Introduction: “If believers are saved and have eternal security—now what?” As we shall see, there is the outworking (development/outcome) of the salvation that believers received as a gift from God (cf. vv. 13-21).
But before we go to our main text (vv. 13-21), let see vv. 10-12.
SUBPOINT 1: Complete salvation more fully revealed to us (vv. 10-12)
TEXT: 1 Peter 1:10-12 – A brief commentary or further note about this salvation (cf. vv. 3-9)
- “about the grace that was to be yours” — That gift of salvation and future glory
- “when he predicted” (the Spirit of Christ) “the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.” — The salvation and glory of the believers are linked to the suffering and glorification of Christ. Believers suffer as Christ suffered, but believers also have hope because Christ was glorified.
- “serving not themselves but you” — Ultimately for the greater benefit of NT believers
- “in things things that have now been announced to you” — What things? The work of Christ, his death and resurrection, and promise of resurrection
- “through those who preached the good news” — i.e., the apostles
The gospel is more fully revealed in the New Testament
- Yes, salvation was already prophesied in the Old Testament (e.g., Isaiah 53 – The Messiah [Servant] atoning for his people).
- Unity of Scriptures: Christ-centered. All pointing to Christ. Same “Spirit of Christ” (the Holy Spirit) revealing in OT and NT
- But, there’s still the diversity: *Not only in themes, genre, contexts, but especially in development. God’s progressive developmen of revelation. Though God already revealed the promise of the Messiah and they are saved through faith, the promises are still obscured as types and shadows.
- God’s plan of salvation was more fully revealed to the NT believers.
Similar Passage: Read Luke 10:23-24
God’s revelation since the Old Testament is for their benefit. And the point is, the NT believers are greatly privileged to witness the gospel in its fullness.
- APPLY: Likewise, we believers today are greatly privileged to receive God’s fuller revelation of his redemptive plan. Unlike Abraham, Moses, or David.
- Not just the fuller revelation of the gospel but also the application of Christ’s work through the Spirit indwelling us.
- ILLUSTRATION: Inventors of vehicles before knew well how it will make things efficient, convenient, and comfortable. And they were right. But compare that with us today who do not only share with what they believed, but we get a fuller experience of it.
- Likewise, we believers have a fuller experience of Christ and his benefits. And while we still await the consummation of all things, as the HC LD 22, Q. 58 says, we already “experience in our hearts the beginning of eternal joy.”
SUBPOINT 1 SUMMARY: Complete salvation more fully revealed to us. And for that, we ought to be thankful.
[TRANSITION:] Now, Peter moves on to the application of everything he just said. And this will the main focus of our sermon, that is—that we are called and saved to be holy (2nd sermon point).
SUBPOINT 2: We are Called and Saved to be Holy (vv. 13-16)
TEXT (vv. 13-15): “Therefore” – As a result. Given all that was said beforehand (living hope, eternal security, future glory)—this is how you should live now… (Read 13-15)
The Calling & Life of the Christian (Panawagan at buhay ng isang Kristiyano)
[Peter begins with the mind, mode & way of thinking]
- “Preparing your minds for action” (“Gird up the loins [balakang] of your mind”)
- Illustrate: Belt of soldiers or travelers
- Illustrate: Tuck-in during TUP days
- Removing distractions and being fit to do what needs to be done
- “Sober-minded” – free from mental and spiritual ‘drunkenness’, confusion, self-controlled
- Both speaks of the mind and the mode of thinking. And one thing that Peter is saying to the believers here is that their minds (way of thinking) must be sanctified and disciplined, focused on the future glory when Christ returns.
- Related Passage: Read Colossians 3:1-2
[Going back to the text]
- But moreover, in this whole exhortation on how believers should live, Peter adds that this is not just a matter of our minds/thinking (Read vv. 14-15)
- “Do not be shaped/fashioned by the sinful desires from your past.” (Implying that there should now be new desires) — “Passions” (Heart)
- “You behavior and way of conduct should now be patterned after new and holy desires.” — “Conduct” (Will)
- True and faithful Christian living involves the whole person.
- EXPLAIN: Human Faculties
- Mind – Thoughts, knowledge
- Heart – Affections, emotions
- Will – Actions, words, tendencies
- Whatever the mind constantly thinks about or what we keep on feeding our minds (through the senses), the heart desires and long for, until the will carries it out in word or action.
