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Be Holy May 3, 2014

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on 1 Peter 1:13-2:3.

Summary: Peter begins by exhorting his readers to:

  • gird up their affections
  • keep watch
  • rest perfectly on the salvation that they will fully receive at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Since they are the children of God, they must separate themselves from the polluted habits that resided in their hearts when their souls were in complete darkness. He quotes from Leviticus 11:44 to drive home this point: since God is set apart from the world, they must also be set apart from the world.

Peter then reminds his readers that since they are the children of God – who will fairly assess all actions, words and thoughts – they should be:

  • mindful that the Earth is not their permanent home
  • reluctant to displease God.

They know that God did not use temporal things – even items that people value most highly – to free them from a life of slavery to sinful habits and vain religious devices. Instead, He caused His perfect Son to suffer for them; He planned this before the beginning of time, and now He has manifested His Son through His incarnation, which has perpetual value for them. Thus, Christ – through His work – has placed Himself between them and the Father, and so they can place their faith in the Father.

Now Peter states that since his readers are being renewed through their obedience to God’s rule of purity, they should genuinely seek the good of others. This stems from the fact that the abiding Gospel message has made them the children of God. He quotes from Isaiah 40:6-8 to drive home this point: while everyone will eventually turn to dust, the Gospel message that they have received is incorruptible.

Since Peter’s readers are the children of God, they must not:

  • wish evil on others
  • be jealous of the goodness of others
  • carry these evils around under better appearances.

Instead, they must act like infants by exhibiting a vehement desire for the Gospel message, which transforms and enlightens them. Peter concludes by reminding them that this vehement desire should be their natural response to God’s kind disposition toward them.

Thoughts: In verse 13 of chapter 1, Peter exhorts his readers to prepare themselves for the Second Coming of Christ. Leighton offers some thoughts on this point:

Therefore it is a day of grace, and all light and blessedness to those who are in Christ, because they will appear with him. If Christ is glorious, they will not be without honor and ashamed. If we were then to be confronted by our secret sins and have them exposed to the view of everyone, who could look forward to that day? This is how all unbelieving people view that day, and so they find it most frightening.

I wonder if many believers – especially Christians who dwell in First World countries – consciously live for the time when Jesus will return to the Earth. Living in a comfortable setting enables us to enjoy the pleasures of life; moreover, we often derive our security and satisfaction from these pleasures. Does this imply that all Christians must relocate to Third World countries in order to properly anticipate the return of Christ? Can we truly live for the Second Coming in a comfortable setting? I find this concept to be quite challenging in that I wonder if I can truly long for the Second Coming if I am not being persecuted or suffering for His Name. I certainly need more wisdom and strength from God as I wrestle with this issue.

In verse 17 of chapter 1, Peter exhorts his readers to live in a way that will not displease God. Leighton offers some interesting thoughts on this point:

In the great judgment all secret things will be revealed. As all secret things are already open to the eye of this Judge, so they will then be opened to all people and angels.

I wonder if the “secret things” of believers “will be revealed”; was Leighton only thinking of unbelievers? Clearly all believers have entertained sinful thoughts at some point in their lives, as no one is perfect. If the “secret things” of believers “will be revealed,” then their sinful thoughts are “opened to all people and angels” at the Last Judgment. Will a believer experience a temporary sensation of embarrassment and guilt at that time before God declares that the blood of Christ has covered them? Will this revelation determine one’s standing in heaven, i.e. those who have entertained the fewest sinful thoughts will receive the highest places in heaven? I am definitely curious as to how God will answer these questions.

In verse 2 of chapter 2, Peter exhorts his readers to have a burning desire for the Gospel message. Leighton offers some interesting thoughts on this point:

And because it is natural, it is, second, an earnest desire. This is no cold, indifferent wish. The Greek epipothe sate signifies vehement desire – like a baby who will not be satisfied until it has breast milk, even if you offered it gold and silver. The baby ignores these, for they do not meet its desire, which must be satisfied.

Since I am fairly disciplined, I have no difficulty maintaining my habit of studying God’s Word. Now I wonder how I can reconcile my habit with Peter’s point that we:

  • must consciously seek after God’s Word
  • will feel satisfied after studying God’s Word.

I experience this feeling of satisfaction every now and then, especially after I read a memorable passage or come across an insightful thought by a Bible commentator. It is safe to say that some believers, including mature Christians, experience this feeling of satisfaction more often. Perhaps as I allow the Word to challenge me more often, I will have more of a “vehement desire” for it; putting the Word into practice can be painful, but it often leaves a deep impression on the soul.

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