1 Peter 1:13-21 Living Hope
STAYING CLEAN IN A POLLUTED WORLD
Keep my mind focused on the Glory of God (1:13)
“Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13, HCSB)
In today’s world, it is easy to get our minds off-track. We are called to keep our minds focused. The glory of God will soon be revealed when Jesus returns. In the meantime, we are called to keep our minds focused on that hope.
Every sinful act is committed twice: once in our heads and once in our behavior. To win the behavior battle, we must first win the battle that takes place in our minds.
“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2, HCSB)
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8, HCSB)
“Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 2:5, HCSB)
No wonder there is so much emphasis on the mind. As the mind goes, so goes the body. When we refuse to get involved in the battle before the battle, there is no hope for change at the behavior level. By then it’s too late.
Walking in the Spirit requires that we become hypersensitive to any thought that conflicts with truth. Anything that clashes with what is true is not of the Spirit. Anything that is not of the Spirit only gets in the way of our ability to follow the lead of the Spirit. Therefore, to walk in the Spirit, we must get serious about guarding our minds.1
What is hope? It is the Christian’s attitude toward the future. Hope in its essence is like faith. Both have trust, or a belief in God, as their focus, but there’s a difference between them. Faith is believing God in the present, and hope is believing God for the future. Faith believes God for what He has done, and hope believes God for what He will do. Fix your hope on Him and live in anticipation of the glorious fulfillment of His future promise.2
We become a living hope for people around us. People look to us as an example. They see that we are changed people by God’s grace and He continues to help us.
Conform my life to the Holiness of God (1:14-15)
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct;” (1 Peter 1:14–15, HCSB)
Whose standard do I compare my life? What standard do I use? I use God’s holiness, not my desires. My conduct must flow out of my confirmation as a Christian.
Because God revealed this conduct and this stand in His word.
Renew my mind with the Word of God (1:16)
“for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16, HCSB)
If I am going to stay clean in a polluted world, I have to start with my mind. To start there, I have to start memorizing the Word of God. Renewing my mind by memorizing God’s Word helps me overcome the barrage of worldly ideas which can corrupt my thinking.
Why is this so important?
Because there are so many people who want to change your mind. They want you to stop following God and start to follow them. Accommodate. Infiltrate. Appease. Acclimate. All words which tells us how the world reacts to Christianity.
“Don’t impose your way on us. Conform to our way of thinking.”
At the same time, we need to understand that everyone is changing and that we are all not yet there. We have not finished being holy. We are in a state of “becoming holy”. The Bible teaches us to be holy. It also teaches us to renew our minds. So there is a growing component to being holy. We do not attain complete holiness this side of heaven.
The early church taught that holiness, as a quality of perfection, belongs to Jesus Christ by virtue of who he is and to his church by virtue of what he has done for it. Therefore, the holiness of Christ’s church is not a realized holiness but an anticipated holiness. The church that is “holy and blameless,” without “spot and wrinkle,” is the one the Son will present to the Father. 3
So we have to accept the fact that there will be lost people in our church who are being prompted by the Holy Spirit to change. There will be new Christians in our church who are being led by the Spirit to change. There should be older Christians who are living by the Spirit and setting an example of that change.
Remind myself that I could have received the Judgment of God (1:17)
“And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence.” (1 Peter 1:17, HCSB)
As Peter speaks about this exciting concept, he reminds us of who God is and who we are. We should remember Who it is that we call upon as Father. He is the One who judges, without partiality, each one’s work. Three times in this epistle, Peter reminds us of God’s role as judge.
“when He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He was suffering, He did not threaten but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23, HCSB)
“They will give an account to the One who stands ready to judge the living and the dead.” (1 Peter 4:5, HCSB)
The word for fear is phoı́bos from which we get our English word “phobia.” However, the kind of fear which Peter suggests is not caused by emotional illness. It is a healthy kind of fear. Perhaps a better English translation for this word would be “awe.” We should be in awe or reverent fear in the way we live in the presence of God. We need to live in constant recognition of who God is and who we are.4
This does not mean that I become the judge. God is the Judge. I don’t become judge. God is judging each one’s work. I don’t judge your work and you don’t judge my work. Passing my work to the other student in front of me in class to get it graded is not allowed. God is the only one who judges my work.
One of the problems we have in church is that we haven’t produced any work. There is no fruit in the church. When I was in school, I would get zeros (or big fat goose eggs as my history teacher would call them) for not completing my work successfully.
Thank God He doesn’t judge me based on my productivity as a Christian. Thank God He doesn’t judge me like any employer would judge someone who was working on the production line. You and I would all fail if He judged us by our productivity.
Make an effort to enjoy and share the Love of God (1:18-21)
“For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold,” (1 Peter 1:18, HCSB)
“but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.” (1 Peter 1:19, HCSB)
“He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you” (1 Peter 1:20, HCSB)
“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.” (1 Peter 1:21, HCSB)
How do I know that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a loving act of by His Father?
““For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16–17, HCSB)
So we are called to share this love to other people. When we do, we are giving God His due glory.
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Cedar, Paul A., and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. James / 1 & 2 Peter / Jude. Vol. 34. The Preacher’s Commentary Series. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1984.
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Piper, John. The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God’s Delight in Being God. Rev. and expanded. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2000.
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Richison, Grant C. Certainty, a Place to Stand: Critique of the Emergent Church of Postevangelicals. Grant C. Richison, 2010.
Smith, James K. A. Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church. The Church and Postmodern Culture. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006.
Stanley, Charles F. The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life. Electronic ed. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997.
Webber, Robert. Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999.
1 Charles F. Stanley, The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life, electronic ed. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 92.
2 John MacArthur, Truth for Today : a Daily Touch of God’s Grace (Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman, 2001), 307.
3 Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Faith: Rethinking Evangelicalism for a Postmodern World (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 86.
4 Paul A. Cedar and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, James / 1 & 2 Peter / Jude, vol. 34, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1984), 125-126.