1 Peter 1:13-25
Called To Be Holy

Read 1 Peter 1:13-25.

Peter has already given us the understanding that our salvation has marked us aliens in the world and strangers on the way to a better country. We’re to look forward to when the Lord will be revealed. A second result is that we begin to understand why the Old Testament prophets told of His suffering as well as His coming glory. Both the prophets and the angels tried to understand how the Messiah could do both.

Now he points out how our salvation is the basis for a different and better lifestyle. Peter told us that we are “born again” into God’s family as His children. Since we’re God’s children, we need to change our behavior in three important ways.

1. First, as obedient children, to be holy.
2. Then as children accountable to God, to fear God.
3. Also, since we are "born again" through the eternal Word, we’re to love one another.

VERSE 13. "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

When Peter begins with “therefore” he’s referring back to the blessings of salvation mentioned in 1 Peter 1:3-12, and in particular that God chose us in eternity past, gives us a living hope for eternity future and enables us to rejoice in our temporary present life.

“Therefore” we’re to live today in a manner consistent with our past calling and our future hope. This new lifestyle doesn’t come naturally. We have to actively pursue it. The desire for holy living begins in our minds.

Verse 13 tells us there are three real adjustments we have to make in our thinking.

1. Prepare your mind for action “Gird up the loins of your mind.”
2. Be sober, or take this seriously.
3. Look to the future.

Peter uses an illustration from the time this was written. He makes a comparison with the clothing in Bible lands at that time. Men wore long robes which, for active work or running, were tucked up and tied around the waist with a belt, sometimes called a girdle. The words “gird up” are connected with the word girdle, and "loins" refers to the waist. The expression means to tuck up your robe under your belt, and be ready for action. One writer said; “The truth of God’s Word is the belt to keep all other ideas and thoughts in place.” Peter tells us that holy living requires a mind-set that is focused on God and His Word.

Many believers live in a kind of complacent fog. Their mind is like a flopping long robe, undisciplined and unfocused. Peter says we are to consciously “gird up the loins of our minds”---to focus our thinking and discipline our minds on the eternal things. That’s the only way we’ll be able to keep our minds free of the unnecessary things and focus on the glory of God.

We are to be sober. This isn’t about being under the influence of a substance that alters our behavior to an un-natural physical state. “Be sober” has to do with mental distraction by stimulants of the world.

Being sober in mind is to be clear thinking, to concentrate on the issues set before us. We need to evaluate things correctly and not be thrown off balance by new and fascinating ideas. I know some Christians who always want to investigate new and off beat ideas and writings. Leave them alone. God gave us more than we can digest in a lifetime just in the Bible alone.

Clear thinking lets us see the world in biblical perspective. We’re not to be swayed by reasoning which leaves God out of the picture. We can all see the truth of
1 John 2:17. “And the world passeth away and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”

We are not to let the influence of the passing world cloud our spiritual vision. We need to be aware of the dangers and distraction that are possible in overindulgence in our daily activities. Properly controlled, all of these can be a reasonable part of a believer’s life. When any of them begins to have a controlling influence on the believer’s decisions, he’s losing sobriety of mind.

When the sports page, or the fashion magazine, or the next business deal, takes precedence over the Word of God, or when the people of God take second place to the people of the world, Satan is taking control of our lives. So the command is to “be sober.”

Then we are to “Focus on the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Because of our confidence that the Lord Jesus Christ will be openly revealed to the whole world, we see ourselves on a path leading to His glory and our reward.

The “grace” refers to the final stage of salvation at the return of Christ that believers will share. The “hope” we possess is not only certain, but also a “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). To focus on it fully and completely is to keep it in mind in every circumstance and decision of life.

Verse 13 points out the three things the true Believer will have in his thinking.

1. Set our mind so that we're prepared for action.
2. Clear our mind from worldly influence.
3. Focus on the future.

VERSE 14. As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: Holy living begins in our minds but it also has to do with our will. We are not to conform to the things that were our life before we got saved, but we’re to conform to the holiness of God.

As “obedient children” we’re no longer to be shaped by the old life. “Not conforming yourselves to the former lusts as in your ignorance.” This ignorance is the ignorance of not knowing Christ as our Savior, not a mental deficiency. Holy life is characterized by pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ rather than the fleshly desires.

