Part 2 in the God’s People series
April 10, 2016 | text: 1 Peter 1:13-25
Be prepared. Gird up your loins (v. 13) is rendered preparing your minds for action in the ESV. What is the motto of the Boy Scouts? Always be prepared. One of my favorite quotes is “People don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.” The Christian life is an action that must be taken. Remember what we have said about faith? Faith is belief in action. If we believe that Jesus is who he says he is, and will do what he is promised to do, we will respond. That response will involve repenting of former sins but also actively being conformed to the image and likeness of Christ. We do not work for Jesus; we are doing the work of Jesus. The Golden Rule is not kept by simply not doing bad things; we must actively do those things unto others that we would like to see done to us. To be active we must be prepared for action. Imagine we are planning a camping trip. We would begin days ahead of time making a list of everything we needed, and probably make more than one trip to purchase supplies, food, ice, etc. We would need a packing list to make sure that all of our gear – tents, stakes, poles, sleeping bags, cooking utensils – was packed before setting out. Now imagine going to all the nations and making disciples. Preparation is necessary. We have to sober minded – awake, paying attention, deliberate – in order to read the scriptures, pray, put on the whole armor of God; and that’s just preparing for action.
Be holy. The one that called us is holy and we are called into holiness. God is holy, holy, holy and only things that are holy can come into his presence. But that’s only part of it. We are ambassadors for the kingdom of God, representative going into a foreign land. We must represent the God of holiness and righteousness by presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice. Peter will call believers “a royal priesthood” in chapter 2. A priest must be prepared for service. The Old Testament Levitical priests had to be washed and clothed in spotless robes, they had to be literally and ceremonial cleansed before entering into service. The ceremony and the ritual has been done away with but those things were devices, object lessons, to teach us what is required. Jesus was the Lamb of God without spot or blemish and we must walk blameless before him. We must make ourselves the spiritually clean dwelling place for the Holy Spirit in this world. Peter is referencing several passage in Leviticus in which God says “You must be holy for I am holy.” We must be workman rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Think about every restaurant sign you’ve ever seen that says “employees must wash hands before returning to work.” Think about how important cleanliness is in food preparation and service. Now replacing serving food with serving God. He who has clean hands and a pure heart… (Psalm 24)
Love with a pure heart. Love one another fervently, earnestly, from a pure heart because you have been born again not of a corruptible seed but of incorruptible. The first 12 verses we did not read of this text describes being born again. (1 Pet 1:3-5) We were born corruptible, perishable, dead to God in our sins. But we have been born again into new life, to put on the incorruptible and the imperishable. We have died to sin and become alive unto God! We can now move on past our base desires and know what love is. We can now love God and love one another. We can see the pain caused by sin and have the burden for lost souls that God does, and also love the believing brother and sister in the faith. Paul (writing to the Galatians) exhorts believers not to turn again to former, basic things once we have obtained something better. Jesus will one day judge the nations. At his first coming he ministered to the needs of the suffering. He healed the sick and feed the hungry. He preached to multitudes what the kingdom of God was like and he washed the disciples feet. Jesus’ example was one of humble service. He did provide signs to the demanding religious leaders, but he miraculously healed those who came seeking him in faith. Jesus ministered to real people with real needs. We are not working for Jesus; we are sent into the world to do the work of Jesus. Think about the work Jesus did in the world. Look at what Peter says we are called to; he is not calling us, he is outlining what God has called us to. We have been regenerated. We have born again into new life. Now we must prepare ourselves for action. Not to slay the enemy. We wrestle not again flesh and blood in Ephesians 6. We must do spiritual battle but the lost of this world are not the battlefield. They are the mission field. The hands and feet of the body of Christ must be gentle, healing hands in this world in this age. This is the good news that was preached to you.
Peace and God bless.