1 Peter 1:13-16
Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober…
1. How full of their Lord were the minds of these holy writers!
2. How ardently these men expected the coming of the Lord!
3. It is equally noticeable that while apostolic men looked for the coming of Christ, they looked for it with no idea of dread, but, on the contrary, with the utmost joy.
4. Observe also, how constantly they were urging this as a motive! Peter never holds it out as a mere matter of speculation, nor exclusively as a ground of comfort; but as the grand motive for action, for holiness, for watchfulness. The teaching necessary for today is this: "Gird up the loins of your mind," brace yourselves up; be firm, compact, consistent, determined. Do not be like quicksilver, which keeps on dissolving and running into fractions; do not fritter away life upon trifles, but live to purpose, with undivided heart, and decided resolution. These are equally days in which it is necessary to say "be sober." We are always having some new fad or another brought out to infatuate the unstable. "Be sober," and judge for yourselves. Nor is the third exhortation unnecessary: "Hope to the end." Be so hopeful as to be "calm mid the bewildering cry, confident of victory."
I. AN ARGUMENT. "Wherefore." True religion is not unreasonable; it is common sense set to heavenly music. The apostle begins by saying, "Elect according to foreknowledge," etc. Shall the elect of God be timorous? Shall those who are chosen of the Most High give way to despair? God forbid! There is an argument, then, in the first and second verses, forcibly supporting the precepts of the text. It well behoves the elect of God to choose His service resolutely, to abide in it steadfastly, and hope for its reward with supreme confidence. But next, Peter declares that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has "begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." O ye begotten of God, see that ye live as such! You are twice-born men; live not the low life of the merely natural man. You are descended from the King of kings; degrade not your descent! Your election and your regeneration call you to holy living. Further, the apostle goes on to say that you are heirs of "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you." Courage, then, if this be your destiny: do not be cast down by the aboundings of sin, nor even by your own personal temptations. Then he goes on to say that you are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." If the power of God keeps me, shall I be hopeless? Shall I speak like one that has no hereafter to rejoice in? Further, the apostle goes on to say that we may be passing through needful trial, but it is only for a little while. Come, then, if this fire is to be passed through, let us gird up our loins to dash through it. Let us hope to be sustained, and sanctified as the result, and let no unbelieving fear cast a cloud over our sky. Is not this good argument? Nor is this all. He tells us that even while we are in trial we are still full of joy. Once more: the apostle goes on to. say that the gospel which we believe, and for which we are ready to suffer, is a gospel that comes to us with the sanction of the prophets. It seems to me that with such men as Moses and David, Isaiah and Jeremiah, to support our faith, we need not be ashamed of our company, nor tremble at the criticisms of the moderns.
II. THE EXHORTATION.
1. "Gird up the loins of your mind."(1) That certainly teaches us earnestness. We brace ourselves for a supreme effort; and the Christian life is always such.
(2) Does it not also mean preparedness? A true believer should be ready for suffering or service — ready, indeed, for anything.
(3) It means determination and hearty resolution. By conflict throughout a whole life we come to our rest; and there is no other way. You cannot go round to a back door, and enter into heaven by stealth. You must fight if you would reign. Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind.
(4) Once more, the figure teaches us that our life must be concentrated. "Gird up the loins of your mind." We have no strength to spare; we cannot afford to let part of our force leak away. We need to bring all our faculties to bear on one point, and exert them all to one end.
2. "Be sober."(1) This means moderation in all things. Do not be so excited with joy as to become childish. Do not grow intoxicated with worldly gain or honour. On the other hand, do not be too much depressed with passing troubles.
(2) Keep the middle way; hold to the golden mean. Make sure of your footing when you stand; make doubly sure of it before you shift.
(3) Be clear headed. Ask that the grace of God may so rule in your heart that you may be peaceful, and not troubled with idle fear on one side or with foolish hope on the other. "Be sober," says the apostle. You know the word translated "be sober" sometimes means "be watchful"; and indeed there is a great kinship between the two things. Live with your eyes open; do not go about the world half asleep.
3. "Hope to the end." Be strong in holy confidence in God's Word, and be sure that His cause will live and prosper. Hope to the end; go right through with it; if the worst comes to the worst, hope still. Hope as much as ever a man can hope; for when your hope is in God you cannot hope too much. But let your hope be all in grace. Do not hope in yourself or in your works; but "hope in the grace"; for so the text may be read. Hope, moreover, in the grace which you have not yet received, in "the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Bless God for the grace that you have not yet obtained, for He has it in store for you; yea, He hath put it on the road, and it is coming to you.
III. EXPECTATION. What you have got to hope for is more grace. God will never deal with you upon the ground of merit; He has begun with you in grace, and He will go on with you in grace, therefore "hope to the end for the grace." The grace you are to hope for is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. He has been revealed once, at His first advent; hence the grace you have. He is to be revealed very soon in His second advent; hence the grace that is a-coming to you. "My ship is coming home," says the child. So is mine: Jesus is coming, and that means all things to me. But what can this grace be that will be received at His coming? Justification? No, we have that already by His resurrection. Sanctification? No; we have that already, by being made partakers of His life. What is the grace that is to be revealed at His coming? Just look at the chapter, anal you will read in the fifth verse, "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time."
1. Perfect salvation is one part of the grace which is to be brought in the last time when Christ comes. When He comes there will be perfection for our souls and salvation for our bodies.
2. The second grace that Christ will bring with Him when He comes is the perfect vindication of our faith: "that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." Today they sneer at our faith, but they will not do so when Jesus comes; today we ourselves tremble for the ark of the Lord, but we shall not do so when He comes. Then shall all men say that believers were wise, prudent, philosophical. Those who believe in Jesus may be called fools today, but men will think otherwise when they see them shine forth as the sun in the Father's kingdom.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;