- Hence, Christian living involves not only renewing the mind, but also keeping the hearts and the will holy and in obedience to God.
IMPLY: Now, taken as a whole, Peter’s exhortation to the believers here is a call to active holiness. Though their salvation is already secured, it is not a license for passivity, carnal self-assurance or antinomianism.
Peter is saying here that: The Christian life—as a result of salvation and in light of our future salvation—is a life of holiness.
- CLARIFY: Our conversion and justification (plus the security of future glorification) always lead to sanctification (growing in holiness).
- RELATED PASSAGE: 1 John 3:2-3.
- ILLUSTRATE: Preparing for a perfect vacation involves cutting unnecessary expenses, doing overtime work, etc.
- If we truly understand the blessed hope that one day, we will be perfect and enjoy perfect fellowship with God—we will purify ourselves, we will mortify our sins, we will live in holiness in preparation for Christ’s return.
- DEFINE: “Holy” – Set apart, God being holy means he is separate, not like any other creature, hence pure as well. Simply put, holiness means being “set apart,” “dedicated” to God. Hence, pure and unmixed with ungodliness and sin.
And the character of holiness is… (vv. 14-15)
- “Not conforming to sinful passions/desires.” — Internal
- “Be holy in all your conduct.” — External
- APPLY: So living as a Christian is not simply a change of behavior or good moral conduct (i.e., magandang asal). We must renew our minds with God’s Word, we read and meditate, we fill our minds with the truth of God and forsake sinful thoughts.
- Our minds (what we feed our minds) matter in our holiness.
- Example: How can we expect to follow and love the commands of God if we’re not studying and meditating on it?
- Example: How can we expect to overcome lust if we keep looking and feeding our minds with lustful things?
- And this shows that we use our minds not simply for intellectual knowledge. Ang buhay Krsitiyano ay hindi lang ‘to patulisan ng isip o padamihan ng alam. Example: Perhaps, most of us expect that coming to a Reformed church means study, study, study.
- Yes, we study—but for holiness, that we will more and more mortify our sins and live more in righteousness. So when we read and study God’s Word, we always ask, “How should this purify my desires? How do I apply this?”
- It should always lead to holy desires and conduct so that we obey God in all our conduct.
- We don’t mortify just a particular sin or form of sin—we hate all sin and all forms of rebellion against God
- We seek to follow not just one command in one area of our life—we seek to glorify God in all of life.
- Holiness comes from within. But it’s not just within, it also manifests outside in all our conduct and behavior in life.
If we look at the whole passage until verses 22-25, Peter exhorts the believers to live in holiness and love. We focus only on holiness today, but friends, this is true Christianity. Holiness is the fruit of true saving faith.
“The genuineness of the work of God must be estimated (determined) not by the extent of Scriptural knowledge but by its influence [in one’s life]; not by a fluency of gifts, but by the exercise [of these gifts] in connection with holiness and love.” ~ Charles Bridges
Subpoint 2 Summary: The point is this—as Christians living as exiles in this world, in light of the salvation we received from God and the future glory ahead of us, we should live in holiness—in all our thoughts, desires, and conduct.
[TRANSITION]: Now moving forward, in this whole exhortation for believers to live in holiness, the apostle also includes the reasons for it.
SUBPOINT 3: The Reason (Motives) for our Holy Living as Exiles (vv. 15 onwards)
- vv. 15: “As he who called you…” – God called the believers to himself
- Leviticus 11:44-45 (cf. 1 Peter 1:16)
- Not a baseless command, “Just be holy. Just do this. Just obey.”
- “You shall be holy…” It is indicative, a fact. But this fact comes with a command. And in 1 Peter 1:15, “be holy” is imperative.
- God is saying, “I have redeemed you out of all people to be my people. You’ve been set apart for me. You are made holy. Therefore, live as such.” And as children reflect the character of their parents, so God’s people should reflect the holy character of their God.
- And as Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 4:7 — “God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.”
- Hence, we believers live holy lives because we belong to the holy God.
Further reason and motive for holiness…
- vv. 17: “And if you call on him as Father…” (Indicating adoption), if you are his children…
- “Fear of God” — Not fear of terror or wrath. No more condemnation for believers (cf. Rom. 8:1)… But reverence and awe of God. It is the proper regard of who God is (holy) in contrast to who we are (sinners).
- Illustrate: If you will face your parents, teachers, or boss—even if it’s not for punishment—you still approach the person with honor (pag-galang).
