SERMON: Proper Character and Conduct as Exiles 1 Peter 1:13-21

Proper Character and Conduct as Exiles

1 Peter 1:13-21

Truth Taught – God has redeemed us so we can live a life for His honor and glory.

Introduction

Today, we are going to see God’s plan to help us to be more consistently obedient to Him.  God will show us that we must prepare for obedience, have the right example to follow, realize that He is not only our Father but also our Judge, and that there was an extremely high cost to redeem us—too high for us to continue living our old life.

Prayer

1 Peter 1:13–21 (ESV)

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. 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.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conductyourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile waysinherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

  1. Preparing for Obedience

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.

Last time we covered this verse in detail.  The message is on the website.  I don’t need to re-preach last week’s message.  I do need to show how it fits into the overall theme Peter presents in our verses today.

We are to gird up the loins of our minds being ready to obey God’s commands.  We looked at the language that came from the Exodus account of the Passover when the Hebrews were told to eat the meal in haste, literally, with their loins girded being ready to move forward to the Promised Land. So, girding up the loins of our mind means that we must do what is necessary to be ready mentally to move forward in obedience.

What was it that we said would prepare our minds for forward action into obedience?  Bible/truth intake.  Our minds are saturated with untruth and not ready to obey.  We must purposely take in truth, renew our minds so that we are ready to act.

Ephesians 6:14 (ESV)

14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,

What are some motivating truths we have in God’s Word?  So far Peter has told us two interrelated truths that motivate obedience.  First, he writes that our salvation is ready to be revealed.  There is nothing that must happen before this.

1 Peter 1:5 (ESV)

who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Secondly,

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.

Here’s his logic . . .

We must be obedient because time is drawing near for our salvation to be made fully manifest at the coming of Jesus Christ.  When Christ returns, we want Him to find us obeying God’s commands.  The time for our work is now because once Christ returns, we enter fully in to His rest.  Be diligent now because Jesus is coming again.

  1. Looking to the Perfect One to Obey

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.”

God tells us through the Apostle Peter that we are to be holy.  Holiness is conforming to God’s character.  Holiness also is a two-way movement in a sense.  When we are becoming holy, we are moving away from our former character and moving toward God’s character.  That’s why Peter tells us to not be conformed to our former passions but be conformed to God’s character.  The Christian, therefore, must conform his thinking and behavior to God’s character.

Peter then quotes from the OT, Leviticus 19:2 to be exact.  He does a few things here when he makes this connection.

He shows us the reason we should seek to conform our character and life to God’s.

Leviticus 19:1–2 (ESV)

19 And the Lordspoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lordyour God am holy.

Rather than seeking to conform to the world, we as Christians are to seek conformity to God’s character.  He is holy and commands His people to also be holy.  We are to deny the sinful desires that formerly controlled our behavior to now seek God’s ways and pattern our lives after them.  This is not simply doing deeds but a character and life transformation. We must seek to copy God’s character and His ways.  If we cultivate a godlike character, then everyday decisions will also be godlike.

In quoting from Leviticus, Peter is applying his own teaching to the lives of Christians.  The OT prophet served us as well . . .

1 Peter 1:10–12 (ESV)

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

He’s basically showing us that Moses longed to look into this great salvation we have in Christ. Moses knew that his writings were not just for his generation but for all future generations including ours. Moses was serving us as much as those in his day.

Also, by quoting this OT passage and applying it to the authoritative reason we today should seek holiness, he’s showing us that the truths found in the OT are authoritative for Christians.  He makes no distinction between Jew and Gentile here but has in mind all who have been called by God through Jesus Christ.  Holiness is God’s desire for His people regardless of when they lived and regardless of their ethnicity.

Another thing we must notice and it’s exactly what we’ve been learning in Disciple Hour is that God’s OT truth is still effective for Christians, but God’s OT rituals are not.

In Leviticus Chapter 19 we have various OT regulations and rituals.  Many have called this the Holiness Code found throughout the Book of Leviticus.  God prescribed things like clean and unclean food, purification, how to handle mildew, bodily discharges, etc.  Peter doesn’t say that we are made holy if we follow those things.  What does he talk about?  We are to be holy but it’s by conforming ourselves to God’s character. There is continuity between the OT and the NT in truth but not in the Levitical Code.

Now in Leviticus 19:3 we see something that Peter doesn’t quote but was probably in his mind as he wrote.

Leviticus 19:3a (ESV)

Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father.

In the OT Hebrew culture sons and daughters were to respect and listen to their mother’s and father’s teaching and obey it.

Notice what Peter calls all Christians in verse 14 . . .

14 As obedient children.  We are to obey God as our Father as good children obey their earthly Father.  As Christians we have a vital relationship with God and His Fatherhood characterizes it.

