May 3, 2020

Peter's Letter-"Be Holy because I am Holy"

Scripture Reading: I Peter 1:13-21

Peter the fisherman has gone through a remarkable change since his days of making a living on the Sea of Galilee. Since the time when Jesus called him to be a disciple, Peter has transformed into an apostle of the Lord. As an apostle he now stands in line with the Old Testament prophets whom he would have heard about since his childhood, and he now proclaims the Word of the Lord to the Church of Jesus Christ of all times and in all places.

Our reading begins in I Peter 1:13 saying,

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action: be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

The word “therefore” indicates that what is to follow is based on what has just been said. After the initial greeting and salutation in verses 1-2, the next section in verses 3-12 declares the gospel of Jesus Christ. As people born again in Christ we must live for Christ. This world is not simply the waiting room of heaven. No, in this world our lives need to be transformed by what we now know is true. Born again people do not live in the old way of life. Christian will be known not just by what we say, but how we live.

Question:

How does your daily life and actions show that you belong to Christ?

Peter says in verse 16, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” To be holy literally means to be “separate”. In our reading it is to be like God.

Questions:

Who gave God’s law to the people of Israel in the Old Testament?
Can you name some (or all) of the commandments? (see Exodus 20 if you want to cheat!)
Do we obey the law in order to earn God’s favour? Why do we obey God?

Take a look at Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 33. How are we to be holy?
Q & A 88
Q. What is involved in genuine repentance or conversion?
A. Two things: the dying-away of the old self, and the rising-to-life of the new.

Q & A 89 
Q. What is the dying-away of the old self? 
A. To be genuinely sorry for sin and more and more to hate and run away from it.

Q & A 90
Q. What is the rising-to-life of the new self?
A. Wholehearted joy in God through Christ and a love and delight to live according to the will of God by doing every kind of good work.

Q & A 91
Q. What are good works?
A. Only those which are done out of true faith,conform to God’s law, and are done for God’s glory; and not those based on our own opinion or human tradition.

The Conclusion: We were chosen by God to be holy in his sight!

In I Peter 1:18-19 we are given a further reason – a more basic reason – for living holy lives before the Lord. Peter says we were not redeemed from the empty promises of the world, through “silver and gold” “but with the previous blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” Our redemption comes with blood on it. There is no “cheap grace”. Redemption is costly to God and we cheapen his love for us when we are unholy.

We can’t buy or earn our way into God’s grace. People dead in their sins and transgressions cannot make themselves alive again. Instead we receive redemption by grace which finds its origin in the eternal love of God for his people. All this happens through Christ. “Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, so that your faith and hope are in God.” Amen.