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Studies from 1Peter: 6

VI. Threefold duties of a Christian 1Peter 1:13—17.

By Nelson Thomas, Mumbai

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be ye holy, for I am holy. 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.” I Peter 1:13—17.

           After explaining the greatness of the salvation that Peter’s readers enjoy, he now turns to their duties based on it. Always privilege and responsibility go together. The higher is our position; our accountability also will be high. Peter refers to three important duties of a Christian. (1) Set your hope fully on Christ’s coming; (2) Be holy in all conduct; (3) Live in the fear of God.

1. Rest your hope fully. V.13.
          “fully upon the grace that to be brought to you at the revelation”.
          Cf. v. 10-“grace that would come” – referred to salvation.
          In v.13 –“grace ….to be brought...” refers to the coming of Christ.    Cf. Titus 2:11—13 – Grace appeared – brought salvation, teaching godly life and helping us to look forward. So, everything is by grace!
                     --The Lord saved us by His grace.
                     --He sustains us by His grace.
                     --He is going to come and glorify us by His grace.
When the Lord shall come to complete His purposes in us scripture speaks of many things that are going to take place. For example:-

          a. 1 Thess. 4:16:- Dead in Christ will rise & rapture.
          b. Phili. 3:20, 21:- Transform our body
          c. 1John. 3:2:- See Him as He is, We shall be like Him
          d. 1 Pet. 5:4 :- Reward for our labour
          e. 1Cor. 4:5:- Praise from God – Motive revealed.
          f. Reve 21:4:- The Lord shall wipe away our tears- no more pain or death.

We should focus on these things. In this world of uncertainties and turmoil the only hope on which a Christian can hold on to is the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter exhorts his readers to fix their full hope on these future events.

How is it possible:-

          a. Focused mind. v. 13
                     ‘Gird up the loins of your mind’. Refers to the long dress of the Jews, to walk fast, or run they need to tuck it under a belt- fasten up the loose ends. Peter metaphorically says, your mind may have many loose ends, gird it up. Allow not your mind to be carried away by other disturbing thoughts. Cf. 2 Cor 10:5:- Devil attacks our mind- mind is a battlefield! Allow no distraction

          b. Right mind v. 13
                    ‘Be sober’ – be alert. Not to be intoxicated, be in good sense.. cf. Luke 15:17. Christian should be able to judge the time, discern the events. He should not be sleeping spiritually, but having a clear mind, fully conscious of his position in Christ and what future program of God for him.

Both these go together- undisturbed and focused mind, set on the coming of Christ. Cf. Colo 3:2; Reve. 22:20.

2. ‘Be holy in all your conduct’. V. 15

          Genuine hope produces purity. cf. 1 John 3:3; 2Cori. 3:18. “All conduct” – In every walk of life. Not Just in some area, or for few days. We must be holy every area of our life. Why?
          a. Regeneration - ‘As obedient children’ v. 14 cf. Eph. 5:4.
Before conversion we were children of disobedience. Eph. 2:2, 3. So, disobedience is the mark of unbelievers. But a born against Christian is possessed by the spirit of obedience. Hence he is marked by obedience. A believer has a natural bend towards holiness because of his new nature.

          b. Reformation - ‘as in your ignorance’ v. 14b cf. Luk 22:34.
Earlier they did many evil things because they knew not the truth. But now being regenerated by the indwelling new nature, past ignorance is gone. Cf. 2Cori. 5:17. It is foolishness to follow the path of their ignorance even now. Cf. Eph. 4:17, 18, 22. 2Peter 2:20—22. (Sad to see many reformed Christians going to back to those things they forsook once as unscriptural!)

           c. Divine pattern- ‘as He is holy’ v. 16 cf. Lev. 11:44, 45; 19:20
Another truth that should prompt us to be holy is the example of our Lord. The one who called us is holy. Not only that He is our model, even He is our life. As the Holy Spirit indwells in us, holiness must be our every day quality.

