July 20 Bible Studies for Life: Active faith
Jul 3, 2014
By W. WILEY RICHARDS
1 PETER 1:13-19, 22-25
As we have seen, Simon Peter opened his epistle with some heavy theology, beginning with the Trinity. He enticed us with the prospect of a divine inheritance in the life to come. However, he abruptly changes our attention to the impact the Gospel makes on our daily lives. With that in mind, I have adopted informal headings for each section to reflect the mood.
Sober up (vv. 13-14). We usually speak of sobering up when dealing with a person too drunk to think straight. Hence a sober-minded person is one whose mind is clear, able to make decisions. Also, to gird up the loins of one’s mind is to tie up all loose garments that can hinder doing one’s work. We would say, “Roll up your sleeves and get started.” In our spiritual lives, we are to be prepared for our Lord’s return. Peter’s mind kept coming back to our Lord’s end-time unveiling. In view of His certain return, we ought to be standing on tiptoes in anticipation. This thought brings us to our next standard.
Straighten up (vv. 15-17). People who are convinced the Second Coming is imminent may do strange things. William Miller (1782-1849), a Baptist minister from New York, calculated the Lord would return between 1843-44. Then he set the date as October 22, 1844. His followers gathered in various places awaiting the moment. Oops! Wrong again, but they figured it was some sort of heavenly event.
What should we do in anticipation of His coming again? The Bible is clear about that. Because the One who saved us is holy, we ought to be holy in the way we conduct our daily lives. God does not “look on faces” as though to give certain ones special treatment. He is fair in every respect. We remember our lives are but a journey that passes more quickly the older we get, or so it seems. Therefore, we ought to be preparing for the transition from this world to the next, rejoicing in the Lord, not dreading the outcome. What’s next?
Cheer up (vv. 18-19). We have every reason to rejoice when we consider what Jesus has done for us on the cross. Begin with redemption, Christ’s payment for our sin debt. We read in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.” In His death on the cross, he propitiated the wrath of God as a sacrificial offering (Rom. 3:25), reconciled us with the Father (Rom. 5:10) and justified us before the law (Rom. 5:16). By His substitutionary death on the cross, Jesus atoned for all our sins, freeing us to live godly lives. In Peter’s words, we were redeemed, not “with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish” (v. 19). Peter echoed the insight of John the Baptist, that Jesus is the lamb of God (Jn. 1:36). So, let’s ...
Sweeten up (v. 22). Peter was effusive in his call for “sincere love of the brothers, from a pure heart.” As the apostle, now close to his martyrdom, meditated on the life and teachings of Jesus, the events of that last night stood out. He remembered his bold statement that he would lay down his life for Jesus and the rebuke by Jesus (Jn. 13:37, 38). But he also recalled the parting command of Jesus: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another” (Jn. 13:34). Peter couldn’t resist adding a final touch, enjoining believers to “love one another earnestly, from a pure heart.” In other words ...
Grow up (vv. 22-25). We are to remember when we were born again, a phrase used by Jesus in His conversation with Nicodemus (Jn. 3:3). Peter enlarges on the topic. The new birth arose not from any earthly source, but from the “living and enduring word of God” (v. 23). We know that “word of God” can have two meanings. (1) The living Word is Jesus (Jn. 1:1). (2) The written word is the Bible. That’s what Peter preached and what we preach (v. 25).
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