It’s not a foreign concept that certain positions require a response in moral behavior. Think about the position of our President, a respected person who holds a position in ministry (Billy Graham) or the royal family in England.
You and I might not feel like we have an important position as pilgrims passing through this world, but Peter encourages us in this letter and says we do!
So far in this chapter we have been called, “Elect.” We are also said to have been begotten again to a living hope, to an inheritance that is eternal and is reserved in heaven right now for us who are kept by the power of God.
In our passage this evening Peter gives us more insight into our position in Christ by calling us the children of God (14). We are able to call on God who is our Father (17) and we are the redeemed by the precious blood of Christ who is God’s lamb foreordained before the foundation of the world (18-20).
Just like any other important position our position comes with a proper response in our behavior. The first response that I want to focus on tonight is given to us in verses 15-16. Peter says,
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.”
Because we are the redeemed Child of God our proper response to our position is walk in holiness. Tonight as we work through this text we will learn three things about holy living. Those three things are: First our preparation for holy living, second our example for holy living and third our motivation for holy living.
First in verse 13 we see our preparation for holy living.
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;
The word “Therefore” in this verse as you know sums up what was previously said. In other words Peter is saying because we are born again and have an eternal inheritance reserved for us in heaven, we are to gird up the loins of our mind.
Notice the place Peter begins in addressing the holiness of the believer is not in our appearance, but with our mind and the act of our will.
We are to gird up the loins of our mind… The phrase gird up carries the idea of getting ready for activity. Just as in the first century people who wore long robes would gird them up so they could be ready to move or ready for action. Today we would say, “Roll up your sleeves.”
We as a believer need to make holy living our mindset. It begins with a conscience decision to walk in holiness. Notice Peter does not saying that holy living is only for an elite few that try real hard. The way Peter wrote assumes that all believers in Jesus because we are in dwelt by the Holy Spirit are called and therefore enabled to respond to God in this way.
The proper mindset is not only one of action, but it is also one that thinks soberly. To think sober means to be steadfast in our thinking, to use self control in what we allow to dwell in our minds. This mind come as a shock but the Holy Spirit who is actively working to renew our minds, has also given us power to take our thoughts captive. What Peter is saying is we have the power reject intoxicating thoughts.
The mind seems like a small thing to begin with when it comes to behavior, often we think only of behavior. But that thinking Jesus says is the fallacy of the Pharisees who did not understand that all behavior is an outflow of the heart and mind.
Satan understood this which is why he attacked Eve’s mind when he tempted her in the Garden. This is still the tactic of Satan today who is seeking to intoxicate us with lack of contentment, bitterness, discouragement, temptation apathy. We need to be clear headed and reject these things when they come into our minds.
Rather than dwell on things that are intoxicating we are to set our minds on things above as Paul says in Colossians. We are to understand our glorious position in Christ as we learned on Sunday and with that comes the assurance of our glorification and the coming of Christ.
We are to rest our hope fully upon the grace of Jesus Christ which will be revealed. To rest in hope means to live with the assurance. The grace that will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ, could referred to the fact that one day after Christ’s second coming we will reign with Christ in glory.
Setting our minds on the coming of Christ is a good way to be prepared for holy living. The Apostle John gives a big amen in 1 John 3:2-3 by saying,
2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Prophecy specifically the hope of the fact that Christ will come back is not for entertainment, or argument but it is a practical encouragement and preparation for holy living as pilgrims of God.
Second in verses 14-16 we see our example for holy living.
14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
The believer in Jesus Christ is a child of God therefore we have the responsibility and ability to live Holy by the in dwelling Holy Spirit. While this all sounds doctrinal is very practical and devotional. I want to please my Father, I want to hear Him say well done. If that is the case then I need to be obedient to the things He tells me to and I need to follow His example.
This verse illustrates well the fact that believers are not without sin. Yes we are children of God in dwelt by the Holy Spirit but we are not perfected, nor will we ever be until we get to heaven. We still have the evil propensity to sin, this is called the flesh. We also live in a fallen world that is controlled by Satan and his demons. This is all the back drop for the holy life we are to live.
To walk in obedience to the Father daily we must guard our heart and even at times fight to not be conformed to our former lusts. Our former lusts deals with the unbiblical motives, desires and live styles we had before we were believers. Notice all that was done in ignorance.
Now that we have the Spirit to teach us, a relationship with the Father and the word of God, we know what are sinful lusts. Peter says were are to recognize these things and not be conformed to them, this means to fashion or fashion your life to the example of the world.
The example of the world is to live selfishly, to live for personal gratification. To give in to the appetites and passions of the flesh. To conform yourself to the opinions and customs of what is popular. To make the sole purpose of your life security, wealth, pleasure, pride or fame.
These things and more are the things that the world teaches us is the model for life. As we walk through this world as pilgrims we are taught and encouraged to live like this. We must reject this philosophy and influence and look to God.
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.”
Rather than becoming more like the world, we are to become more like our God and Father. It is only reasonable that we seek to become like God since He is the one who called and saved us from our sins. Because the God we serve is holy we must also be holy.
The word holy means to be set apart to be different. One of God’s attributes is divine holiness, God is perfect and and cannot take part in evil and sin.
We who are now children of God who is holy must also imitate God by being born again and set apart from evil and sin.
The question arises in a changing world that is given to the philosophy relativism how do we know what is sin or evil?
Peter shows us how in verse 16, we look to the Bible which is God’s revelation of Himself. Morality which is what is right and wrong when it comes to behavior finds an absolute standard in our holy and unchanging God. Sin is an offense to God. The Bible is an outflow and perfect revelation of our Holy and unchanging God.
The Bible teaches us about God and how we are to relate to Him in specific areas of our lives (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
If we are to walk in holiness and please God then we must abide in the word of God and obey the things that God tells us regardless of what our culture and world is saying is right or wrong.
Third in verses 17-21 we see our motivation for holy living.
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
Since we are born again and have a personal relationship with God, we should have the understanding that God is holy and judges us according to our works. Just because we are Christians does not mean that God over looks sin. Nor does God show partiality based on anything.
This understanding it should affect the way that we live our lives on this earth as pilgrims. As long has God has us on our temporary journey on earth we are to live with the fear of God. The fear of God is expressed in the Old Testament book of Proverbs.
Proverbs 23:17 says, Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day;
Proverbs 8:13 says, The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.
To live in the fear of God is to live separated for God and depart from evil. Our motivation to live in the fear of God is not because we are worried about going to hell, but verse 18 says it is because of the grace and goodness of God.
18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
We need to remember our great salvation which God accomplished through the cross. No silver or gold, or any religion or tradition could accomplish our redemption, but only the Christ the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. Christ was God’s blemish free and spotless lamb, because He the perfect God man Christ was able to redeem all who believer on Him through faith in the gospel.
The redeem word redeem means to be purchased from the market place of sin. We have been delivered from sin, our response now is to serve Christ and not return to the slavery that Christ redeemed us from.
In closing we have been appointed to a blessed position through our faith in Jesus Christ. We are the redeemed children of God. This position comes with a proper response, we are to be set apart for God and His glory alone.