Vain Conversation
1 Peter 1:17-21
And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man's work…

The mind of man, the guide and source of his actions, while it is estranged from God, is nothing but a forge of vanities. St. Paul speaks this of the Gentiles, that they became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened, their great naturalists and philosophers not excepted. And thus the Lord complains by Isaiah of the extreme folly of His people (Isaiah 44:20), and by Jeremiah, that their hearts are lodges of vain thoughts (Jeremiah 4:14), and these are the true cause of a vain conversation. The whole course of a man's life out of Christ is nothing but a continual trading in vanity, running a circle of toil and labour, and reaping no profit at all. Now, since all a man's endeavours aim at his satisfaction and contentment, that conversation which gives him nothing of that, but removes him further from it, is justly called vain conversation. Let the voluptuous person say upon his death bed what pleasure or profit doth then abide with him of all his former sinful delights. Let him tell if there remain anything of them all, but that which he would gladly not have to remain, the sting of an accusing conscience, which is as lasting as the delight of sin was short and vanishing. Let the covetous and ambitious declare freely, even those of them who have prospered most in their pursuits of riches and honour, what ease all their possessions or titles do then help them to, whether their pains are the less because their chests are full, or their houses stately, or a multitude of friends and servants waiting on them with hat and knee. And if all these things cannot ease the body, how much less can they quiet the mind! It is a lamentable thing to be deluded a whole lifetime with a false dream. Would it not grieve any labouring man to work hard all the day, and have no wages to look for at night? It is a greater loss to wear out our whole life, and in the evening of our days find nothing but anguish and vexation. Let us then think this, that so much of our life as is spent in the ways of sin is all lost, fruitless, and vain conversation. And as the apostle says here, you are redeemed from this conversation, this imports it to be a servile slavish condition, as the other word, vain, expresses it to be fruitless. And this is the madness of a sinner, that he fancies liberty in that which is the basest thraldom; as those poor frantic persons that are lying ragged and bound in chains imagine that they are kings, and that their irons are chains of gold, their rags robes, and their filthy lodge a palace.

(Abp. Leighton.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

WEB: If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man's work, pass the time of your living as foreigners here in reverent fear:

The Things of This World are Insufficient to Redeem From
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