Peter has been instructing the saints in Asia Minor about the genuineness of their faith, which is more precious than gold, being tested by fire to the praise and glory of Christ Jesus. He went on to say that the revelation of Jesus Christ, his gospel and salvation, was given by the Holy Spirit. The glory of heaven is seen in Christ Jesus in whom the fullness and the holiness of the Godhead are seen. ‘Therefore’ the elect of God are to be holy, as God himself is holy. In other words, we are to manifest the truth that we are made in the image of the holy God. Moses received the same admonition that Peter received: “Speak unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, ‘Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy. Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 19:2–3)
The term ‘holy’ (Gr. ‘hagios’), means to be sanctified, set apart; i.e., living as God would have us live, as his image: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Abstaining from the sin and pollution of this world, from which we were delivered through the blood, we are to “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:24). An example of this holy life is seen in Paul’s words, which teaches us that we are not to live in Christ: “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:8). We are to flee from the immorality of this world, to live as those resurrected in Christ Jesus. We are to understand that we are now God’s people, that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit who is in us, “whom we have from God.” Therefore, we are not our own. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:17–20). John Calvin [Institutes] wrote that “we are God’s: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God’s: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God’s: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our only lawful goal. (Rom. 14:8; 1 Cor. 6:19).”
Because of the death and resurrection of Christ on our behalf, for that great salvation revealed to the elect of God by the Holy Spirit, we are to, therefore, “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (your conduct): because it is written, ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy’.”
Because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, revealed to us by the Holy Spirit; because of our new birth in Christ Jesus, we are enabled to be true children of our Father in heaven. We are empowered to “gird up the loins” of our mind. As in the time of Peter, so it was at the time when I was living in North Africa: many of the people wore flowing garments. In order to move faster, or do the task at hand, they had to gather up the cloth so that it would not get in the way of their work. We are to gather together the loins of this world so that they will not impede our growth and work in the Word of our Lord. Peter “intimates that our minds are held entangled by the passing cares of the world and by vain desires, so that they rise not upward to God. Whosoever, then, really wishes to have this hope, let him learn in the first place to disentangle himself from the world, and gird up his mind that it may not turn aside to vain affections” (Calvin). We are to be spiritually sober in our walk and growth in the Lord, not inebriated with the lusts and affections of the world around us. After the death of Moses, the Lord spoke to Joshua these encouraging words, to “be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success” (Josh. 1:7–8).
Upon the promises and word of God we rest our hope, as “obedient children;” our desire is to please our Father in heaven in all things. We show appreciation and gratitude in our obedience to our Father, and to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are no longer ignorant, as the world is ignorant, knowing that our lives rest in God our Father. We desire to be like him who is our Creator and Savior, to be holy as he is holy. We want to be righteous and just in our thoughts and relationships, to know the truth revealed to us in Christ Jesus through his Word. For this is what our Father in heaven wants for us. For we belong to him.
Discussion: What does it mean to be an obedient child of God?
Peter continues to encourage God’s elect to be holy. Because of our new relationship with our Father in heaven in Christ, we are emboldened to call upon him: “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons, judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
We call upon our Father in heaven as his adopted children, as obedient children toward a Father who has manifested himself as one who loves unconditionally, with loving-kindness and tender mercies. He is not like man who judges the outward appearance, but judges the heart, knowing its faithfulness or unfaithfulness. He judges, in Christ his Son, the children whom he has chosen to be his very own. He develops within us that character which reveals his very own holy character. Calvin wrote that “from the character of the Father himself, he shews what sort of obedience ought to be rendered. He judges, he says, without looking on the person, that is, no outward mask is of any account with him, as the case is with men, but he sees the heart, (1 Sam. 16:7) and his eyes look on faithfulness (Jer. 5:3). This also is what Paul means when he says that God’s judgment is according to truth, (Rom. 2:2); for he there inveighs against hypocrites, who think that they deceive God by a vain pretense.”
God our Father judges us according to our works, according to the sincerity of our hearts. It is not that he is demanding for us to be something we cannot be, but enabling us to be holy, set apart in his righteousness, truth, and justice. Therefore we call upon our Father in heaven who alone is able to judge our hearts, receive our repentance, cleanse us from all unrighteousness, forgiving our sins, and claiming us as his obedient children. We come to our Father in heaven knowing that we have not been redeemed with the corruptible traditions and thoughts of this world, but we have been redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
We gird up the loins of our minds to be taught the righteousness of Christ as befitting those who are called children of God. We desire to be holy in our conduct, each and every day, because we have a Savior who redeemed us with his own precious blood. When John, the forerunner of Christ, was born, his father, Zacharias, a priest of God’s temple, saw, not only his son, but the coming promise of the Messiah, prophesying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David” (Luke 1:68–69). The outcome of this promise was “To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; the oath which he sware to our father Abraham, that he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life” (1:72–75). We serve the Lord our King, who, by his own blood, brought us into the most holy place, to be called children of God; “having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Heb. 10:19–20); “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Rom. 3:23–25).
Discussion: What does it mean to be redeemed by Christ our Savior?
It is by Christ our Savior that we “do believe in God, (who) raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” Christ, by his death and resurrection, claimed complete victory over sin and death for us. Christ now reigns supreme over his Church and over nations. He reigns at the right hand of God the Father, “in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:20–23). Believing in Christ, being convinced that he is both Savior and Lord, we have great assurance of hope in Christ, “who was “foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” This hope is expressed in Christ by the beloved apostle: “And this is the will of him who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40).
Discussion: What does it mean to believe in Christ as our Lord and King?
Comments are closed for this Article !