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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

January 23, 2013

1 Peter 1:13-25

  1. Verses 13-16. Now since we have this great salvation and this glorious joy in Jesus Christ, we make every effort to conform to the image of Christ in our lifestyle. We are saved by Christ, shielded by Christ, and being sanctified by Christ so that we might look like Christ in the world. As believers we must now direct our attention, passions, and desires on the things of Christ. It is not just good enough to have a ticket to glory, we must demonstrate a godly mindset now. Peter quotes Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, and 20:7 to remind his reader that holy living is not something new, but the original plan for humanity. How comfortable we are to add God to our lives with little or no change necessary on our part. Such is not the message of the true gospel or the teaching of the Scriptures on the spiritual life. The Old Testament prophets, along with John the Baptist and then Jesus, called for a radical change for those who would trust and obey God. “Repent” was an indispensable word to those who proclaimed the Word of God in truth. To repent means to change not only our thinking but our actions. When we are saved, we are saved from our heathen desires and practices and called to live a life of holiness. God has always called his people to holiness. If God is Holy then it stands to reason that his children are to walk in holiness. Peter tells his readers that they are to be holy in all that they do. This is probably one of the main challenges for the believers. It is easy to be holy in some areas, but in every area? To be holy is the opposite of being “common” or “profane.” God is holy in that He is utterly different and distinct from His creation. His people must also be distinct, separate from the heathen attitudes and actions which characterized them as unbelievers.

  2. Verses 17-21. Peter reminds his readers that they are God’s children. To be a child of God, and thus to have God as our Father, involves much more than the assurance that we have a certain hope, a place in the kingdom of God. It means God is our Father in the fullest sense of the term. The One whom we call upon as Father is also the One who “impartially judges according to each individual’s work.” We cannot have God as our Father in a restricted way, but only as He is completely. Our Father is also the “Judge of all the earth” (Genesis 18:25). His judgment includes all men and is conducted without partiality. In judgment, God shows no favorites. God deals equitably with all men. The Jews in particular presumed otherwise. They were wrong, as we are if we expect God to judge us differently as His children. Indeed, as His children, we have been given more, and our responsibility is greater. Peter tells his readers that because we are God’s we must consider ourselves strangers in this land. When I thought of this today, I thought of times when my parents dropped me off at relatives and reminded me that I was their child and that I should be on my best behavior. God has left us hear and wants us to be reminded that we are His and we should be on our best behavior. Then Peter reminds us that God has spared no expense for his children in the sense that he gave up his only Son for us. We were not just redeemed; we were redeemed at a great price. The investment God has made in us should remind us that he is intently involved and concerned about how his children live. When you spend a lot, or invest a lot in something, it should come as no surprise that God is concerned that we reflect his image correctly.

  3. Verses 22-25. These verses contain one central command, supported by two explanatory phrases. The command is to “love one another.” The two phrases are: “having purified your souls” (1:22) and “having been born again” (1:23). In verse 22, Peter commands the saints to love one another. This love is described as fervent and proceeding from the heart. The basis for such love is obedience to the truth by which the saints have purified their souls, resulting in a sincere love for the brethren. Our relationship with our fellow-Christians should be characterized by a mutual love, one for the other. This is made possible by the purification of our souls, a purification provided and accomplished by God, and which includes our obedience to the truth of the gospel (1:1-3, 22). This purification of our souls has made it possible to love one another without the selfish desires and ambitions of the flesh, enabling us to sacrifice our lives for our brothers and sisters. Peter described the divine nature that has been deposited in our souls as an imperishable seed. This imperishable seed has been placed in us so that God’s love might grow in us. God has planted the seed of love and expects a harvest. God knows his seed is good, so he is expecting fruit. Peter even quotes Isaiah 40:6-8 to show that the word is eternal in nature. This eternal word has the power to change hearts and minds. Peter is teaching us that God provides us with all the essentials for Agape love (both a purified soul and the existence of a new, brotherly affection), but that the highest love is attained by our obedience to God’s Word and our diligence in striving to please Him. God commands Christians to do that which He has made possible. Christians are consistently commanded to love one another (see John 13:34-25; 15:12, 17; Romans 12:10; 13:8; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 3:11, 23; 4:7, 11, 12; 2 John 1:5). He also commands us to exercise diligence in knowing and obeying His Word to achieve what He has made possible. The love God requires of us is described in verse 22. It is both a Philadelphia kind of love and an Agape kind of love. Philadelphia love is a love of warm brotherly affection, the kind evident in a closely knit family. This is the love members of God’s family have toward other family members—brothers and sisters in Christ. It is also a purposeful, sacrificial love, Agape love, the kind our Lord demonstrated on the cross of Calvary. Further, the love God requires of His children is not a hypocritical one but a sincere, genuine love from the heart, and not a love that is forced or superficial. This love is not a front we put on to impress others. Rather it is a genuine love. Having our hearts and souls purified now enables us to love from a pure heart.

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