Be Holy (Chapter 1 Verses 13-21)
Therefore (vv13-16), in the light of this great truth, Peter’s readers must do something. The first thing is to use their minds, to think. This is something we are not to keen on, we would rather someone else do the thinking for us, like the preacher. You know, just tell us what to do. No our minds are to be active, always thinking through the issues of truth, its implications and applications for our lives. So the very first thing Peter says is, minds into gear, business, decision, action, not drifting and disillusionment because things are tough. That is the danger with these suffering believers, to give up, or even become half-hearted regarding their Christian hope. No, says Peter, set your hope fully, wholeheartedly on this sure, and concrete hope of Jesus’ final coming. And what is more let it lead you into a greater degree of self-control (v13). Hope you see is a key word in this letter. In opposition to those who think the situation is hopeless, Peter shows them the very opposite is true. Now a person who has no hope is a person who has lost the will to live. We all live by hope, and the greater our degree of hope the greater the quality of life we will enjoy. Now who has a better hope than the Christian? That great and glorious hope Peter has just laid before us in the opening verses of his letter? Now that hope is your motivation, your spring-board to a better life-style, more self-control, discipline, it will move you to obedience, and further away from the kind of life you used to live (v14).
In fact hope and holiness cannot be separated (v14; 1John 3.3). But we need to be constantly reminded that this is not legal obedience, or mere morality, but a loving gospel obedience. Because of the gospel, the good news, i.e., what God has done. It is believing in Jesus, and following him in deep love, with a passion for more of him his power, love and grace (John 6.29). A life of positive holiness (v15). We tend to think of holiness as an extremely negative thing, on the contrary it is positive. Now we are free to follow Jesus, free to do as he would have us do. We are free to worship and praise him (Romans 12.1-3). Free to say no to former ways that led us away from God. Free to saying yes to the life that pleases God, and to hear that “well done” from our Father. That has been God’s written intention for his people for a long time (v16; Leviticus 11.44). Do you hunger to see more of God (Matthew 5.8; Hebrews 12.14)?
(© James R Hamilton, written May, 1998)