1 Peter was written during a time of persecution for those following Jesus. Because Peter emphasized the hope that comes from Jesus' death and resurrection in verses 3-12 in Chapter 1, 13-25 is a follow up-- a next step. Essentially, 1:3-12 is the "why," and 13-25 is the "now what." So what does Peter call the Christians in Asia to do?

These are his commands: think clearly, exercise self-control, look forward to salvation, live in reverent fear of the Lord, and love each other deeply. All of this is encapsulated in the idea of "being holy." Peter writes to encourage suffering believers in the hope of the resurrection and eternal life, and to persevere with holiness as a way to share the Good News to nonbelievers around them, just as the Good News had been spread to them beforehand.This matters to us, because we are called to act in accordance with Scripture, regardless of our circumstances. Romans 12:2 tells us, "Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Whether our circumstances are great or difficult, what we wanted or what we never asked for, we are called to "be holy in everything [we] do, just as God who chose [us] is holy" (v. 15).

As Christians, Peter reminds us that we "have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. [Our] new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God" (v.23). Our hope, faith, and trust is in God, and this means that we know God has our best interest at heart in the things He calls us to do. If He calls us to live a certain way, it is best for us to "live as [His] obedient children" (v.14), simply because He loves us and "paid a ransom to save [us] from the empty lives [we] inherited" (v.18).

Everything God is and everything God does goes back to his love for us, which is evidenced in Him sending his Son to die for us. But our hope doesn't end there, because Jesus didn't end there. He rose and defeated the grave, and because the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11), we can look forward to eternal life, too. "And that word is the Good News that was preached to you" (v.25). Being holy in everything we do is easier said than done (obviously). God doesn't tell us to do this and then get frustrated with us when we struggle or mess up. He sent Jesus to cleanse us from our sins exactly because He knew we would struggle with holy living. So the first thing to remember is that there is grace--grace that God extends to you and that He asks you to give yourself. Holy living is impossible without God, so ask the Holy Spirit to help you.

Ask Him to renew your mind and change the way you think, because action often follows thought. If we believe truth, it will be so much easier to live out of that place. And finally, ask Him to put you in situations where you will have the opportunity to grow in the Fruit of the Spirit, and to give you the discipline to make the holy choice when it comes down to it. Our lives are testimonies of Jesus to the people around us who don't know God, making our actions deeply important. That's not pressure, just opportunity.

My prayer for you this week after Thanksgiving is that you will practice gratefulness for what God has done for you. That this gratefulness will fill you with hope, and that you will be encouraged in your walk with the Lord, as you make steps to be transformed into Christ's likeness, holy and blameless.

 

Author | Erin Gilleland