1 Peter 1:13-2:3
Key Verse 1:15-16
Last Sunday we saw that God gave us a new birth into living hope and the inheritance that never perish, spoil, or fade.
Today we will think about how we conduct ourselves as new born children with the living hope and the glorious inheritance.
First, prepare your minds for action.
Look at v. 13a. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action…” Here ‘therefore’ means ‘since you have been checked into such a glorious standing, prepare your minds for action…”
If you have a lot of money in your bank account, you know that you are rich. So you do not act like a poor person. For you do not go out to the street and beg. Why beg, for you have so much money.
The same is true with the new born children. They are members of the royal family where God is the Father. You know God is the richest person. He owns the entire universe and everything in it. He keeps all of the rulers of the world in his palm.
And when you know that you have such a father, and you are the son and heir of the father, how would you behave? In addition if you know that your Father loves the world so much that he gave even his one and only Son that everyone believes in the Son shall not perish but have eternal life what would you do?
Certainly you will prepare your minds for action – the action to conduct as God’s child.
Second, be self-controlled.
Look at v. 13b. “Be self-controlled”. “Therefore…be self-controlled.” You have been born again into the family of God where God is the Father. Therefore be self-controlled.
In Peter’s mind, it is only a natural thing for a child of God to be self-controlled, just as God the Father is self-controlled. This is just like us saying, “Like father like son.”
Look around yourself, and see how God controls himself so well. He is the creator of the universe and everything in it. And he keeps all that have been created in full control. Think about the stars. There are so many. Yet, they all work in complete harmony.
The same is true with the way he created and designed man’s body to run. You know last night around 10 p.m. I ate one bowl of soybean soup with two bowls of rice. Then I fell asleep immediately. Then I had colorful dreams. In one dream I went up to a high mountain. Then two Mexican boys climbed up a cliff, and approached me. They carried a huge basket. I was curious. What’s in it? They opened the basket, and there were two ostriches! One mother ostrich, one father ostrich, and they had so many babies, all newly hatched! All of the baby ostriches were looking up to me, so lovingly! I fell in love. So I wanted to buy it. But I did not know how to raise them up. So I asked the boy, “Do you know how to raise them up?” “No.” I felt bad. So I gave up. After a few more dreams I woke up at 6 a.m. Then I took a shower. And I grew hungry again. As I walked to the Bible center, I was wondering about the way God made man. You know while I fell asleep, God made me in such a way that even during the sleep, I could enjoy colorful movies, not one but two or three. Then where did the soybean soup go? After taking shower I felt so good. How did he do that? Truly the way God made man is marvelous. Everything works seamlessly!
Therefore be self-controlled. God is the God of self-control. In practice, for those who put rust in the Lord, He gives His children the Holy Spirit who in turn gives his child the Spirit of self-control. So the call ‘to be self-controlled’ is not a new command. It is the call to be as naturally self-controlled as God himself is. It is t he call to go with the axiom, “Like Father like son.”
Third, set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Christ is revealed.
Look at v. 13c. “Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
The Bible is the book of revelations. The point of revelations is simply this: Jesus Christ the Savior of the World.
When Peter says “Christ is revealed”, the word ‘revealed’ is the same as ‘coming again.” The Bible descries two comings of Jesus Christ – the first coming and the second coming.
Jesus’ two comings have one purpose, that is, to build the family of God.
I don’t know how you like the patio outside. In order to get it built John Lee and I had to travel back and forth to Home Depot many times. [I think roughly 30 times maybe more?] But to build God’s house among men, the Bible records Jesus’ two visits. First time he visited the planet earth about two thousand years ago. And to complete this construction project He will visit us one more time.
And of the two visitations, the Bible talks more often of the second visits than the first. In fact according to some Bible scholars, the Bible talks about Jesus’ second coming 8 times more than the first coming. And here again in 1 Peter 1:13c, Peter himself talks about Christ appearing.
In many ways the way of Jesus’ second entry into this world will be way different than the way of Jesus’ first entry. For example for the first time he visited this planet earth borrowing a woman’s body. So he was born in a manger quietly. But the second time he will visit us directly from heaven. And all will be able to see Him coming.
When Jesus came first, he came to give himself to us. When he comes the second time he comes to take us back home!
Speaking of this transaction Peter says, “Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed!” Focus on the word ‘your’. Peter finds this very important: so he emphasizes it saying, ‘set your hope on the grace to be given you.
Here again ‘grace’ refers to the life in a resurrected body in the new heaven and the new earth.
Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you… God knows that even in this bad economy you do not want work at a Taco Bell or Mc Donald. He knows that you want to get out of college quickly, make enough money, so you can retire early like before the age of 40, so during the remainder of your life, you can go to nice places like
Cancun or French Rivera, lie down on a beach recliner, and sip banana daiquiri.
But God knows what you NEED far better! In fact for this very reason, and in his great mercy, he has given you a new birth into the living hope and glorious inheritance. Therefore the Apostle says, “Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you, when Christ is revealed.”
Fourth, be holy.
Look at vs. 14-16. “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.””
Thus far, the Apostle touched upon ‘action’ which is external. He also talked about the ‘hope’ which looks to the future. Now, he talks about the inner attribute, that is, holiness.
