Summary: Foreigners in a Foreign Land Hope and Holiness
Foreigners in a Foreign Land
Hope and Holiness
We are in the midst of a first of three mini series in 1 Peter. The first, “Foreigners in a Foreign Land” (1:1-2:10) we are looking at what Peter says about our identity, our salvation, suffering, and holy living. When we finish this first series in at the end of July, we will begin a series called “Living on Mission in a Foreign Land” (2:11-4:11) and then finish with, “The Church in a Foreign Land” (4.12-5.14). Today we Look at Hope and Holiness.
Big idea – Hope in future grace gives us grace in the present to live a holy life.
In the first twelve verses, Peter has described what God has done in our lives through his sovereign grace - we are elect/chosen by God according to God's foreknowledge; in the sanctification of the Spirit; for obedience to Christ; in his great mercy he has caused us to be born again to a living hope, to an inheritance that is permanent, untainted and uncorrupted; then tells us we are presently being guarded by God's power through faith. All of this is the work of God's grace. It is only after he tells us what God has done for us does he tell us what to do or how to respond in response to Gods work.
Hope Fully in Future Grace (vs. 13)
Hope is a central theme in Peter (1:3; 13; 21; 3:15). This living hope encourages us and sustains us to keep trusting God in the midst of suffering. Hope is almost synonymous with faith but hope is faith directed toward a future object, the return of Christ. Hope is a sure confidence in God that he will deliver us and usher us into the age to come, based upon our confidence of what God has done in the past. Peter says to set our hope fully on the grace that is coming to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Grace is Christ himself, his empowering presence in our lives. This grace will be the fullness of our salvation and complete deliverance from this present evil age. It will be grace that “we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 Jn 3:2) We will be ushered into the presence of Christ where we will experience grace in all its fullness for all eternity (Eph 2:7). Peter focuses on salvation as future deliverance from this present age, including all the effects of evil, including suffering. This living hope is meant to encourage those who are discouraged by their suffering. What are you hoping in? What are you hoping will give you joy, happiness, relief today? Is it a sunny day? A day off? Something on the computer? Some other form of entertainment? Romance? This grace is presenting coming to you; God is bringing it toward us.
How do we set our hope on the grace to come? 'Prepare your minds for action by being sober minded.” Let's look at the first phrase, prepare your minds for action, literally 'gird your hips.' The ordinary person in Israel wore long robes with a mantle like a poncho. For work or other strenuous activity they would lift up the robe and tuck it into their belt so it was not in the way or a hinderance to them. So gird your hips means to prepare for active work. Today we would say roll up your shirt sleeves. Luke uses similar imagery in 12:35-45. We are such a short sighted people. We prepare our minds by 'being sober minded.' Be serious minded, pay attention, get focused, sober up, etc. Life has a million ways to distract us and trivialize our lives – TV, internet, toys, romance novels, etc. Things that numb us to the seriousness of life.
God and his word is the only thing that can sober us up. We are people drowning in entertainment when eternity is in the balance for many around us who have no hope. Hope is the foundation for sustaining grace in suffering and holiness. “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word. (2Th 2:16 ESV)
Hope for Present Holiness (vs. 14-16)
We are described as obedient children – that is our identity. He is not talking about perfection but the pattern of our lives, obedience to the truth. Then he goes on to say, 'not being conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,' referring to your life before Christ. The christian life is a fight of faith; fighting against unbelief. Becoming a Christian does not automatically mean there is no more struggle with sin. We still struggle with passions and desires that compete for our attention and affections. Desires for money, fun, entertainment, or more base desires like sex, greed, anger, or selfishness, etc. Our hearts are like a desire factory, perpetually pumping out desires. Outside of Christ every desire of the human heart is sinful because we have a sinful nature and all our thoughts, desires, and actions are consistent with that nature. Outside of Christ, we live in unbelief and rebellion against God. But in Christ we are given a new heart, with new desires and appetites that dominate our lives but we still struggle with those old patterns, desires, and appetites. Do not give into to being conformed (active verb) to those passions or as Paul says similarly, 'do not be conformed to this age.' (Rom 12:1) We must fight against our former passions, living by trusting him in every waking moment of life, whether you are working, eating, reading, parenting, or listening to me right now! Look at Romans 14:23, “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” Which is the only way you and I can live holy lives as obedient children. Holy means to be set apart from sin and for God's purposes. It is becoming like him, hating what he hates and desiring and loving the the things he desires and loves. It cannot be done alone.
Take aways . . .
Following Jesus requires a serious minded focus
Reject your old life and imitate Christ