Thursday, January 10, 2013

1 Peter 1:13-16

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
The Apostle Peter having laid down a doctrinal framework in verses 3-12 now brings it all home with some practical instruction. To begin Peter says that we should "gird up the loins of our minds, be sober, and rest our hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ". Now when Peter says we are to "gird up the loins of our minds" he is using a metaphor based on the ancient practice of lifting ones robe above the knees, to about the mid thighs, then securing it so as to be able to run or move with greater ease. The analogy here is that our minds are to be fully established on the truth of the gospel and our standing with the Lord Jesus Christ, so that we have neither doubts, nor needless worries about our standing in and with Christ. And so enable us to live more freely and thus be better able to serve Jesus unencumbered in whatever calling He places on our lives and whatever gifts He equips us with. That is the basis for the Apostle's Peters previous exhortation on our election In Christ according to the foreknowledge of God (vs. 1-2). Not to make us arrogant, or indifferent towards others, but to help secure our faith, and thus make us more effective and undistracted by needless doubts and worries, which seem to hit every Christian at some point.

For since the devil can't take our souls after we have been secured by the Lord Jesus Christ (John 10:28-30). Then he and his own will try their hardest to discourage us, and or hinder our effectiveness and fruitfulness for Jesus Christ. And one of his chief ploys in doing this is to introduce doubts. Can God be trusted ultimately is at the heart of everything he tries to do. So as to discourage us from stepping out in faith, and or living freely and abundantly by faith. Now intellectually we know the answer, of course God can be trusted with every aspect of our lives (Prov 3:5-6). But experientially this is something that many of us learn over time. And so, more often than not it's only in hindsight that we see just how faithful God truly is, and just how faithfully He has been working out all things for our good, as we learn to follow Jesus Christ, and His will for us in our lives (Rom 8:28-30). Now some of these aspects of God's working in our lives are clearly more pleasant than others. Nonetheless all are good in that when God's hand is on us, He is always intending good for us in end (consider Heb 12:11; James 5:10-11).
And so Peter says for us having girded our minds, that is having fixed them on the truth, for us to be sober. That is to live soberly, which is not just a command to abstain from being intoxicated with alcohol or other substances, but the stress of being sober here and often in the N.T. is for us to be alert to the many moral and spiritual dangers. (In regards to this consider 1 Peter 4:7; 2 Tim 4:5 where the word translated sober here is rendered "watchful", also consider 1 Peter 5:8 ). Thus we should strive to be self disciplined and self controlled in our lives. And not be given to extremes in behavior, speech or doctrine. For there are many pitfalls in the world, and sadly in the church, which can take captive and destroy the one who disregards wisdom's instruction (consider Prov 1:20-33).
Therefore being sober begins by being sound in ones doctrine, which when followed translates into being sound in ones conduct. For there are those who profess faith, or belong to the very broad umbrella that is Christendom, yet who not only oppose, or live openly hostile towards God's clear moral decrees, but seemingly live to do nothing other than to seek to engage others in endless and needless "debates" about the Law, Sabbath's, baptism's, adhering to a certain Bible translation, or practicing a certain Spiritual gift, or whatever else contentious and self deceived people are obsessed with. And thus believe are the "essence" of Christianity, which of course they are not (Heb 6:1-3). And thus they do not build true faith or love in anyone, but rather introduce strife and doubts, which Satan works through, to not only waste our time and resources on, but also our spiritual energies as well (consider Eph. 4:14-16; 2 Tim 2:14-16, 23; Titus 3:9-11; Heb. 13:9). Therefore instead of engaging in foolish and ignorant disputes with those whose faith is not fixed on Jesus Christ crucified for the remission of anyones sins who believes (John 5:24), but something less; to the ruin of the hearers as the Apostle Paul warns about (2 Tim 2:14). Let them be, and instead "rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." For in that you are not only walking in peace, but you will find peace (consider Psalm 34:14-16; Romans 14:19; 2 Tim. 2:22-26; Heb 12:14; 1 Peter 3:10-12). For it is the grace of God that is exclusively found by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead, which is the essence of Christianity.

Therefore let us who believe be sober. That is sober minded and sober living as obedient children of God, and not conform ourselves to our former lusts (vs. 14-15). That is not conform ourselves to those sins and lusts that Jesus Christ was crucified for, to save us from, and deliver us out of, when we were ignorant of Him and His ways, and thus and did not know the Lord. When we did not know right from wrong from a Biblical standpoint, knowing neither God's Word personally as our Savior, or spiritually/intellectually, as we do now. For there is a difference between sins committed in ignorance and unbelief, and sins which men and women commit in open rebellion against God (). Therefore Peter commands us who now believe, and have received the love of the truth, to live as Jesus Christ is: "but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct." vs 16
For just as God commanded the Israelites; whom He redeemed from being slaves in Egypt; to live holy before Him (see Lev 11:45; 19:1-2). For is incumbent upon every believer whom the Lord Jesus Christ has likewise redeemed, and set free from whatever sins and vices we were once held captive by, to likewise live holy, as He is holy.

Scripture Quotations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982

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