1 Peter 1:13-25 ESV
In the first half of 1 Peter 1, we learned that we who are in Christ Jesus, by faith in him, are called of God to the sanctification (purification, holiness) of the Holy Spirit and to obedience to Jesus Christ. And, we learned, as well, that being followers of Jesus Christ means we will most likely undergo trials and tribulations which will test the genuineness of our faith (1).
And, too, we learned that those tests of our faith will also involve being persecuted for our faith. Thus, we may be regarded as outcasts, the unwanted, because we follow Jesus Christ and we no longer conform our lives to the ways of this sinful world.
In addition, we learned that some (or the majority) of this persecution may come, not from the world, but from the church which has conformed itself to the world, and thus we won’t fit in with them. And, so, they may even invite or encourage some of us to leave their fellowships.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
So, it is imperative that we are prepared for all of this so that we are not led astray by clever enchanters whose goal it is to get us to be more like the world and to not be so serious-minded about Christ and his Word. It is critical that we know the truth of God’s Word and that we walk in that truth, too, or we may easily be deceived by wolves in sheep’s clothing who would trick us into following after lies and thus rejecting the truth.
For, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are supposed to be very serious-minded about the Lord and with regard to his teachings. We are to not take lightly the things of God or easily dismiss sinful addictions as though they don’t matter to God. We are not to take God’s grace for granted, either, or to reduce it to mere forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven when we die. For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, not just so we can go to heaven one day.
Thus, as Christ’s followers, we are called to obedience to Christ and his Word. We are supposed to do what Jesus instructed us and what his NT apostles instructed us to do. We are not to be hearers of the word only, but we are to be doers of the word. For, Jesus’ true sheep listen to his voice and they follow (obey) him, and they are the ones who can’t be snatched out of his hands, not just anyone who says they believe in Jesus.
So, if we are walking in obedience to Jesus Christ, thus, we will not walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin, wickedness), but we will walk in the light as Jesus is in the light (Jn. 8:12; 1 Jn. 1:5-9). We won’t live like we did before we believed in Jesus, but now we will be living according to the Spirit of God, not necessarily in absolute sinless perfection, but in lifestyle.
For, we are called to be holy, which means to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. Thus, we are to be holy in ALL of our CONDUCT. And, this means we must have our hearts surrendered to Jesus Christ, and we must submit ourselves to the Lordship of Christ. And, then, in the power of the Spirit within us, we can live holy lives pleasing to God in all that we do.
And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
We must always regard ourselves as strangers in this world, set apart for God and for his service, no longer blended in with the world in order to be accepted by the people of the world. Our goal must always be to please our Lord, even if it means the whole world turns against us, and they may.
Thus, we must walk in the fear of the Lord always. It is imperative that we honor, value, respect and obey him as a matter of course in our lives. This is not optional. For, if we don’t walk in obedience to him, scripture says we don’t love him, and that God is not in us, and we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God. So, we have to take this seriously and not mess around thinking that our sins are of no account to God (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Jn. 14:15, 21, 23-24).
For, Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross to ransom us from the futile ways in which we walked before we trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. He bought us back for God with his blood so that our lives would no longer be our own, but now we would be God’s possession, and so we would now honor God with our lives.
He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the 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.
Jesus Christ, who is our Lord and Savior and the author of our salvation, is not only the Son of God, but he is God. He was with God in the beginning, and all things which were created by God were made by him (John 1).
So, he laid the foundation of the world, and he made man and woman to worship him and to give him glory, honor and praise. And, he willingly left his throne in heaven and humbled himself by taking on human form. And, he became obedient to death on a cross so that we might be delivered from our slavery to sin and have eternal life with God in heaven.
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding 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,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
Faith in Jesus Christ is not just words we say, or a verbal confession we make, or some emotional feeling or intellectual assent to who Jesus Christ was and is, and to what he did for us in dying on a cross for our sins. For, genuine faith in Christ is God-given, and it is divinely persuaded as to God’s righteousness and holiness and of the necessity that we die to our sins and live to his righteousness, by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.
Thus, when we truly believe in Jesus Christ with this God-given and divinely inspired faith, we submit to Christ’s Lordship over our lives. Thus, we die with him to sin so that we might live to him and to his righteousness. And, this is what it means to be born again. The Holy Spirit moves our hearts to obedience to Christ, and to repentance of sin, and he transforms our hearts away from sin to God to follow (obey) Jesus Christ with our lives.
So, the GOOD NEWS is not just that we are forgiven our sins and that we are promised heaven when we leave this world. It is that we are set free from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin because of Jesus Christ’s blood which was shed on that cross to redeem our lives from darkness, and to bring us into God’s wonderful light. So, there is no cause for any of us who believe in Jesus to still be living in addiction to sin.
And, now that we have been delivered from our slavery to sin, so that we have love for God and love for our fellow humans, we must walk (live) in love, one for the other. And, this love is not like the love the world talks about, for this love is divine, and it is pure, and it prefers what God prefers, which is what is honest, trustworthy, faithful and moral.
Thus, when we love one another with this kind of love, we won’t do any harm to one another. We won’t lie to, cheat on, betray, gossip about, slander, murder, hate, persecute, mistreat, abuse or commit adultery against one another. But we will, instead, do what is beneficial for building one another up in the faith, and we will look to meet the legitimate needs of one another, too, instead of thinking mainly or only of ourselves.
And, this should be what we aim for, to love God, to walk in obedience to him, and to love one another as Jesus Christ loves us and gave himself up for us so that we could be free from our slavery to sin and walk in his holiness and righteousness until the day he comes to take us home.
An Original Work / June 19, 2013
Based off Acts 20-22, 26; Mt. 28:18-20; Ac. 1:8
Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?
I’m fully ready to suffer for Christ.
If I must die for the sake of His name,
I am convinced it will not be in vain.
Glory to God and to His Son Jesus,
Who has redeemed us; bought with His blood.
May I speak to you? Jesus came to me;
Asked of me, “Why do you persecute me?”
He said, “Now get up and stand on your feet.
Go, and you’ll be told all I have for you.
I have appointed you as a servant,
And as a witness; you have been sent.”
“Go into the world and preach the gospel.
Open the blind eyes. They will receive sight.
Turn them from darkness to the light of Christ;
From power of the evil one to God,
So they may receive forgiveness of sins,
And a place among those who’re in heav’n.”
See also: (1)