for it, as believers in Jesus, is to surrender our lives to God, first of all. Then, we need to rid our lives of anything hindering our walks of faith, such as anything which might lead us into sin, and we need to throw off any sin still remaining in our lives which easily entangles us so we can run the race God has set out for us (Heb. 12:1). We must resist Satan, flee sinful desires, and draw near to God. Daily we must put on the armor of God so we might fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. And, then we have to walk in holiness, in truth, in integrity, and according to and in the Spirit, and no longer according to our sinful flesh.
This will not happen, though, if we don’t take God and his word seriously. Too many professing Christians today are making light of God’s grace, i.e. they are taking God and his grace for granted, and/or they are far too casual about their Christian walks. They live so much like the world that it is barely distinguishable between those who profess Christ and those who make no profession of faith in Christ at all. They are still conforming their lives to the sinful lusts they walked in before they made a profession of Christ as Savior of their lives, so they are not walking in holiness. But we are called to be holy, and to be holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world, because we are being conformed into the image of Christ. In all our behavior we are to be pure, righteous, honest, holy, honorable and to show integrity.
The Fear of God (vv. 17-21)
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
While we live on this earth, we are to live here in the fear of the Lord. This does not mean we are to be afraid of God, but that we are to treat him with honor, value, respect, reverence, and awe, and we are to take him and his Word seriously. Thus, we are to walk in obedience to his instructions for our lives – all in the power and working of God’s Spirit now living within us. And, we are to live to please him in all that we do.
Yet, many people today are preaching that we don’t have to turn from our sins, and we don’t have to obey Christ, and that God is pleased with us no matter what we do, if we have prayed a prayer to receive Christ. They teach that God does everything and nothing is required of us. While it is true that we can do nothing to deserve or to earn our own salvation, and we are not saved by our own works, we are saved to do good works, and we are saved to be delivered out of slavery to sin so that we can live to righteousness. To have the attitude that nothing is required of us and that we can live however we want and still go to heaven when we die is a slap in the face to God, and it is not living in the fear of the Lord. We need to learn to live in godly fear.
Love One Another (vv. 22-25)
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For,
“All flesh is like grass,
And all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
And the flower falls off,
But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word which was preached to you.
A lot of people today have an aversion to the word “obedience.” They equate it with legalism. Yet, they are wrong! Why? Because if we are truly walking in obedience to our Lord we can’t be doing what is opposed to him and his word. If God disapproves of legalism, then it can’t be obedience. God often chided his people in the OT because they followed all the ceremonial laws and did all the required sacrifices, but they didn’t obey him. He said they honored him with their lips, but their hearts were far from him. Jesus, as well, often chided the Pharisees because they were so strict about following all the traditions of the elders and the ceremonial laws, but they also did not obey the Lord, and they surely didn’t love their neighbors. Jesus told them they cleaned up the outside, but inside they were full of wickedness.
So, obedience is a good thing, and not something to be shunned. We don’t obey to be saved, but obedience is part of God-given faith. When we believe in Jesus Christ, by the Spirit, we die with Christ to sin and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24; cf. Ro. 6:1-23).
Because we obeyed the truth, by the Spirit, our souls were purified of the Spirit of God, so that we have sincere love for our fellow Christians, and for all people, in reality. We should even love our enemies. So, we are to fervently (passionately and zealously) love one another from our hearts. This kind of love is God-like, and it prefers what God prefers, and it is not dependent (conditional) on the one being loved but on the one doing the loving. As well, this kind of love is action, it is giving, and it is self-sacrificial. Yet, this kind of love never compromises our faith and convictions in order to make peace with the world, but it holds fast to the enduring word of God.
In Holiness / An Original Work
February 1, 2016
Praise the Lord all you saints!
Worship God in holiness.
Trust in Him! Do not faint!
Believe in His righteousness.
God is faithful in all things.
He delivered you from sin.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Witness daily. His words heed.
Trust in Him! He is truth!
He has not forsaken you.
Rest in Him! Let Him lead!
He will meet all of your needs.
When you go through trials deep,
He’ll be with you. He’ll not sleep.
Walk with Him throughout your day.
Read your Bible. Kneel and pray.
Give to God all your heart!
From His mercy ne’er depart.
Jesus died for your sin!
Walk in vict’ry. Live in Him.
Jesus paid the debt we owe.
From our lives His love should flow,
Living for Him ev’ry day,
Loving others, His words say.