REFLECTIONS FOR LIFE
Living as Exiles I
1 Peter 1:13-25
Pastor Joe Son
September 6, 2020
What are the things we need to let go of to focus on our calling as Christians?
What are some of the things that distract us from who we are and what we need to do?
How can we be more connected to the Word of God daily in our lives?
What aspects of our conduct need to be changed to be more like Jesus?
This pandemic has been on going for 9 months now. As we try to navigate through these unprecedented times it can be easy to put our Christian life on the back burner to cope with the demands and difficulties of life. As this stretches on for months and months with no clear end in sight, we begin to question our identity in this world. How can we live as Christians in our closed off societies? What are we to do? How are we to adapt?
The book of 1 Peter was written in a similar context. Peter addressed this letter to the gentile converts in Asia Minor. And the Christians who were scattered around these areas were experiencing suffering and persecution living as a minority among the Greeks and Romans at that time. Peter specifically addresses them as select exiles, as he encourages them to see their identity in Christ and continue to bare witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ even in the midst of their sufferings.
In our passage today, we see four imperative instructions about how they are to live as God’s chosen people, the elect exiles. This week we will be looking into the first two commands.
Set your hope on the grace (vs. 13)
Be Holy (vs. 15)
3. Live in reverent fear of God (vs. 17)
Love one another (vs. 22)
13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
It is interesting how Peter supports this command, “put our hope in Jesus Christ,” by talking about our minds! Why do we need to be watchful of what goes on in our minds? Why do we need to get our minds alert and ready? Because it is so easy for us to forget that we are just exiles, living here. When situations happen, when we face struggles and pain, it’s so easy for us to lose sight of our hope. Doubt and distrust about our faith creep in so easily. Instead of living our lives according to God’s purpose, we fall into the trap of just trying to make it through day by day. That is why we are reminded to look to the grace of the coming salvation we have in our Lord Jesus Christ; to be alert, and focused to do God’s will.
14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
We see two distinctions of holiness in this passage. When Peter quotes Leviticus to tell us that we are to be holy for God is holy, he refers to a holiness that is bestowed upon us by God. It is not something of own, nor something we can achieve with our efforts. It is a holiness that we receive from God, through the blood of Jesus Christ! A holiness that allows us to have a relationship with God. A holiness that gives us our new identities as his people, his children. Next we are also instructed to be holy in our conduct. Since we have been made holy before God, we must turn away from our former sinful way of life. And not only are we to turn away from sin, but we must also turn to the will of God in our everyday lives.
Dear brothers and sisters, I pray that we hold on to our identity as people of God; set apart for him and set apart to do his works. Even in these circumstances that we face, and in any other situations and circumstances we will face in the future, I pray that you understand that it doesn’t change who we are and it doesn’t change what we are to do! I pray that the Word of God would bring our focus back on what is essential and important. I pray that we would not simply wait for things to pass, get better, or get back to normal. But that we would live today, and everyday of our lives, doing what we have been called to do. I pray that we would run this race set out before us; in our everyday lives, at home, at work, in our businesses, in our communities, as we continue on our journey as elect exiles in this place.
We pray that this exercise will strengthen your relationship with the Lord as you draw near with confidence.