By BARBARANNE KELLY|CONTRIBUTOR
Welcome to the third week of memorizing 1st Peter! I hope that by now you are finding encouragement in your progress—I know I am. As I am filling in for Jana this week, I will lead you first through how I thought about this week’s portion of scripture, which helps me follow the flow of Peter’s argument. If it makes sense to me I am better able to memorize it. Then I will go over a few “hooks” for memory.
This week’s portion begins with finishing an idea Peter started developing at the end of last week’s portion. Evidently, the Old Testament prophets who were moved by the Spirit of Christ to prophesy about the sufferings and glory of Jesus were curious about who he would be and when it would go down. To me, this is fascinating and speaks to the genuine humanity of the prophets and the true inspiration of their prophecies. The Holy Spirit spoke through them and even they wondered what it meant!
So, they wondered, but don’t miss the last clause in the first verse: even the angels were wondering about it.
The amazing news of who Christ would be and when he would arrive to fulfill the prophecies was so curious and important, that we who have now learned the gospel—the good news—have an obligation. They longed to know; we now know: therefore, we must take seriously what we have learned and participate in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit by obeying Jesus Christ now that we have been sprinkled by his blood. See how the ideas from the first week are still flowing through Peter’s writing?
To prepare our minds for action and be sober-minded implies that we are making a conscious decision and aiming for a goal. That goal is the revelation of Jesus Christ upon which we must choose to set our hope entirely. This is not a wishy-washy hope, but a determined, focused hope. Imagine crouching at the starting line of a race and seeing the finish line ahead. Focus your thoughts, your energy, and all your effort, and “see” yourself getting there.
Further, now that you have been born again into the family of God—a metaphor not fully developed by Peter, but one with which we are not unacquainted—be an obedient child and do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. Peter knows a thing or two about passionate ignorance. We are instead to be conformed to Christ, who is holy. He called us to be holy, so we are to be who we are called to be.
In keeping with the idea that we are children, Peter tells us, “if we call on him as Father”—who? —”who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds,” meaning: God does not choose us to be children by any merit in us, but once we are chosen we are to obey and do deeds of righteousness, not wickedness. So, recognizing this, we “conduct ourselves with fear throughout the time of our exile.” This isn’t a cringing fear of our Father, but a fear of our own capacity to sin. If we are holy, we should have the same abhorrence of our own sin that our Holy God has! We need to be realistic. We still sin. Yet we should hate the sin and fear continuing in it.
Knowing the price of our ransom helps us to have this attitude toward our sin. We were ransomed with something far more precious than the “precious metals” which are given such a high value by the world. Silver and gold, by eternal measure, are temporary—perishable—but the blood of Christ is imperishable and more precious than all the silver and gold in the world. Believer, that was the price of your ransom. Therefore, Be Holy.
Now, some hooks upon which you hang your memory:
Verse 12 is the longest verse, and gave me trouble at first. Notice that “You” is repeated three times.
It was revealed to them that they were serving not
themselves but you, in the things that have now been
announced to you through those who preached the
good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven,
things into which angels long to look.
They were serving you, things have now been announced to you, by those who preached the good news to you.
Verse 13 begins with the connecting, “Therefore.” Ask yourself why? There is a response demanded because of what we have just been told. What is that response? The response involves our minds.
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.
Set your hope on the grace—which grace? —that will be brought to you—when? —at the revelation of Jesus Christ—he is coming back!
Verse 14 tells us how to live while we wait for the revelation of Jesus Christ.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the
passions of your former ignorance,
Obedient children conform to their Fathers, not ignorant passions—even their own ignorant passions.
Verse 15 gives us the model to which we are to conform, and it runs right together with verse 16.
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.”
Verse 17 describes one aspect of our Holy Father, which provides a motive for our holiness. We have an if/then clause.
And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially
according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with
fear throughout the time of your exile,
Finally, verses 18 and 19 also run right together, giving us the perishable/ precious contrast of the ransom price by which we were saved.
knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways
inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable
things such as silver or gold,
but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb
without blemish or spot.
I pray that this is helpful and that you are encouraged, not only to continue memorizing, but by the precious truths which, by memorizing, you are hiding away in your hearts!