- Though believers who are justified by Christ will not be punished in hell, we will still stand before God—who will judge us and graciously reward us according to our deeds.
- Hence, we believers live in holiness because our God and Father is the sovereign Judge over all.
Further reason and motive for holiness…
- Vv. 18-19. Live in reverence to God… “knowing that you were ransomed…”
- “Ransomed” — Applicable to slaves “bought” (ransomed) for a price. You were ransomed from the “futile and sinful ways” where you belong from the very start. Our sinfulness is passed on from generation to generation, and nothing can break that except the saving work of Christ. (cf. Rom. 5, in Adam, all of us are dead in sin, but in Christ we are justified and given life).
- Contrast “perishable things” and “the blood of Christ” — Imperishable, precious, perfect. Such is the value of Christ’s blood that it redeems the sinner out of the curse of sin. His sacrifice is so precious because he is innocent, because is the very lamb of God, in fact he is the eternal Son of God.
- And Peter is saying, “If it took such a great price for you to saved—fear God, honor him, forsake sin and live in holiness.”
- ILLUSTRATION: Receiving a gift from a parent gives you greater reason and motive to honor the person
- Hence, we believers live in holiness as a grateful response to Christ’s death on our behalf.
Subpoint 3 Summary: At the end of it: If we are called by God, if we understand and receive Christ’s work and sacrifice for our sins—we can and shall live in gratitude and holiness.
Implication and Application
[Exhortation to unbelievers and false professors]
Question: Are you living a holy life? Is your mind still fixed on earthly things, earthly passions, earthly cares? Then you must be an unbeliever.
Or maybe you think you are a Christian, and you know, but there’s no godliness in your desires and will. You regret sin in your conscience, but there’s no real longing for deliverance… Or maybe you’ve been in the church already, but instead of living and growing in holiness—you still enjoy the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. Then you’ve never been a Christian at all.
Today, you’ve heard the truth that God is the God who judges all without partiality. As a sinner, you can never excuse yourself from the wrath of God.
He is the holy God. He’s not man that you can bargain with him. He is righteous and just, and he will never let sinners go unpunished.
This holy God is the same God who calls sinners upon himself. This God who has absolute holiness, absolute power, absolute rule and reign above all creatures—is the same God who calls sinners and rebels such as you and me.
How did he do it? By sending his own Son, his only Son on earth.
Jesus Christ himself said in Matthew 9:13, that he came to “call the sinners.” In Luke 19:10, he came to “seek and save the lost.”
And Christ, the eternal Son of God, the innocent and righteous one, died a death that he never deserved for our sake. Why would the Father give his Son for us sinner? Why would Christ die for us when we are never worth even a single drop of his blood?
Because this holy God is also a merciful God. And he loves you so much that Christ was willing to die for you.
God loves you not so you can still live in your sins and rebellion to him. He loves you so much that he died to pay for your sins, to forgive you, to cleanse you, and to free from the power of sin. He died so you can live in holiness and have eternal life.
And God wants you and commands you to repent and believe in Jesus Christ.
[Exhortation to believers]
And for all who repent and believe him—for all true believers—we are reminded over and over again not only of our duty of holiness but more so the gospel.
Read 1 Peter 1:20-21.
The gospel of Christ is our basis and our hope in holiness.
As Christians, we will still struggle with some sins in our life. But no true Christian can say, “Lord, I just can’t help it! I can’t do it. Hindi ko na mao-overcome ‘tong kasalanan na ‘to. Ito na ako, simula pa nung bata.”
Kung ang Diyos ang Siyang tumawag sa atin, kung si Cristo ang Siyang nabuhay nang matuwid at nagbuhos ng perpektong dugo para satin, at kung ang Banal na Espiritu ang Siyang nananahan satin at nagpapahayag ng katotohanan satin—we believers can and shall be holy.
We have the hope that God doesn’t simply give us the motivation to live holy lives, but he gives us the ability to do it. And for that exact reason, let us renew and discipline and control our thoughts, our desires, and our will to mortify sin and live in gratitude and righteousness for the glory of God.
Reuel Dawal is the Minister of the Word and Sacraments at ZCRC. He was an intern prior to being ordained and installed as the church's new pastor. He is currently finishing his Biblical and Theological Studies at the Miami International Seminary (MINTS) online. He and his wife Yeng are married since 2017 and lives in Imus, Cavite.