THEREFORE… BE HOLY!
Lord, I eagerly await Your return.
Read 1 PETER 1:13–21
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”[a]
17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
a 1 Peter 1:16 Lev. 11:44,45; 19:2
New International Version (NIV)
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“Take my life, and let it be / consecrated, Lord, to thee” (Frances Ridley Havergal, 1836–1879).
The use of the word “therefore” (13) is signiﬁcant: Peter calls for a response in his readers to what God has already done in Jesus. (Paul uses “therefore” in Romans very effectively, too; e.g., Rom. 2:1; 5:1; 8:1; 12:1.) This order of action—God’s work and then our response—makes it clear that living holy lives does not mean earning our salvation. We are chosen, yes, and we need to respond to God’s call, but living God’s way takes commitment and effort. In verse 2 Peter reminds his readers that the sanctifying is done by the Spirit. Our part is to allow him to do his purifying work as children characterized by obedience (14).
Maintain your traditional values. This is how a displaced person prepares to move back home. Each of the words used by Peter for the people he is addressing (translated variously in English as “foreigners,” “strangers,” “sojourners” or “exiles”) has a slightly different connotation, but all point to a situation that is temporary. This is the sense in which we are “foreigners” (17). The reference here and previously to “heaven” (4) does not imply that the sojourner should try to escape from this present world to some ethereal location. This world was created “good” (Gen. 1:26–31) for us to care for and enjoy. Jesus will return to complete its restoration under his divine rule (Rev. 21:1–4). Rather, “heaven” is the realm of God, who guarantees and keeps safe the ultimate expression of our salvation.
However, sojourners often have different values from the society in which they live, and, in preparing for home, they should not lose those original values. So, while waiting, Christians are to prepare for this glorious future by living as citizens of God’s kingly realm— chosen, puriﬁed, set apart for this very purpose—in other words holy, like the King.
God’s purifying work may be painful. Take comfort that he has chosen you for this very season of your life and intends something beautiful to come out of it.
Lord, although Your people are sojourners down here, we refuse to lose sight of our ultimate destination as we draw closer to it every day.