But when you talk about holiness on Sundays, many Christians (especially young folks people) may be tempted to ask, “Man, I am a man full of youthful passion. How can you ask me to be holy even as God is holy? This is unrealistic. “
Is it then unrealistic? No. It is not. Why not? Here is why. First of all Peter is talking to ‘children’. By ‘children’, he means the children ‘of God’. They have been given a new birth. This means they do have God’s Spirit working in them. Speaking of this transaction Jesus said to Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” Then when Nicodemus asked, ‘How’? Jesus responded, “The Spirit gives birth to spirit.” So the wind blew on them, meaning they have the Holy Spirit resting in them.
People conform to the evil desires in ignorance. But God’s children are different. Since they are born of the Spirit, as they learn to walk in step with the Spirit, they no longer conform to evil desires. Here ‘evil’ is ‘work’ against the Holy Spirit. Holiness stands for who God is as the Holy Spirit reveals Him.
So the call “Be holy as God is holy” is not an unrealistic. It is a natural call, the call for his children to be like God in attributes. Otherwise, you are abnormal.
Fifth, live as strangers.
Look at vs. 17-21.
“17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”
Here, Peter starts talking about practical aspects of life, that is, ‘work’. God judges each man’s work impartially, so live your lives as strangers…” Say, ‘work’!
Our citizenship is in heaven. So we say “Christians are holy pilgrims’ journeying from this mundane world to the celestial city. But this does not mean that we sojourn here in this transient world doing nothing. Rather, we are here for ‘work’.
For the same reason Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”
The Father judges each man’s work impartially. Here ‘each’ man means ‘each’ man. He judges your work and my work. He does not judge in groups. I don’t know how you spent your time last week. I do not know exactly what you did yesterday. But remember: the Father judges each man’s work impartially.
While on earth we are here to do the work God sent each of us to do. In the past, while we remained as an unregenerate person, we used to live the ‘empty’ way of life handed down to us from our forefathers. In my case, until one year after I graduated from the law school I used to live the empty way of life handed down to me from my An-dong Kim family. But in God’s mercy through the living word of God especially Genesis, God redeemed me from the empty way of life into the family of God.
Why then did God save you and me? I think he did it for the work he had in mind.
Now why does Peter say, “Live your lives as strangers here”? I think he says “Live your lives as strangers here” for he does not want us to be like the wife of
Lot in Genesis. Do you know what happened to her? She became a pillar of salt. She had too much hope (or root if you will) in the city of Sodom of . Abraham lived as a foreigner in the earth. So although he was rich, he did not even buy a condominium. He lived a simple life. He lived in a tent. But Lot and his wife especially Gomorrah Lot’s wife was different. She took a root in the world.
The same can happen to any Christian.
“Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” Think about the expression ‘in reverent fear’. Why did he add this phrase? He did it because people (born-again Christians included) tend to regard the judgment lightly. Some even say, “Oh, there is no judgment”. For the most part, they regard the message of judgment as a joke. They are just like Lot’s two son-in-laws, for when Lot talked about the impending judgment they thought
Lot was ‘joking’.
Sixth, love one another deeply.
Practically then what kind of work are we to do? Look at vs. 22-25.
22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.”
Not all people can obey this blessed command. Only those who are born of God can do this. So Peter says “now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth, so that you have sincere love for your brothers…” Note that we already have this love, for God sent Jesus the Son who is the embodiment of His love. Now with this love we are called to love one another deeply and do that from the heart.
Why deeply? Why from the heart? Peter answers the first question in v. 24. “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall.” This is why we need to love one another deeply. Some folks talk loud. They also look strong. But inside they are very fragile. So we need to love one another deeply, so they would go strong inside out, as strong as our Lord Jesus is. And we need to love one another from the heart, for our heart is the seat of the Holy Spirit where God pours in us the Spirit of love and power.
Lastly crave pure spiritual milk.
Look at 2:1-3.
“1. Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Three things to note: No. 1, what keeps man from growing up; No. 2, what nurtures man to grow up; and No. 3, to what extent are we to grow up.
Peter lists the factors that keep a new born child from growing up: all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Malice is the desire to cause pain or injury. We don’t need to explain the meaning of deceit, for even small children know how to tell a lie. And the list includes ‘hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind’. So we need to take a time to examine ourselves so each of us would rid ourselves of “all” of them.
What nurtures man to grow up? It is the Word of God (which talks about Jesus Christ) which the Apostle Peter calls pure spiritual milk. God’s word is not mere words. It is food and drink for life. It includes all sorts of ingredients that make man to grow up. It is ‘pure’ and it is ‘spiritual’. God’s word makes man pure. God’s word is God-breathed, so it makes man to overcome flesh and grow to be a man of Spirit.
The call for us then is to ‘crave’. In UBF we emphasize daily bread. Normally we say, “Okay, Jesus woke up early in the morning. While it is still dark, Jesus went out to a solitary place, and prayed. So please come to the early daily bread prayer meeting. But we are to crave pure spiritual milk, not just morning or evening. See how new born baby craves for pure milk all the time. Are they satisfied with only morning milk? No. They have to drink milk 10, 20, 30, 40 times a day. Basically we are called to eat the word of God and meditate on it all the time.
Then we are called to grow up. The word ‘up’ points us to an upward direction, up towards the fullness of the true greatness of our Lord Jesus. Thus, the call to grow up to the true greatness of our Jesus fulfills God’s purpose in sending Jesus.
In conclusion, we thought about how we ought to conduct ourselves as new born children. Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you; be holy; live as strangers; love deeply; and crave pure spiritual milk. Simply, Peter says, “Be like God”, just as is said, “Be holy because I am holy.” One word: Be Holy