Summary: An exposition of 1 Peter 1:13-16
September 12, 2004
First Church of the Brethren
H. Kevin Derr
1 Peter 1:1:13-16
13Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
One of the most striking elements of 1st Peter center around an understanding that has become central for the churches that emerge from the reformation and subsequent years. The idea is the that the church is the “Priesthood of all believers.” It is a foundational idea that all people are given a priestly role, to live lives that are holy, sacrificial, set apart for God’s use in the world. Clearly separate from the world, and yet a part of the communities where they live. You will see that the most clearly in 1 Peter 2:9 “9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”. You will also see this same understanding highlighted in our text for today. The heart of this is centered in an understanding that all people in the church are given a sacred calling of functioning in a priestly manner. Each of us like the Levites of Israel before us are to serve the people in the name of the living God.
This is a hard reality for us in the church, it runs counter to our self-centered focus, that should be turned toward Christ Jesus and then to our neighbor. While this may sound like a strange idea, it is rooted in one of the most profound statements of what it means to be a child of God, and you know this idea well, it is just the application that we struggle with. The idea is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength, mind and soul and to love your neighbor as yourself.
The application is directly rooted in the understanding of God and his people an their relationship to the rest of the world. The focus is on serving in a priestly manner for the rest of humanity, to fill that Levitical role and be a blessing for all the world. With some investigation you will find this idea expressed in terms of being salt and light in the world. A dish does not need to be entirely salt to be salted to taste. Nor does the room need to be nothing but lights for a whole room to be filled with light. We are called to be priests, salt, light, a blessing to the world, not for ourselves. And this is where we often miss the mark, we think we are to be priests for the Christian community, but the whole of the Christian community is to be priests for the world.
I. Because of the diligent and careful investigation of the prophets, there is action that we too are to engage in. Peter writes, 13Therefore, prepare your minds for action;
A. As you know, whenever you see a therefore, it is always saying that because of what
comes before, you must now do this. It doesn’t matter if you are looking here in 1
Peter or in Paul’s letters, it holds true.
1. The NIV in this case is a translators attempt to make the imagery modern and
2. The KJV reads, “wherefore gird up the loins of your minds” which is a little
more congruent with the Greek text. Without the girding up imagery, we miss
the explicate reference to Luke 12:35 which in the KJV reads, 35Let your loins
be girded about, and your lights burning;
3. Our minds are to be ready for action, prepared: The example is from the
ancient world, when you were ready for action, to run, work, fight, you would
have your robe tied about your waist, so that you would not be encumbered by
it. Envision if you will the Roman soldier who had noting to tangle his legs,
they were free to move and be quick. These are the kind of images that Jesus
and now Peter are drawing on.
A. This image is rooted in the most important religious even in the life of
the Jewish people, the Passover, in Exodus 12:11 we find these words,
again from the KJV 11And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded,
your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat
it in haste: it is the LORD’S Passover.