1 Peter 1:13-16
Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober…
Peter sums up as the conclusion from what he has just written as to prophets, apostles, angels, the very Spirit of Christ being deeply concerned in our soul-salvation, "Be holy." Holiness is salvation. Just as there is no salvation for a sick man but to give him health, so there is no salvation for a sinful man but to ensure him holiness. Holiness is the supreme purpose of religion. So now, in his own direct, glowing, practical manner the apostle voices the call of God" Be holy." And in doing this he sets forth -
I. THE ONE MODEL AND MOTIVE OF TRUE HOLINESS. Does he not, however, in passing, show what is not a standard of true holiness? For he guards his readers against shaping their character by their own past habits of life. He gently recalls the sad fact to them that they had led lives of vice and of ignorance. He warns them that such living is altogether bad; it was a life according to lusts, coarse and dark, of men, not laws of God. And he suggests to them by the very use of the word "fashioning," which denotes what is fleeting and on the surface (as when he says, "the fashion of this world," the scenery of it, "passeth away"), that a life molded according to the vicious and ignorant lusts of men is transient, decaying, perishing. Do not so degrade and so destroy human nature. Then again, in passing, he shows what the manifestation of true holiness will be. The body of holiness is described by Moses in the Decalogue - the breath of it is breathed by Jesus in the sermon on the mount. But where will this holiness, this breathing body of Christian holiness, show itself? Peter answers, "Holy in all manner of living." The word "conversation" means a "turning about," and the thought is, wherever that life turns in the revolutions of daily history it will be holy. Holy not in its moods, sentiments, religious rites alone; but in its "behavior." The holy man is a revolving light - a light, not with six sides darkened and the seventh flashing some special luster, but wherever he turns translucent with the virtues of the indwelling Christ. Of such holiness the passage before us gives the one model and motive - namely, God. God is the Model of true holiness. "He which called." God is the great "Caller." He cares to call, and is ever calling. And he is holy. And we are called to be holy like as he is holy. Moreover, God is the Motive of true holiness. Not only like as he is holy, but because he is holy, we are to be holy. We notice:
1. Because of God's nature it is right that man should resemble him.
2. Because of man's nature it is possible for him to resemble God. And the fact that we are God's offspring may indicate some hope of our having the capacity of resembling him. But the incarnation of the Son of God declares that man is like God; and that incarnate life of Jesus, where the life of God was lived in a human frame, its thoughts scintillating in a man's brain, its emotions vibrating in a man's heart, its character revealed in a man's conduct, is the one great warrant for the appeal made from the nature of God to the duty of man. The almighty God says, "Be ye holy; for I am holy." All the forces of the universe, all the energies of God, are in battle against sin and in league with holiness. The all-wise God says, "Be ye holy; for I am holy." He who knows what man is and what man can be, and what are all the possibilities of woe or of blessedness throughout creation - the heart-searching, man-knowing, hell-knowing, heaven-knowing God calls us to holiness. The all-loving God says, "Be ye holy; for I am holy." There is no true love without holiness, and he who is the Holy One, who is Love, yearns for us to be like him. Yes, it is written, "Be ye holy." Peter was quoting Leviticus or Exodus, or both, for there it was written. In that the music of the Old and New Testaments is in unison, and not merely in harmony. But it is written in the stones of Sinai, and in the fires of Sodom, and with the blood of Calvary. It is still echoing in messages of prophets and apostles and in the deathless words of Christ. It is written in all the laws of nature which give pain; and in the moral realm, where is violence of remorse; it is written as with pen of iron in man's reason, and point of diamond on his conscience, "Ye shall be holy, as I am holy."
II. SOME OF THE ESSENTIALS IN THE PURSUIT OF TRUE HOLINESS. We say" some," because it is not the habit of Peter to deal exhaustively, and we should not expect all to be set out; and because clearly all essentials are not here, though certainly those, such as the working of the Holy Spirit, are implied. But those that are distinctly enumerated are:
1. Vigorous intelligence. "Gird up the loins of your mind."
2. Firm self-control. "Be sober."
3. Thorough hope. "To the end;" reserved perfectly to the limit of hope.
(1) Thorough in itself. To the bound of hope; no anxious doubt, no fitfulness.
(2) In its object. The "grace." The gift of grace which is being brought to us at the revelation of Christ. Every unveiling of Christ brings grace; the last apocalypse perfects the gift.
4. Filial obedience. - U.R.T.
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;