Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
- Since we have been given such grace we need to get ready for action.
- We need to think soberly.
- We need to hope completely on grace that will be brought from the revelation of Jesus Christ.
- We are to be as obedient children.
- We are not to give into the passions we had before we knew Jesus Christ.
- Jesus is holy.
- We are to be holy like Jesus.
- We are to be holy in what we do.
- The commandment is, we are to be holy because God is holy.
- If we call on God we are to conduct ourselves with fear the entire time we are on earth.
- God judges impartially
- God judges what we do.
- Since God judges what we do we need to be careful about what we do.
- We were ransomed from the ways of our ancestors before Christ.
- The ways of our ancestors before Christ were futile.
- We were not ransomed with gold or silver.
- We were ransomed with the blood of Christ.
- Christ is like a perfect lamb.
- God knew before He created the world that we would need a savior.
- We believe in God through Christ.
- Christ was known by God before the world was created.
- Christ was clearly shown for the sake of those who believe in God.
- God raised Christ from the dead and gave him glory.
- Since God raised Christ from the dead our hope and faith are in God.
- We purify our souls by obedience to the truth
- Since we have purified our souls for brotherly love, we are to love each other from a pure heart.
- We are to love each other since we have been born again.
- We have been reborn not to perishable but imperishable.
- We have been reborn through the word of God.
- God’s word lives with us and acts on us.
- All flesh has attractiveness only temporarily.
- The word of God is forever.
- The word of God is good news
- The word of God was preached to us.
In the first part of this chapter Peter reminds us to what we are called. We are called to of the Kingdom of God. So high and elevated is the Kingdom of God that even the angels longed to see it. Since we are call to something so high, Peter tells us to prepare are ourselves mentally and direct our thoughts to the hope grace affords us. Then he tells us how to prepare mentally we are to be formed after the image of God.
We are to hope in God’s grace that will come at the revelation of Jesus Christ. What Peter is referring to may be understood in two ways. First the doctrine of the Gospel reveals Christ to us. Even so, we still do not have a full revelation of Him and will not until the last days. This is as Paul said in the 1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.” The second way to understand this is Peter is calling us well beyond this world to something better, the recollection of Christ’s coming. When we recognize this true reality, the world becomes so less important. We will not realize the full magnitude of grace until Christ appears from heaven. In the meantime, we hope for the grace of Christ’s salvation.
We have been adopted by God so that we might be His children. We are adopted so that we might be His obedient children. Obedience does not make us children. God gracious adoption does that. Obedience distinguishes children from foreigners or even mere friends. Just how obedient are we to be? Peter tells us when he says us are not to conform or comply with the desires of the world rather we are to conform to the will of God. God requires that the His image shine through us. If we are His children others should see Him in us. When people look at me, they say they can see my earthly father in me. I look like him. I act like him. There is no doubt I am my father’s son. It is to be the same with our Heavenly Father. People ought to be able to see our Heavenly Father in us. We should look like Him and act like Him. This cannot happen unless we put off the image of the old Adam. Adam’s rebellion was is his image. Jesus was obedient in every way to the Father. Obedience brings to us the image of Jesus Christ.
Peter says God has called us holy. That is, he is reasoning from the end to which we have been called. God is holy and He calls us to be like Him. Peter reminds us of the holiness of God when he says if we call on God as Father we are to do so with fear. The fear Peter mentions stands in stark contrast to the presumptuous way many approach the throne of God. Many use Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace.” to think we should approach God in a casual manner forgetting that He is God. Peter reminds us that God is holy and while we may approach God with confidence, we also must approach with fear.
God judges impartially. And if it were not for Christ taking our just punishment we would all suffer God’s wrath. Our conduct then is not out of a sense of duty but rather in awe of what He has given and spared us, that is His grace and His mercy. God’s justice was satisfied when we were purchased out of slavery to sin. We were purchased or ransomed by Christ. He did not pay for us with anything as trite and trivial as precious metals such as gold or silver. Christ purchased us with His very own blood. He gave His life for us. He sacrificed Himself so that we could live.
By comparing Christ to a lamb without spot or blemish Peter brings to mind the sacrifices of the old covenant. We have in Christ what was foreshadowed in the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb. By applying the Passover Lamb to Christ, Peter points out Jesus was a suitable sacrifice for our sins. He was approved by God because He was perfect. He did not have any defects within Him. Peter reminds us that Christ has been before the world even began. If man did not need a redeemer before the fall of Adam how could Christ have been appointed the Redeemer before the world was created. This simply is the foreknowledge of God. God is all knowing. He knew man would fall before He created man. Therefore, God, in order to demonstrate His love, appointed Christ as our redeemer. God know of our rebellion even before we did and provided a mean of reconciliation.
Why is it that you believe and your neighbor does not believe? Are you more righteous than he is? No. Are you smarter than he is. You may be smarter that I don’t know. But Peter says that is not why you are a believer in God and your neighbor is not. Well if you are not better than he is morally and it is not because you figured it out and he did not, why do you believe and your neighbor does not? Peter says the reason any of us believe is because of Christ. Through Christ we are believers in God (v21) That is why our hope is in Christ and Christ alone.
In verse 22 Peter says, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth…” This can be misunderstood so that we think we are purified. Since he says “by your obedience” it shows that purification is an ongoing and continual act since we must continue to obey. Purification is not a once and forever thing. But what are we to obey? We are to obey the truth. And Christ is the truth. (John 14:6) But that simply statement is kind or esoteric. What does it mean to obey the truth? Peter tells us. We obey not just by loving in a brotherly fashion but loving earnestly. We are to love without any impure motives. We love with a pure heart.
But how do we get a pure heart from which to love? It is a recursive operation. The more we love the more pure we are. The more pure we are the more we love. Isn’t this a circular argument and therefore fallacious? Peter addresses this as well. Christ has interceded for us. We have been born again. We are not the same people we once were. We have been remade/reborn with what is imperishable.
All the things of this world will wither and die. But the word of the Lord will remain forever. And Jesus Christ is the word. (John 1:14) Halleluiah!
Peter tells us to hope in the grace of God. Too often we think about God giving us materiel things, to fix our temporary problems. When do this our hope is not really in the grace of God. Our hope is in worldly thing. That is why we need God to fix them. We want God to give us worldly things. If only we had another $1000 per month all our troubles would be over. If only my health were better, everything would be Okay. Our heart is not conformed to the will of God. We see God only as a means to an end. He is not the means to an end He is the end.
We are not by nature holy. Even the most perfect among us miss the mark by quite a distance. Being holy is not something we can do ourselves. When Peter says “Be Holy” he is not giving us a command in the sense that this is our duty rather this is a reminder that is the God who say “I am He who sanctifies you.” Likewise we trust Christ to make us new. When we realize what Christ has done, our natural reaction is to love Him back. But how is it possible to love God. How do we love God back? We love God by loving each other.