VERSES 15-16. "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16: Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." This command to be holy is based on being called by God. God is the One who called us before the world began. He “called” us “out of darkness” and “to his eternal glory,” and He calls us to “be holy.” The standard for our behavior is the absolute holiness of God Himself. No Believer can achieve absolute holiness this side of heaven, but we’re told to strive toward meeting God’s perfect standard of holiness. Believers are to obey the command to "be holy" in all you do. It includes every act and every word in every situation.

Holy living is a clear command in the Old and the New Testament and it's based on the calling of God, the character of God and the Word of God. For Believers these form the basis of true ethics. Our ethics don’t change with the times or our culture, or by the decisions of high court judges.

VERSES 17-21 17: "And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19: But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21: Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God."

Verse 17 says, since we call on the Father for help, we need to keep in mind that He’s also an impartial Judge-even to His own children. He judges and rewards us according to what we do. He has no favorites. Every child is treated with both discipline and encouragement designed for the greatest good. God’s purpose is that we reflect His holiness as obedient children. We're to fear God because of the impartial way God judges His children.

The fear of God is an unpopular concept in the Christian world. Many Christians associate the fear of God with the O.T. They think of the God who sent His angels to destroy the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Now they want to think of God as a loving God who overlooks all but the worst sins.

Fearing God is proper. It’s more than reverence for God. We’re to fear God’s discipline when we sin. When we’re tempted to sin we know that we’ll reap what we sow.

The emphasis of verses 18 and 19 is on the tremendous cost of our redemption--Christ’s precious blood. Peter compares it to the price of silver and gold, and finds them far short.. The “traditions of the elders” were very important to these people. The written word wasn’t as widespread as it is today so they passed their stories and traditions verbally to each generation.

Peter calls these revered things “vain,” or useless, when it comes to redemption. I wish many of the churches of the world today would recognize that fact. Solomon wrote about this. Vanity is the sum total of the value of what we inherit from a culture where God is left out. In contrast the Believer obtains an “inheritance that can never perish.”

The cost of our redemption was the “precious blood of Christ.” Again Peter likens Christ to the Old Testament sacrifice of a lamb without blemish for their sins.

Verse 20 brings out who this precious blood of the Lamb of God was shed for, “for you,” and it was planned before the foundation of the world by the Trinity. A familiar passage in Hebrews says that in the past “God, who at sundry times and in divers ways spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son" Hebrews 1:1. He spoke to us through the shed blood of His Son. All this was “for your sake.” [20] We were the focus of His attention.

In 1 Peter 1:12 we saw that the prophecies of the O. T. were given for our benefit way back then. Now we learn that the final object and purpose of redemption was for our sake. Since we are the focus of His redeeming love before the creation of the world, we're to live for God. The result of our redemption is that the Redeemer Himself was glorified. The climax of Christ’s redeeming work was when God raised Him from the dead, took Him back to heaven and honored Him there.

VERSES 22-25. "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24: For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."

If we obey the Holy Spirit, as children obedient to God should, we are to love one another with a pure heart. When we’re “obeying the truth” we’re responding in a practical way to all the truth of God’s Word. The result of that will be a “sincere love” for other believers. . The basis for the exhortation to love comes from our new birth. [23] It’s a brand new life.

Peter mentions the character of the seed that started the new life. It was “incorruptible” just as the blood of Christ was in verses18 and 19. The “seed” was the “Word of God which lives and abides forever” [23]. In verses 22 and 23 we are asked to love one another on the basis of our spiritual new birth. The seed of our new birth is the abiding Word of God.

Verse 24, Peter quotes from Isaiah to tell the permanency of the Word of God, and the frailty of our short human existence. It’s short lived like the grass of the field that grows up and then withers. The glory of man is like the wild flowers in the field that are here today and gone tomorrow. These are contrasted with the “Word of the Lord which endureth forever. In verses 13-25 there are three specific commands from the Father to the Believer:

1. “Be holy,”
2. “Conduct yourself in fear,”
3. “Love one another.”

All three are directed to Believers as we pass through this world. God wants our character to match what we claim to be.