We are continuing our series on 1 Peter. I really encourage you to sit down and read through the whole book of 1 Peter this week. By getting familiar with the book, it may help prepare your spirit to hear what God is speaking through His Word to you! In the first part of this letter, Peter talked about the living hope they have in Christ (v.3). But this is not something just to "believe" but it is something to live out! In this passage, Peter gives us three principles for living out this living hope.
The first principle is in 1 Peter 1:13 "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." We need to actively strive to keep our mind focused. We can define focus as "paying attention, being alert and staying in control of your thoughts and actions."
So what do we need to pay attention to? Peter tells his readers to "set their hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming" (v.13). When we think about the word "hope," I believe there are two types. There is worldly hope - this is more like wishful thinking and blind faith about the future.
Peter is not talking about that but about an eternal, certain, living hope. This is hope that is focused on what our faithful God and Father has promised us through the resurrection of Christ! We need to keep our mind focused on our hope in Christ.
The second principal for living out our living hope is to live as children of God. When we received Christ, it was not just about "going to heaven when you die." It is that and more! We have been adopted into God's family. We now have a perfect, heavenly Father. The Bible tells us that He gives good gifts to His children. He is powerful and yet gentle, present and attentive and wise. But Peter reminds his readers that God is also impartial and fair. Just because you are His child, He doesn't let you get away with anything (v.17).
Another implication of being adopted into God's family is that we are called to be like Him. 1 Peter 1:14 "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written, 'Be holy, because I am holy.'"
Talk about high expectations! I'm sure we've all felt the guilt and pressure of knowing that we are supposed to be holy but failing miserably. How is this good news? What does it mean to be holy as God is holy?
One main thing to remember is that the focus cannot be on our efforts to be holy. Only God is holy. Our living hope is not in our ability to be holy, righteous or morally pure but in the fact that Jesus Christ is. Yes we are to live in Christ's footsteps, but as we walk in this world and stumble, we confess our sins and He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
So what does it mean to be holy or to live in holiness? One author wrote that holiness is loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Obedience springs from love, thus holiness is perfect love.
Obedience is doing things that show that we love and respect God and honestly when we do that, it truly results in actions and words that love and respect others. But the good news is that this kind of holiness and obedience doesn't come merely from trying harder. It comes from spending time in the presence of Christ.
Another way of looking at this is, instead of confessing that you haven't done your devotions, confess the behavior that manifests because you haven't been spending time in God's presence (anxiety, greed, fear, anger, gossip, dishonesty, self-centeredness, etc).
Lastly, the third principal for living out our living hope is to be thankful and have a truly grateful heart for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (v.18-21)
How will you live out your living hope this week?