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The Hope & Holiness Connection

1 Peter: A Living Hope for Holy Living in a Hostile World  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  45:51
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The Hope & Holiness Connection - 1 Peter 1:13-16

Introduction -
A Tale of Two Mentors
When I was in Junior High School, I looked up to two teacher-coaches, seeing in them qualities I wanted to emulate and seeking from them to learn content and skill. One saw potential in me and really did nothing about it. The other saw potential and a desire to learn and grow; so, he invested himself to see me succeed. I only knew that man for one year, but I will not soon forget that I respected him and wanted to be like him because he proved his love for me and demonstrated his faithfulness worthy of respect. And all the more because that was true, I worked diligently to try please him and prove that what he saw in me was not misguided.
Longing to Be Like Him
God didn’t see any “potential” in me, but he did see one of his chosen children. He set his affection on me according to his own goodness and for his own glory, and graciously drew me to himself and gave me saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Through that lens I’d like you to read with me 1 Peter 1:13-16 for close study today:
1 Peter 1:13–16 ESV
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Peter transitions from indicative to imperative… from explaining what we have been given, to how we must act upon it. God chose us, he has caused us to be born again (giving us a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ), he has promised us an inheritance. This is a salvation in which we greatly rejoice, even in the midst of trials, because the fruit of those trials is a more pure faith and greater confirmation, greater certainty of the genuineness of our faith proven under trial. Therefore… (but with all that God has done and is doing… and that he guarantees, it doesn’t mean that he expects nothing from you: He expects you to model your character after his own, to live your life as Christ lived his—this is the pursuit of holiness. But Peter knows that in this life, even with the indwelling Spirit, that battling our own flesh and the world system (in the hands of Satan) is no walk in the park. We’re going to need to have our minds fully engaged, focused, on high alert.
So those are the two main verbs in the text (have hope and be holy), with the others being supporting participles, so we’ll organize our discussion this morning according to Peter’s priorities in the text.
His first focus is setting our hope fully on the end goal of grace with minds that are alert and sober. (see v. 13 again…)

Have Hope

— to be confidently and reasonably expectant of a future event —> Our HOPE is alive because CHRIST is alive!
In what?
The consummated grace to be brought to you when Christ returns (literally, that is being carried to you - “The object of hope is already on the way.” Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 1 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 636.)
Illust: Like waiting for that Amazon package in the mail. You know it’s coming. Or like the way you live your life in the months and weeks leading up to your wedding.
To what degree?
Fully/completely/perfectly: wholly adv. — to a complete degree or to the full or entire extent.
Surely this must mean without dilution or distraction. - We can even be distracted by other good things in lose focus on our primary objective (and so too our passion becomes diluted):
Illust: Are you not like me?… that you can lose focus on the main thing by even other good objectives. That if you try to do too many things at once, you actually do none of them well? - Have you ever noticed that some tasks require such attention that you cannot even carry on a conversation at the same time without that loss of focus becoming potentially hazardous? (losing your way when driving; risking cutting off fingers doing woodwork)
1 Peter: An Introduction and Commentary 1. Desire the Beauty of Being like a Holy God (1:13–16)

We today might well consider the dangers presented by such inherently ‘good’ things as career, possessions, recreation, reputation, friendships, scholarship, or authority.

This cannot be. We must keep our eyes fixed on grace. - Remember this context for our obedience:
The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (1) Setting One’s Hope on the Inheritance (1:13–16)

Believers are to obey because they are God’s chosen pilgrims, because they have been begotten by the Father, because they have an untouchable inheritance, and because of the greatness of their salvation.

The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (1) Setting One’s Hope on the Inheritance (1:13–16)

God’s commands are always rooted in his grace. Another way of putting this is to say that the indicative (what God has done for us in Christ) is always the basis of the imperative (how we should live our lives).