Three things about a Christian’s holiness:-
          i. Imputed holiness. Heb. 3:1
At regeneration God gave us the holiness of Christ. Thus we are holy (saints) by virtue of our position in Christ.
          ii. Imparted Holiness. Heb.12:10, 14; 1Pet. 1:15
Day by day the indwelling Spirit of God imparts the holiness of Christ in to our practical life through various ways, especially by the help of the word of God.
          iii. Perfect holiness. Heb. 13:21; Eph. 5:27
In future Christ shall present us as blameless and spotless before the Father. Then we shall experience complete holiness.

          Peter speaks of the second aspect of our holiness, in which we are becoming more and more holy day by day. It is a long and continuous process. There is a divine as well as human aspect to it. It is the Spirit of God who sanctifies us, at the same time it is our responsibility to keep ourselves holy. Cf. 2 Cori. 7:1; Heb 12:14; 2Timothy 2:21; Joshua 3:5
          Till glorification we may not experience perfect holiness yet our effort and goal every day should be to live a holy like our Lord in every aspect. Our new birth and the indwelling divine nature make it achievable.

3. ‘Conduct yourselves in fear’. V.17
          Respect and fear should go together as we enjoy an intimate relation with our heavenly Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. God is not only our father; He is a judge who has no partiality.
          -Present chastening (Correction)
It is true, the Bible says, believers have no more condemnation. Rom 8:1; John 5:24. That is in connection with eternal judgment. For every disobedience and rebellion Christian will be judged today. Either we judge ourselves and find forgiveness based on the atoning work of Christ, or God Himself will judge us and do the needful. Cf. 1 Corinthians 11:29, 30; Hebrews 12: 7—10.
           -Future judgment (Evaluation)
Finally every Christian will have to stand before the judgment seat of Christ to examine their works and to be rewarded suitably. Cf. 2Corin 5:10.

          There are some Christians who take the New Testament teachings of Christian’s privileges very lightly. They actually take God and His word for granted. They do not have any fear for God, may be because they just consider God, just like some parents who simply allow their children do anything, live in a way!

          No, Peter says, He is a judge. He is a consuming fire, great and mighty God, before Him we should tremble. Cf. Duet 10:12, 17; Heb 12:29; Pro. 15:16; Isa. 66:2. Solomon says the conclusion of the whole mater is to fear God. Eccl 12:13, 14.

What does it mean to fear God?
          Fear of God doesn’t necessarily means to shiver before a bloodthirsty, cruel God. It speaks of being conscious of the presence of God who is sovereign, omnipotent as well as omniscient, and respond accordingly.

Importance of fear of God:-

a. Affects every area of life:-

Gen. 6:22 cf. Heb. 11:7 Prompted Noah to obey.
Gen. 22:12:- Encouraged Abraham to Obey.
Gen. 39:9 cf. 42:18:- Stopped Joseph from wickedness.
Exo. 1:17:- Prevented midwives from killing Moses.
1 King. 18:12:- Prompted Obadiah to protect & feed the servants of God.
Neh. 5:15:- Stopped Nehemiah from giving burden to people.
Isa. 8:12, 13:- Removes all other fear.

b. Blessings based upon fear of God. Isa. 66:2 ; Psa. 147:11

Psa. 145:19:- Fulfills their desires
Psa. 31: 19 – Storing up goodness
Psa. 34:9c:- Lack nothing
Psa. 25: 12, 14:- Reveals secret to them.
Psa. 115:13:- Blessed cf. Psa. 128:1

Fear of God not only controls our life and imparts divine blessings. Then:-
           All our fear will go.
           All our worry will go.
           God will use us for His glory.

          Apostle Peter encourages the suffering scattered saints not only to rejoice in their great salvation, but also to act accordingly. Their threefold responsibility is to:-

-Set their hope fully upon the coming of the Lord.
-Be Holy in all their conduct.
-Fear God in every moment of life.

Let it be true in our life too, for these three take care of the entire spiritual life, today and even future.

Next: Our redemption: A motivating factor

Prepared by Nelson Thomas as part of his teaching ministry. You are free to use it for your personal study.
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