1 Peter 1:3 (ESV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

This leads us into our next two points where we’ll see the proper motivation for obedience.  We’ve seen that we must prepare for obedience and look to the Perfect One to obey now let’s look to godly motivation for obedience . . .

  1. Godly Motivations for Consistent Obedience
  2. Godly Fear Motivates Us to Obey

17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conductyourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,

The main thought here is, live out the time of your exile in reverent fear of God because the God you call Father is also an impartial Judge of everyone’s works which also includes ours as well.

The condition of fact, namely, if you call on him as Father, then you are required to seek godly obedience. We call God Father because we have been born again, and if we’ve been born again, and if we call God Father because of our new birth, then we must be diligent in our obedience.

As one theologian said, The fear of God must be like this in order to secure consistent obedience: We must love Him as Father and dread Him as Judge.

The special privilege of calling God Father does not excuse the believer from also being judged by God.  Because we are born again, we must share in the godly life of our Father because our Father is also our Judge.

We must live godly lives because we too are going to be judged by God.  The sinful life that God hates is no less hated when it’s lived by a Christian than a pagan.  God is our Judge as much as He is the Judge of the rest of the world.  Therefore, let this threat of judgment motivate us to live a life God desires.

I’m sure many are wondering how it is a Christian will be judged?

2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV)

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Will Christians be condemned in that judgment to come?  Here, we have an opportunity to employ the vital principle of Bible interpretation, that a difficult verse is interpreted according to others that bear on the subject. For instance, in this case we turn to Romans 8:1, which says, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” On the basis of that one verse alone – and of course there are myriad others like it – we can conclude that while believers will be judged after death we will not be condemned and consigned to hell. As Jesus tells us in John 6:40, “Everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” That is a clear statement of justification at the end for all who look to Christ in faith. [1]

The next question is this: “If salvation is by grace alone, apart from works, then how can believers be rewarded in heaven for our works?” First, we have to observe that the New Testament definitely states that we will be rewarded for our good works. When we say that men and women are unable to please God by their works, we are talking about unregenerate sinners trying to be justified by works. That cannot be done. But it does not follow that regenerate Christians cannot please God, cannot do genuinely good works by means of an active faith in Christ. While the unsaved man cannot please God, the saved man can, by faith in Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit, although our works in this life are never perfect. Right after assuring us that salvation is not by works in Eph. 2, Paul says this, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (v. 10).

So, we will be rewarded for our good works and judged for our lack of good works and for our evil and sinful works.  This is motivation to obey God.  Love Him as our Father and fear Him as our Judge.

  1. The High Cost of Redemption Motivates Us to Obey

18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile waysinherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Notice here, what Peter tells us what we’ve been redeemed from . . . Peter, clearly tells us that part of what we’ve been redeemed from is the futile ways of our former life. These sinful ways or futile values and traditions and ways of thinking must be changed if we are to live as God’s people.  This life was a life controlled by our sinful lusts and passions.

What was this life like that Christ redeemed us from?  It’s a life dominated by sin and controlled by our sinful desires.  We were slaves to sin.  One theologian says it this way: The flesh controls the imagination of the unredeemed.

James 1:13–15 (ESV)

13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

We have been rescued from this futile life of sin domination to a new life where we are not slaves to sin but slaves to Christ.

Now look at what it cost to accomplish this great redemption, and this great cost is further motivation for obedience . . .

not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

The payment is in focus here.  The act of our redemption could not be accomplished with using normal currency such as silver and gold.  Our eternal redemption costs too much for that.  It had to be the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Only He had adequate means to redeem us because only Christ was the sinless Sacrifice God demanded for
payment of our sin debt.  Beloved, to continue to live in our futile former ways is to implicitly deny the value of Christ’s death.

Hebrews 9:13–15 (ESV)

13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. When Peter speaks of the blood of Christ, he means the infinite value of Jesus’ atoning death.
Application:

We know that God desires His people to share His character.  We can do that as we obey His commands, commands that He already does Himself. So, in order to be better motivated to be like God in our lives, Peter has given us a strategy to ready our minds for action as we look to the perfect example of God, Himself.  Then he has shown us that motivation comes from considering that God is our Judge and so we must fear Him, and secondly, we should consider the high cost of or redemption.

I pray these truths will motivate you to live even more in obedience to God.

 

 

 

*Resources Used:

Teaching 1 Peter by Angus MaCleay

1 Peter by Karen Jobes

1 Peter by David Helm

1 Peter by John MacArthur

1 Peter by Peter Davids

1 Peter by Wayne Grudem

1 Peter by Edmond Clowney

 

[1]https://www.tenth.org/resource-library/articles/will-christians-be-judged

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