So... all other objectives in our lives must converge and become obedient to this primary mission: To be like Jesus and to advance the gospel. To know and grow in God and to call others to do the same.
But how do we work on maintaining that kind of focus… well, Peter actually led into this hope with that explanation:
By preparing your minds for action - spiritual alertness
… and by being sober. [two images that Peter knew people could relate to...]
Now, we’re not super accustomed to girding up our loins, so let’s explain what that means and then try to express it another way in our own time and culture.
So girding up their loins for action would entail tying up their robe ends in some way for running or for work. They would either have to tuck them up into their belt somehow or tie them perhaps as this image suggests (which I share with you because it makes me laugh)
Here’s a specific example from the O.T. where you can picture it taking place:
1 Kings 18:46 ESV
And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.
Peter may have even had in mind the preparedness of God’s people at the passover when they were to leave Egypt:
Exodus 12:11 ESV
In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.
What’s the point? Mental preparedness. Now we would say, “Get your head in the game” and most everyone understands (even those who don’t play sports). :-)
Being sober means having full control of your faculties - not being persuaded by other passions, as in v. 14.
Peter likes this word. Here are a couple other examples:
1 Peter 4:7 ESV
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
the first one means to be sensible, reasonable - live wisely in self-control over one’s passions and desires
(the other, and the same as our 1:13) to get self-control ⇔ sober up v. — to curb the controlling influence of inordinate emotions or desires (and therefore become reasonable); conceived of as sobering up from the influence of alcohol.
1 Peter 5:8 ESV
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
This is a self-control that doesn’t let our lives be ruled by our former passions nor even by our emotions. The truth that you know must inform and control your emotions.
In both of these (mental preparedness and sobriety), the emphasis is on the mind, and rightly so. The battle against sin and the pursuit of godliness begin in the mind. The seat of human activity, whether good or bad, is centered in the mind. - The mind is that which can subdue the urges of the flesh – it is with our minds that we submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit
So Peter reminds us, the battle is for your mind, so to keep your focus on the end goal that grace is bringing to you, even Christ himself, you must get your head in the game and stay sober, self-controlled.
2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
… (context) not by worldly wisdom, but by God’s power.
For what, why? Because the goal in this life that goes along with our hope is to be holy. To be holy like the one who has called us is holy.

Be Holy

This main verb comes in v. 15…

holy, set apart, consecrated, dedicated, saints. Refers to the quality of God who is transcendently distinctive, unique, majestic, perfect, and pure.

In what and to what degree?
In all your conduct (moral conduct, way of life)
entire adjs. — constituting the full quantity or extent; complete.
Let me ask you a question: Do you want your spouse to be partly or even mostly yours or all yours? And if there is just a smidgen of conduct giving indication to the contrary, what is your reaction to that?
By not conforming to the desires of your former ignorance
If we let our minds get caught up in the world’s licentiousness, we begin to make excuses for our “freedoms” when really we are just sinning.
(another picture/illustration from life that they can readily comprehend and connect with: as obedient children will do…) - One of the primary roles of a parent is to lead our children away from foolishness and toward wisdom (just look at the primary thrust of the book of proverbs)…
away from the foolishness of drinking from the big and obvious but extremely polluted body of water (like Amazon where I grew up) and toward the well of wisdom that springs from the character and revelation of God (What many others are doing certainly does not make something good and wise. Most often, in fact, that should be a warning, a red flag, that we will measure that against God’s word to avoid worldliness).
but (especially) by desiring to model your life after the holiness of God (as he who called you is holy), and Peter likes to put finality on a point he’s making by giving the final word to something that God himself has said: (v. 16) “...”
(I’m going to have to return to this next week for the sake of time today, but for now I’ll at least make this point from 2 Tim. 1:9…)
2 Timothy 1:9 ESV
who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
(There too the context is suffering… for the gospel, by the power of God) But here’s the point I want to make:
The goal of our holiness is God’s glory, so he isn’t going to leave us on our own and let us flounder in our pursuit of holiness. We must stay close to him and let him work in us.

What Difference Does It Make?

(to have hope and by holy)
The connection between hope and holiness [image]: hope should motivate holiness, and holiness reinforces our hope.
The New American Commentary: 1, 2 Peter, Jude (1) Setting One’s Hope on the Inheritance (1:13–16)

the pilgrim people of God (1:1; 2:11) are to live differently

And on the other side of that coin: If you don’t have any desire to live holy, how does that impact your hope, your confidence that your salvation has in fact been secured and is being held by the power of God? If your supposed faith is not accompanied by a pursuit of knowing Christ and obeying him, then what kind of faith is that?
Don’t lose sight of who God is:
Exodus 15:11 ESV
“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?
Psalm 4:3 ESV
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.
Proverbs 3:11–12 ESV
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
We must sharpen our minds by the word of God:
Romans 12:1–2 ESV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
When himself tempted, Jesus relied on the authority of God’s Word to ward off Satan’s attacks (Mt. 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”)
And here’s an application that blindsided me as I was working carefully through this text this week: Am I daily living in such a way (by God’s strength) that models for my girls the holy character God? Do they see in me the goodness of God so that they want to listen, to learn, to be pleasing in my sight? - Are you living with your family, your fellows servants for Christ, your lost friends, in such a way that models the holiness, goodness, and grace of God? (Are you assuming you are doing well in areas in which it might not be, probably isn’t, the case? For example, are you harboring resentment against someone and justifying yourself? Do you assume that you are not being proud in the way you protect your ministry and the investments you’ve made? …)
I need a final word, a clincher, so I’ll do like Peter and end the point with scripture:
2 Peter 3:17–18 ESV
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
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