“ Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.”
Peter starts this next section with the word “therefore.” What does the “therefore” refer to? It is referring to the great salvation blessings that he writes about in the first twelve verses. Notice that in the first twelve verses there is not one command. It is all about God’s saving work and the glory that will come when Jesus returns. The Gospel Coalition website commentary has this to say. “The transitional conjunction ‘therefore’ with which 1:13 begins is a reminder that every exhortation that follows is grounded in God’s gracious work of salvation (1:1-12). We must never place the imperative before the indicative. God’s finished work (‘done!’) issues in our faithful living (‘do!’).” Remember, the imperative is a command, the indicative is a statement. In other words, God has completed the work, we are to now act on it.
The first thing we are to do is to get our mind ready for action. Some versions say to gird your minds for action. It is the picture of a Roman soldier, taking up his tunic and tucking it into his belt so he is ready for action. We are to be ready for instant obedience.
We are to be sober-minded. Peter uses the phrase sober-minded three times in this letter. When we see the word sober, we think of the obvious, which would be the opposite of physical drunkenness or addiction to things. I think Peter is also warning of other things. What do we let our minds wander to? How do we spend our time? Another definition of sober is serious, sensible, or solemn. I think this definition fits also. We are to take our Christian walk seriously.
We are to set our hope completely on the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Peter has used the word grace twice before he uses it here. He greets his readers with grace (1:2). He then tells them about “the grace that would come to you,” which was predicted by the prophets (1:10). Now he writes about “the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:13). Without this grace we will be unable to stand before him. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.” It is because of his unmerited favor that we will be able to stand before Jesus on that day. David Guzik writes in his commentary, “Grace isn’t just for the past, when we first gave our lives to Jesus. It isn’t only for the present, where we live each moment standing in his grace (Romans 5:2). It is also for the future, when grace will be brought to us. God has only just begun to show us the riches of his grace.”
This message of hope is the transition point of Peter’s letter. He spent the first twelve verses talking about the great truths of our salvation. In verse 13 we can see ourselves on the path to our heavenly reward. Now, he gets on to the action. This is what we are to do. We are to be holy.
The first thing he reminds us is that “as obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.” We are children in God’s family. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:5-6, “He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.” And in 5:1-2, “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and gave himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” Children naturally imitate their parents. We are to imitate God. Peter says not to be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. The only other time the word conformed appears in the New Testament is in Romans 12:2. “Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
He then goes on to tell us to be holy because God is holy. He quotes a verse from Leviticus 11:44-45 where God tells the Israelites to be holy because he is holy. Peter writes “…as the one who called you is holy…” God has called us just as he called the Israelites. Peter uses the word “called” four more times in the letter to remind us that God has initiated our salvation. We are told to be holy in all our conduct. Peter uses the word conduct frequently in his letters. Eight of the thirteen uses of this word in the New Testament are found in First and Second Peter. Dictionary.com gives this definition of the word: “The manner in which a person behaves, especially on a particular occasion or in a particular context.” We are to behave in a way that is holy.
What does it mean to be holy? It means to be separated from sin. The Hebrew definition of holy is to be set apart for a specific purpose. This made me think. Are we as Christians today living holy lives? Do our lives look any different from the world around us? Are we so worried about fitting in or getting along that we have lost our “set apartness”? I am afraid that today we have become so afraid of offending people that we do not stand up for what is true, pure, and right. We are no longer salt and light. Jesus said in his Sermon on the Mount:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can it be made salty? It’s no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16)
Grace be with you!