In 1st and 2nd Peter, He's our Shepherd
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)
The Call to Holiness
1 Peter 1:13-15--"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. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do."
There are six very specific exhortations to Christians in the above three verses. This is very urgent advice as we find ourselves, as did the Christians of old, living in what is considered to be the "last days" (more on this later). These five exhortations are as follows:
- Prepare your minds for action.
- Be self-controlled.
- Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
- Be obedient children.
- Do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
- Be holy in all you do.
God calls us to be holy because He Himself is holy. Being holy is to be set apart, which, in and of itself, is being set apart from the world, and, at the same time, being set apart to God. How does the world know that we are set apart from them? It is expressed in our conduct as we live holy as God is holy. The most common manifestation of "right" living is the producing of the Fruit of Holy Spirit in our lives. Galatians 5:22-23--"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."
- Leviticus 11:44-45--"I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. ... I am the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy." Though at time of the writing of these words, in history, the Israelites had just been delivered from their bondage of slavery in Egypt, these words are also for us today. We were once in bonds; but, thank God our chains are gone. We were in bondage, in slavery, to sin, and without Jesus and His accomplished work, we would still be slaves to sin. Oh, praise God, that Jesus came to set us free...He brought us up out of Egypt into a new land, being new creations, being commanded to live holy lives, blameless before God who is Himself holy.
- Galatians 2:20--"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
- John 14:21--" 'Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show Myself to him.' "
1 Peter 2:9-10--"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."
As being such a chosen people and such a royal priesthood and such a holy nation as we are, we recognize Jesus Christ as our foundation, our Living Stone.
- Psalms 118:22--"The Stone the builders rejected has become the Capstone."
- Mark 12:10-11--" 'Haven't you read this Scripture: "The Stone the builders rejected has become the Capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes."?' "
- Acts 4:11--"He is 'the Stone you builders rejected, which has become the Capstone.'"
- John 5:26--" 'For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself.' "
Jesus is also...
- Living Water...John 7:38--" 'Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, steams of Living Water will flow from within him.' "
- Living Bread...John 6:51--" 'I am the Living Bread that came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this Bread, he will live forever. This Bread is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.' "
- Living Way...Hebrews 10:20--"By a new and Living Way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body."
Because Jesus is our Living Stone, we, too, like Him, are living stones as our life is in and from Jesus Christ.
- 1 Peter 2:5--"You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
How are we like living stones?
- We reflect the holiness of God.
- We offer spiritual sacrifices here on Earth.
- We intercede for others before God.
- We represent God to others.
1 Peter 4:6
Submit to Rulers and Masters
We, Christians, are strangers, also known as exiles or pilgrims or visitors, to this Earth because our real home is in Heaven; we are citizens of the Kingdom of God, first and foremost. We are, therefore, held accountable for the way in which we conduct our lives while sojourning the dusty highways and byways of Planet Earth. God's principles have become our principles.
Following God's principles is not an easy undertaking to do by one's self; one must have a right relationship with God in order to live a righteous life through Jesus Christ. Our flesh, [first and foremost], our friends and the world all urge us to turn and go in many different directions. The Christians in Peter's time faced many of the same temptations that we face today (sexual impurity, drunkenness, hatred, murder, et cetera). When they (the Christians of ages past) and we (the Christians of today) surrender to God and live by the principles that He establishes for us, we show our friends and family and the world, even our own selves, that grace and mercy are ever present through the shed blood of the Lamb of God.
The Day of the Lord
We are reminded in Second Peter to continue in our wholesome thoughts and righteous living. As we live holy, we also will face trials and tribulations, seasons of suffering and persecution, because we are in the last days. God does not want that any man, woman, or child on this Earth should perish; but, even God's patience must give way to His wrath. Those living under God's grace and mercy through Jesus, His Son, look forward to the Day of the Lord because this is the day when we see, face to face, the One who saved us when we thought we were lost forever in our sin, doomed to an eternal damnation. Until such time as our Savior returns as King of kings and Lord of lords, we must continue to living blameless before God...Micah 6:8--"... Act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with your God."
In 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, we receive from John a certainty of eternal life. And, in Jude we are warned against the dangers of apostasy (a departure from spirituality) and other points of faithlessness. We are reminded that God will judge because God is holy. Even today, we see the evidence of moral corruption such that we must be diligent in contending (Christian apologetics) for the faith. But, oh, to the glory of Father God, He will keep us from failing and falling.