1 Peter 1:13 (NIV) 13 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.
On verse 13: Peter is telling believers everywhere in the Roman empire: don’t place your hope in money, pleasure, people, or anything else you have now. Instead, place your hope fully on the grace you will be given when Jesus comes again: the future grace of being united with Jesus, of knowing Him intimately, of experiencing His presence so closely and without limit, and of being home together with Him and with God’s family in heaven where there is no more death, sickness, suffering or sorrow.
By the way, given how much Peter writes about having hope in Christ in the midst of suffering and difficulty, it’s no surprise that Peter is sometimes known as the apostle of hope. Meanwhile Paul is sometimes known as the apostle of faith, since no one’s letters more clearly explain the saving faith we have in Christ than Paul, and John is sometimes known as the apostle of love, since his life and writing reflect God’s love especially. Faith, hope and love — may you be known for these three things too.
1 Peter 1:14-16 (NIV) 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
On verse 14-16: Practically speaking, what does it look like to put your hope fully on the grace to be given to you when Jesus is revealed (v13) and not on other things? It means to live a holy life, to live in a way that pleases God. Just as Jesus is holy and set apart, God calls us to live lives that are holy and set apart too.
By the way, do you know that holiness is not the killer of happiness, but the bringer of long-term peace and happiness? Holiness and happiness ultimately go hand in hand. That’s why heaven, the holiest place, is also the happiest place, whereas hell, the unholiest place, is also the place with the greatest torment and misery.
1 Peter 1:17 (NIV) 17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
On verse 17: A major theme in Peter’s letters is the idea that we are to live our lives as strangers or aliens in this world. That doesn’t mean we need to act strangely or look like aliens while we live on earth. Rather, it’s about living life to the fullest on earth while always remembering where our real home is: heaven. Since you do not have permanent residence on earth, don’t put all your hope in this world. Rather, as a citizen of heaven who is temporarily staying here on earth just for a little while, put your hope and store your treasures in heaven, where your real, final and eternal home is.
1 Peter 1:18-19 (NIV) 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
On verses 18-19: Another ongoing theme in Peter’s letters has to do with “perishable versus imperishable” (v7, v18, v23). Especially at a time when his readers have lost loved ones to persecution, Peter tells his readers not to put their hope in perishable things like silver or gold, or a perishable lifestyle that is all focused on yourself, but to focus on the imperishable (v18), to live your life for a purpose that will not perish. Here Peter reminds his readers that they have been redeemed (bought back) by something imperishable: the precious blood of Jesus (v19). Later on Peter will remind his readers that they are made (or born) of something imperishable – “the living and enduring word of God” (v23-25). Praise God that there is no expiry date on Jesus’ blood by which we are redeemed or God’s Word by which we are re-born; they are imperishable.
1 Peter 1:20-21 (NIV) 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
On verses 20-21: Whenever you read a Bible verse or passage, ask yourself, “What does this verse or passage tell me about Jesus?” Earlier we read that Jesus is “a lamb without blemish or defect” (v19). Here in verses 20-21 we learn that Jesus was chosen before the world was created (v20), revealed in these last times for our benefit (v20), is the One through whom we have faith in God (v21), is raised from the dead (v21), glorified (v21), and the reason why we have faith and hope in God (v21). There is no one like Jesus. He is all these things and so much more.
1 Peter 1:22 (NIV) 22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
On verse 22: Earlier I told you that holiness and happiness walk hand in hand. Here’s another thing about holiness: Holiness also walks hand in hand with love. The more you live in sin, the less you will understand about what true love is, the less true love you will have to give, and the more prone will be to mistaking lesser things for true love. But the more you live in God’s holiness, the more true love you will have, the more understanding you will have about what true love is, and the more able you are to love others deeply from the heart.
1 Peter 1:23-25 (NIV) 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
On verses 23-25: “Heaven and earth will pass away,” Jesus says, “but My Word will remain.” (Mark 13:31) Praise God. Through the living, enduring, imperishable word of God, we have been born again (v23). Whatever receives and retains the Word of God comes to life, so when we are touched by the Word of God and receive it with faith, we cross over from being perishable to becoming imperishable, for the Word of God makes us so.
Lord Jesus, thank You for buying me back – redeeming me – with Your precious blood. Thank You for breathing new life into me with Your Word. Thank You that there is no expiry date on your precious blood or your imperishable Word. I am alive today because of Your precious blood and Your imperishable Word. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!