1 Peterby David Burge
When we come into the world, we have life and breath, but very little knowledge. We are not yet ready to ask: ″What is my name? Who are these people around me? What is this place? What are these sights, sounds, and smells?″ More profound questions are still years away, such as: ″Why am I alive? Does my life have a purpose? How do I know right from wrong when opinions differ? Who is ultimately responsible for my existence?″ Sadly, many of our friends will live and die without answers to these essential questions.
How are we Christians to see ourselves? In this second major section in Peter's letter (1 Peter 1:13-2:10), he focuses on our identity as God's holy people in a watching world. Peter wants us to realise who we are. And to do this, the following words are crucial: minds, hope, grace, Jesus' return, children, and holiness.
He begins with our minds (1:13), because we live according to what we know. If we think there is no purpose in life, we will live accordingly. But if, like Jesus, our minds are filled with the truths of God's Word, we can expect that abundant fruit will follow.
What does Peter say about our minds? They are to be deliberately ″alert″ (v. 13). That is, we must live in a state of readiness and be ″fully sober″ (v. 13) and clear-headed about the things of God. In particular, we are to set our hope on Christ's return (v. 13). Language struggles to express how good it will be for us when Jesus returns. New degrees of God's grace will be ours, beginning on that glorious day when Jesus appears to right all wrongs and to take us to our eternal home (v. 13).
God wants that knowledge to sink in for us, and allow it to fill our hearts. May that picture become the way we see ourselves-as children of God waiting for Jesus' return (v. 14). Rather than be intoxicated by worldly ambitions or clouded by the worries of this world, we are to be holy . To be holy like our Father is to resemble His purity and His aversion to sin (vv. 15-16). And we set our hope on the grace to be brought to us when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming (v. 13).
Such a view of ourselves can't help but transforms our lives. As God's obedient children, we realise our old desires no longer have a place (v. 14). We are grateful to our holy Father who revealed our sin to us, sent His holy Son to pay for it, and welcomes prodigals as His returned children (see Luke 15:11-24). And we joyfully realise we owe ourselves to our holy Father (1 Peter 1:15-16).
In the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24), imagine if that son had continued with his wild living after he had been so lovingly welcomed back into his father's house. That would be living in the past. So, too, God wants us to realise we are His forgiven, holy children right now. Free to be His, we set our minds and hearts on the things to come.
How might you be an increasingly clear-minded Christian, with your hope set on the grace to come when Jesus returns?
″To be holy like our Father is to resemble His purity and His aversion to sin.″ How are you becoming more like God in terms of purity of thoughts, words, and deeds? Are you becoming more averse to sin, or more accepting of sin?