1 Peter 1:13-21 Christ was Revealed for You WC McCarter
Reading of the Christmas narrative from Luke 1 & 2.
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
Be Holy (13-16)
You have to know what the “therefore” is there for. Peter now wants to gather all of the thoughts of the first twelve verses and give a summary and exhortation. The basis of the exhortation is God’s saving work in Christ. The exhortation is to live a holy life. While God could say, Live a holy life because I say so, He actually says, Live a holy life because I have saved you.
(1) “Gird up the loins of your mind.” Tuck in all of the loose garments to run, work hard, or fight. Pull in all of the loose ends. Get your life in order. Get your mind ready for action. (2) “Be sober.” Spiritual steadfastness. Disciplined mind. Alert mind. Stop dabbling into worldly things which lull you into spiritual slumber. (3) “Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” This third directive is the main imperative. Peter has been focusing all of our attention on the second advent of Christ. That is when salvation is experienced in its fullest sense. In fact, the last phrase of verse thirteen is the same as the end of verse seven, “At the revelation of Jesus Christ.” For Peter, “hope” means to trust Christ for the future (Piper).
Now, verse 14 is linked to verse 15. The exhortation becomes blunt, “Be holy.” The current result of setting your hope on Christ for the future means that you will live a holy life now. A girded and sober mind is for holiness in this life. So, he pictures believers as obedient children. Remember, we have been “begotten again,” that is, we have been born again by the power of God. We now belong to Him. We are His children. And as any good children, we should be obedient not so much out of fear but out of respect and gratitude. Verse 14 gives the opposite of holiness- conforming to former lusts and ignorance. The opposite of Christian holiness is to behave like unbelievers. It is to not experience a changed life. If you claim to be a Christian but still continue to live like you always have even before your proclamation of faith, you may want to examine yourself to see if you are really in the faith. I think there is an epidemic of people in this country that have a false assurance of salvation. If you want to know if you have really been born again, here are some tests: do you set your hope for the future on Jesus Christ, do you have a changed life? We are told to be holy because the One who called us is holy. How did he call us? He called us out of death and into life, out of darkness and into light.
Exhortation: Pursue holiness because of the second advent of Christ.
Be Fearful (17-19)
Verse 17 is conditional. “If” you call on the Father, conduct yourselves in fear. While we were commanded in the first paragraph to be holy, now we are commanded in the second paragraph to be fearful. We will talk about why we should conduct ourselves this way, but let’s first look at the description of the Father in verse 17. He is said to be the one who judges without partiality. How can one be sure that a judge passes judgment without partiality? Well, the judgment would have to be based on each one’s work. That is how God judges. There is no preferential treatment. There are no bribes. There are no biases. What a person does is the basis of his/her judgment in the eyes of God. Of course, we know that we are all found to be sinners in that case. We are all guilty, but God has sent forth His Son in order to redeem us.
Now, let’s return to the conditional statement. If you call on the Father, that is, if you claim to belong to Him, if you call out to Him for salvation, then “conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.” If the basis of judgment is our work, then our conduct better be acceptable to God, right? Well, we can come back to that. Notice that Peter refers to the pilgrim idea once again in the phrase, “the time of your stay here.” We are just passing through. We do not belong here. We will not be here for long. But the time that we do spend here matters. It counts.
Look at verse 19: we will be judged by our work/conduct and yet one has gone before us to redeem us with His own precious blood. Now that is a great motivation for reverent fear. If I may speak personally, I want to live a holy life because I have a healthy fear of not living up to the gift that I have been given. Am I trying to earn my own salvation? Certainly not. I’m trusting in the precious blood of Jesus Christ, and yet I want to please the Lord with my life. We are not those who live in terror, but we are those who have a healthy fear.
We are “redeemed” “with the precious blood of Christ.” We have not been redeemed with corruptible things. Christ has not purchased our salvation and freedom with things like silver or gold. No, we have been redeemed by something much more precious than that. No amount of money could buy the salvation of your soul. Christ is our sacrificial lamb. Just as the priests would look at each lamb before the sacrifice to find blemishes or spots, Christ was found to have neither. He lived a sinless life so that He would be the perfect sacrifice. That is the point of Christmas. He had to come. He had to live a sinless life. He had to die.
Exhortation: Notice at the end of verse 18 that it is said that we have been redeemed from aimless conduct. You are a Christian. You have been bought at the highest price that could be paid. You have a purpose, an aim in your life. Trust the Lord for the future. Pursue holiness with all of your being. Keep a healthy fear in reverence to the Lord.
Christmas was for You (20-21)
We learn several things from the last two verses of our sermon text today. First, Christ has always existed. He is eternal. Before the foundation of the world, He was living. Before the foundation of the world, He was foreordained to purchase the redemption of mankind with His blood. Before the foundation of the world, the Triune God had decided that God the Son would put on flesh and be born of a virgin in Bethlehem at just the right time in history. Verse 20 says He was manifest in these last times. He came on the scene at the appointed time. He made a grand entrance, the veil was pulled back, He stepped in at the exact moment that the Triune God had scripted before you were born, before your parents were born, before America was formed, before the foundation of the world. Christ’s blood was shed for you. Christmas was “for you.”