Midweek Reflection: 1 Peter 1:13-16Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 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 written: “Be holy because I am holy.”
The first word in this section, “Therefore” indicates to us that this is the application to what Peter has been emphasising in his introduction and statements of praise. Notice though how Peter speaks, “Prepare your minds for action.” The truth of the Gospel needs to be understood in the mind if real salvation is to be lived out. As Paul says in Romans 12:1… (also the beginning of the application of chapter 1-11; the right response to the Gospel is to be seen in the transformation of the renewal of our minds. Unless we really grasp the enormity of God’s merciful salvation then we will not be ready to live lives of faithful service in the world. Instead, realising something of the strangeness of the Gospel to the world’s perspective and even our own natural selfish desires we will as in Jesus’ parable of the soils (Matthew 13), be tempted to give up in the face of hardship or give into the seduction of this world’s promises of an earthly inheritance. Only as we think rightly according to God’s truth, will we be able to counter false and counterfeit ‘hopes’. Thinking rightly means being so convinced and assured of God’s trustworthy promises secured by Christ through His death and resurrection that we really do “set our hope fully on the grace to be given us when Jesus Christ is revealed.” This is Christian “self control’. This is the perspective we are to have as God’s children and to cultivate and be disciplined to obey. This is the kind of radical living that shows we really are set apart by God for God – holy children of His.
2 important things to remember though:
- This radical life – this holiness is not self generated (1:1-2). Our salvation is all of God – the Father, Son and Spirit. It is the Spirit’s role in particular to continue to sanctify us to obey Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour to the glory of the Father and especially in praise of His mercy and grace in making us His new heirs fit for His good purpose (1:3-9).
- The fact that we are totally dependant upon God’s grace and power does not mean we are not responsible to ‘prepare our minds’, to ‘be holy’ and to fight to ‘not conform to the evil desires’ that can still influence. Truth is fundamental here. Despite the way our society downplays the importance and even relevance of ‘truth’, and even the way some theologians doubt whether we can actually know or be settled on God’s truth, truth is indispensable to knowing God and being in a right relationship with Him. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father through me’ John 14:6). To reject the revelation of God’s truth is to rebel against Him and to be ever rejected by Him. To accept it is to submit to His rule humbly and gratefully and to be forever secure in His blessing.
As Christians then, we need to really take stock in a world so against and so ignorant of the Christian Gospel and worldview. We need to be soldiers who regard truth as being at the centre of the spiritual battle (e.g Ephesians 6:10..) and want to prepare our minds with its right teaching, understanding and application. There is nothing moderate or ‘take it or leave it’ when it comes to truth. There is no virtue in minimising, being careless or even content to be ‘ignorant’ of God’s word. Instead all of us should want to know and encourage each other in knowing God better so that we might represent Him faithfully and please Him as His ever grateful ‘adopted’ children. When He speaks – we should of first importance – listen, and to do so in order to obey. No surprise then that in the end of chapter 1 and into chapter 2, Peter explicitly reminds us of the eternal enormity of rightly receiving God’s words and regarding it as our spiritual – life giving, life sustaining food.
So in the midst of our current COVID culture let us consider what our attitude of mind is like when it comes to truth. Are we taking the great opportunity we have in being more confined from the typical busy lifestyle to read, reflect and even study God’s word? When we have many options on the internet to choose from, what sort of teaching are we looking for as Christians? Is it the kind that seeks to proclaim what God has revealed or that which relies on what human thinkers and even Christian preachers speculate. We could ask (with 1 Peter 1:1-12 in mind), How does this teaching I am listening to…..
- prepare my mind so as to set my hope fully on the grace to be given when Jesus Christ is revealed?
– help me be holy as my Father is holy?
These questions steer us away from teaching that will only make us more settled to follow the world’s ways of earthly security and its hopes of happiness and towards trusting God’s good, purpose for His people. Marcus