Summary: You were purchased with Christ’s blood; your life’s purpose is to glorify him in holy obedience.

Arabian horses go through rigorous training in the deserts of the Middle East. The trainers require absolute obedience from the horses, and test them to see if their training is complete.

The final test is nearly beyond the endurance of any living thing. The trainers force the horses to do without water for many days and then turn them loose and (of course) and watch them run toward the water. Just as they get to the edge, ready to plunge in and drink, the trainer blows his whistle. The horses completely trained and obedient stop, turn around, and pace back to the trainer. They stand there quivering, wanting water, but they wait in perfect obedience. When the trainer is sure that he has their obedience he gives them a signal to go back to drink.

This sounds severe, perhaps inhumane, but when you are on the trackless desert of Arabia and have entrusted your life to a horse, you had better have a well-trained, obedient horse.

[You were purchased with Christ’s blood; your life’s purpose is to glorify him in holy obedience.]


1. The Petrine letters testify to Peter’s obedience to Jesus Christ. Despite denying Jesus during his trial, Jesus exhorted Peter to encourage the others after he turned back (Lk. 22:31-32).

A. Peter did return; and in obedience to Jesus, devoted the rest of his life to strengthening believers (i.e., feeding Jesus’ sheep, cf. Jn. 21:15-17). His two letters testify to this.

B. We know little of his relationship to the recipients. But we do know that Peter wants to encourage them not to do in their time of difficulty the very thing he did in his – i.e., to turn away from Jesus when pressured against taking a stand for him; rather, they should persevere (e.g., 1 Pet. 5:12)

2. According to 1 Peter, society made it difficult for these believers. They noticed their changed lifestyle, and some don’t like what they see. Consequently, they’ve been rough on them.

A. Peter writes to encourage these persecuted believers on remaining faithful Christians in a not-so Christian world. He writes to give them God’s perspective on them, society and ultimate reality. 1 Peter is a ‘how-to’ manual of sorts and his writings are unique; the clearest of the NT epistles on this subject.

3. When entrusting the spread of the gospel of life to these young Christians, Peter wants to be sure that they are well trained and obedient to Christ. Sound familiar? TWM to 1 Peter 1, as we discover Peter’s Call to Holiness through a lifestyle of obedience to Christ.


1. Peter’s reference to God’s commandment (Be holy, because I am Holy) cites Lev. 19:2, a favorite passage for early Christian ethical teaching, although some words appear elsewhere (Lev. 11:44f; 20:7).

2. He encourages his readers not to conform to the worldly desires they had when they lived in ignorance. This makes it clear that one in relationship with God (through Christ) is enlightened, made aware of his obligation to live a holy life. Christians are without excuse when they choose to follow a pagan society instead of Christ.

3. Peter knows that the personal conflict that comes between obedience to God and social acceptance will challenge these immature believers. Therefore, he encourages them to set their hope fully on the grace they will receive when Christ is revealed (13).

A. The revelation of Christ refers to the fulfillment of his promises, for example, an inheritance (1:4) or salvation (1:5, 9). In other words, revelation brings the full experience of Christ’s favor or grace, and should therefore be prayed for and longed for.

B. Their hope emerges from the relationship they have as children of God; more specifically obedient children. This relationship enables and commands their obedience. Thus, Peter argues, the command of obedience springs from both hope and relationship.

[You were purchased with Christ’s blood; your life’s purpose is to glorify him in holy obedience.]


1. If, on one hand, Christians are children of God (1:14), they have been rightly reminded to be obedient children and to realize that true children of a holy God will also be holy. Now Peter balances his argument: if, on the other hand, they call God Father, they should remember his character and not allow familiarity to be an excuse for evil, i.e., “I can live as I wish because of my relationship with God”.

2. Peter reminds his readers that the cost of their redemption was Christ, who gave his life completely and sacrificially, making possible the believer’s justification (to be declared holy) and sanctification (set apart and made holy).

3. God, who gave his Son to die, also resurrected and glorified him (21). Therefore, the believer (rightly) places his hope and faith in God; the cost of obedience demands that Christians choose obedience to God over acceptance by society. There is nothing we can sacrifice that matches the risen Christ.

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