Continuing my series of sermons on I Peter.
Tried With Fire — I Peter
#2 HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?, 1:13-25
I Peter was written to those who are facing fiery trials. In the beginning of this chapter, Peter pointed out our status as Christians — we are “Elect Strangers Scattered“. We are not of this world, but have been chosen by God to be strangers in this world. We have an inheritance, a glorious calling in Christ. Our fiery trials are to refine our faith — and you only refine what is of great value. We are being refined to the praise and glory of God.
In the second half of chapter one, Peter tells us how people who have such a calling should live. Especially, there is an emphasis on the eternal vs. the temporal. The here-and-now, this life, is not our focus — we should live with an eye on eternal values.
I. Be Like G0d (13-16)
13 Wherefore 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;
14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 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.
A. Don’t be Lazy-Brained, Be Serious-Minded (13). It seems like I just wrote about this, but as you can see I was preaching this seven years ago. 🙂 We are to engage our minds. God has called us to be like Him, so we must be serious-minded in considering how we can be more like Him. To be “sober” does not mean never to have fun or enjoy light moments, but it does mean that we are to be serious-minded. Life is not just one big game.
B. Hope to the End (13). We should live life with the end in view. Our outlook should be eternal, not temporal. God’s grace has provision for our future, and we should keep that always before us.
C. As Obedient Children (14). God calls us to obedience. A young child may not understand his parents’ instructions, or why they are important, but still must obey. We must not be so arrogant as to assume we need not obey God just because we do not understand what He is doing, or why. We are only children.
One of our children, at about the age of 10, didn’t want to take correction on how she was reading a particular word. In the ensuing discussion with her mother, she asserted that she was a better reader than Terri. At this point, Terri asked her, “Who do you come to ask when you encounter a word you don’t know?” which rather ended the discussion.
This is the way we can get with God. We think we know what would be best in our lives, but we are only children. In your great evaluations of your life, in which you reason against God and what He is doing, you might do well to consider that you are reasoning against Him with the brain He made and gave you. There is, therefore, perhaps a chance that His reasoning might be a wee bit better than yours.
D. Not Living by Former Desires (14). The old desires are rooted entirely in the temporary things of this world. We have a new life, a new home, a new hope. We need to live our life accordingly.
E. Be Holy in All Things (15-16). He is both the reason for us to be holy and the pattern by which we should be holy. There is no limit as to how holy we should be, for His holiness is infinite, and He calls us to be like Him. We never “arrive” at holiness, for to be holy is to be continually drawing nearer to Him.
II. Reverencing God (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.
A. Because He is Our Father-Judge (17). God is worthy of our reverence because He is our Father. The respect and honour that is due our earthly father is only a shadow of that which is due our heavenly Father. Even more, He is worthy of our reverence because He is the perfect Judge, without respect of persons.
B. Because of the Price of Our Redemption (18-19). It is not silver or gold that redeemed us, but the precious blood of Christ. Our reverence has been purchased with a price beyond what we could imagine. Our Father, who is worthy of reverence, has brought us into the position of His children by a price beyond measure, that we might truly reverence Him. The Judge, who is worthy of reverence, sees justice satisfied by a price far greater than our sin.
These two verses have many applications to the life of believers, but the primary focus here is that we are to honour and reverence the Lord because of the price that was paid for us.
C. Because of Who Our Redeemer Is (20). Our Redeemer is the eternal Son of the eternal God. That which was planned in eternity will be carried out for eternity — for us. We see Him now revealed in our time as the Saviour, but He is and and always was eternally God, God the Son.
D. Because He is OUR Redeemer (21). His work was accomplished for me, that my faith and hope might be in God. I am eternally His, because He came to redeem ME. My life should reverence Him — He is my eternal Redeemer who has redeemed me eternally. It is personal.
III. Fervently Loving One Another (22-25)
22 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.
A. Real Love Flows out of Purified Souls (22). The connection between love and purity is very clear here. Love is the out-flowing of purity, and the absence of purity hinders true love. This is inevitable, for God is love, and the greatest love originates with Him and flows through us. It is His love working in us that enables us to love one another. When hearts are not pure, fellowship with God is broken, and the love which should flow through us from Him towards others is hindered. Love cannot function properly if a lack of purity hinders our connection with the Source of love.
B. Real Love Flows out of Being Born into an Incorruptible Family (23). We are somewhat stuck with each other! This family is permanent. Earthly families may be fractured, may be broken permanently. But our heavenly family is different. It won’t decay away. You are going to have to put up with your Christian brothers and sisters forever, so that means that your petty conflicts with them will have to be made up some time. Far better to do it now than waste any more time. So there is a challenge in this relationship for us, but there is also tremendous security. We have been brought into an eternal family which will love us forever, built on the eternal Word of God. And as love begets love, that assurance of an eternal love in this family grows an answering love inside of us.
C. Our Status in that Family is Sealed by God’s Incorruptible Word (23-25). The power of His Word is what has brought us into this fervently loving family, and His Word never fails, it abides forever. The same power by which we were born again lives on, never diminishing, never fading.
These verses are often yanked out of context to be a statement about Scripture. They are indeed about Scripture, but they are not intended to be a stand-alone statement about Scripture. The purpose here is to communicate the certainty and permanence of our membership in God’s family. The eternal nature of God’s Word, by which we have been born again, guarantees the eternal nature of that new life as God’s children. When we start to talk about the things that God’s Word accomplishes, we are in the realm of eternity. If our new life began in the eternal realm, so also it will continue.
If we have been chosen by God to be strangers scattered upon the earth, how should we then live?
In holiness, like God.
As redeemed children, honouring God.
As born again, loving one another.