1 Peter – 1 Peter 1:13-21 – 3 of 18
How can Christians remain pure in an impure world? Some would say that we should withdraw from the world, lest it rub off on us. But Philippians 2:15 and John 17:14-15 offer a different tactic. Notice those words, “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” When we use the word “world” in a theological sense, we are thinking of the mind-set and morality of those who don’t know God (1 John 2:15-17). This world system is manipulated by the Satan to achieve his wicked ends (1 John 5:19). Much of it is cultured, refined, and intellectual—but it is anti-God and anti-Christ. The world motivates us by appealing to our pride, and this provides us the perfect background for our study of 1 Peter. Unless we understand how strong and how subtle the world’s influence really is, we won’t understand the passion behind Peter’s words in v. 13-16. This is no time to be passive in our spiritual lives. This is a time for decisive action!
The key to resisting the world’s seductive pull is for us to consistently fix our hope on the grace that will be ours when Jesus returns. “Fix your hope” (v. 13) is something that we are commanded to do as resident aliens. “Preparing our minds for action” and “keeping sober in spirit” describe what we should expect to see from someone who has “fixed their hope” on the reward Jesus will bring us when he returns. According to v. 14, we are not to live as we used to because we are not the people we used to be. Verse 15 is a command, not a suggestion. We are to be consecrated exclusively to God. No more flirting with the world; no more dating. We are to be holy as God is because God is the standard against which all behavior is measured. Holiness should mark us as members of his family (v. 17). If we are going to address God as Father, then we should conduct ourselves on earth in such a way that reflects our reverence for Him as our Father. One day God will impartially judge our works at the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11-15 and 9:23-27; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
With the temptations of the world being so great, how do we run the Christian race in such a way that we not be disqualified and forfeit our reward? The solution is personal discipline, of body and of mind (v. 18- 21). Christ delivered us from a “futile way of life”, not with gold or silver, but with his own precious blood (vv. 18-19). God knew that we were trapped in this futile pursuit from which we could not extract ourselves. When it comes to entering into a relationship with God, self-confidence is a tragic mistake. Believing that you are good enough, or moral enough, or important enough to earn God’s favor is simply a lie!
Furthermore, in God’s kingdom, suffering precedes glory (v. 21). It was true for Jesus, and it’s true for us. And when we do suffer, we should follow Jesus’ example by trusting God in the midst of that sufferings (1 Peter 2:21). And, as we’ve seen, in order to do that we need to fix our hope completely on the grace to be brought to us when Christ returns. Until he returns, we are to live holy, set apart lives that will displayed in our behavior, conducting ourselves with fear/reverence.
APPLICATION / CHALLENGE
• “Prepare your minds for action”, paying close attention to what you look at and listen to.
• Give greater thought to the consequences of your sin than to its pleasures.
• Begin each day by renewing your sense of reverence for God.
• Take some time to focus on what Jesus has done for you; begin with 1 Peter 1:18-21.
TAKE ONE STEP
Each week, write down one doable concrete step of obedience, small or large, that you will put into practice this week. (James 1:22: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”)