Published July 10, 2014
1 Peter 1:14-19, 22-25
Bible Studies for Life, July 20
People like to be accepted by others. This explains our tendency to follow trends and what’s “in” at the moment. The desire to be accepted can lead to compromise or the loss of our distinctiveness as followers of Christ. God calls us to holiness – to live separate and distinctive lives.
One of the key reasons for the decline in baptisms Convention-wide is revealed in this passage. We are called to be distinct and different from the world. That distinctiveness will create a thirst and cast light in the hearts of those around us without Christ.
The erosion of that distinctiveness is directly proportional to the erosion in our effectiveness to reaching the lost. Jesus called on us to be salt and light. Our calling is to be holy and loving.
We see the correlation between our holy behavior and evangelism in chapter 3 verses 1-6. It is only by our holy, loving behavior that the message we proclaim of transformation is authenticated.
Be like God – holy - 1 Peter 1:14-16
Clearly the call is for every child of God to be holy. The word “holy” means to be set apart. We are called by God to no longer live like we did before we knew Christ (v. 14). We are to be holy in all our behavior just like our heavenly Father is holy, (v. 16).
We are saved by grace (Eph. 1:8-9). No one will be saved by good works (Rom. 3:20). However, the subject in 1 Peter is not about coming to Christ for salvation but living for Christ after salvation. We are not called to be holy in order to get into heaven; we are called to be holy because we are going to heaven.
What is holiness? Holiness is rooted in your heart and revealed in your behavior. Holiness is the absence of sinfulness. We are made holy in our stance before God by the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). The demonstration of our outward behavior is to reflect the in-working of the Holy Spirit (Phil. 1:6; 2:12). We see the list of unholiness in Galatians 2:19-21 followed by the evidence of holiness that is the fruit of the Spirit in verses 22-23.
Fear and reverence to God - 1 Peter 1:17-19
These verses motivate us to live godly lives.
We are motivated by the permanence of our rewards. We are to be motivated by the fact that our behavior will determine our rewards for eternity. Again, this is not about being judged to determine entrance into heaven, but the rewards received in heaven. One day all believers will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and be rewarded for their works (2 Cor. 5:10).
We are motivated by the price of our redemption. Jesus shed His blood and bought us out of the slave market of sin. How can we continue to live in ungodliness when He gave His life so that we could be godly?
A life of moral compromise and selfish attitude is an affront to the costly price paid for the believer’s redemption.
We are motivated by the purity of our Redeemer. The emphasis of verse 19 is not only the price He paid, but the life He lived. He was “unblemished and spotless” and He calls on us to live holy lives.
The power that enabled Him to be “tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15) is the same “divine power” that has been granted to us to live a life of godliness (2 Peter 1:3). That power is the Holy Spirit. He lives in us to make us like Jesus.
Life in obedience and love - 1 Peter 1:22-25
Obedience without love produces regimented legalism. Love without obedience produces runaway relativism. Our society falls in the second category while perceiving most Christians as being in the first category.
We appear to be rather faithful in our adherence to the Scriptures but our attitude in that obedience may at times be rather unloving. The solution is not to compromise truth but rather to demonstrate truth in love.
Love does not demand the dismantling of boundaries set by Scripture. Boundaries are set by God out of love for us. We are to demonstrate obedience to the truth and a relationship of love simultaneously. Jesus is our model, as He is described by John as being full of Grace and Truth (love and obedience).
A holy life fits within the boundaries of Scripture. If the heart of holiness is love, the boundaries that define holiness is Scripture. The truth of God’s word is eternal.
Truth is not confined to culture, geography, or time. God’s truth crosses all cultural, geographical, and age barriers. “The Word of the Lord abides forever,” (v. 25). The truth of God becomes our litmus test for what is holy. If any behavior is declared unholy in the Scripture, then it is unholy and unloving.
A holy life is demonstrated by love that is described as “sincere” and “fervent.” Sincere love is unhypocritical love (v. 22). Love is the first fruit of the Spirit. God’s kind of love, holy and wholesome, is defined in 1 Cor. 13.
We love one another “fervently,” which “denotes “strained, stretched” (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.) God’s love in us for others will stretch us!
What do you need to change right now?
Walk: What areas of your life are outside God’s boundaries?
Run: How is loving others stretching you?
Soar: Walk in obedience to the truth while demonstrating sincere love for others.
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