Last Sunday we began looking at the book of 1 Peter. By way of introduction, we learned that this book is actually a letter written by the Apostle Peter to Christians living in exile in five Romans provinces in what is now modern-day Turkey.
Now we’re not entirely sure why Peter refers to these Christians “exiles or foreigners”. It could be that they were literally exiled from their homes around Jerusalem – forced to flee the persecution that broke out around the time of Saul… Or it could be that Peter refers to them as “exiles” simply because they are Christians – because they are citizens of heaven and as such, this world is no longer their home.
Either way, Peter is writing to encourage them in their state of exile. As we read through this letter, it quickly becomes obvious that these Christians are going through some difficult trials in life – and so, in the first few verses, Peter reminds them of the hope and the joy they have, because God, in his mercy, has given them salvation through Jesus Christ. Peter talks about a priceless inheritance that God is keeping for them in heaven – and how God is protecting them through their faith, until they receive their salvation in full! And that’s why, even though they must endure many trials in this present life, they can still be filled with joy because they know three key things:
- They have been chosen by God and are dearly loved by him,
- Their trials are only temporary – whatever they are going through – “This too shall pass”
- Because of their hope in Jesus, there is wonderful joy ahead on the day when God rewards them with their salvation in full!
So with those three encouragements in mind, Peter is going to continue (as we are going to see today) to exhort them or urge them to live as exiles in some specific ways.
Peter wants them to know that the Christian life isn’t just about the reward we will get one day in heaven – but it’s also about how we live on earth today! You’ve probably noticed that God doesn’t just teleport us immediately to heaven upon conversion. He leaves us to live as exiles in this world for a time. He’s got a reason for that – there is a purpose for us living here as exiles.
And so in today’s passage, Peter is saying “In light of our great reward that we have to look forward to, in light of who God is and what He has done for us, here’s how God expects us to live as exiles in this world.”
And then we’re going to see Peter beginning to lay out some of those exceptions for us. Actually, two weeks ago we talked about God’s expectations for us as we looked at that passage in Deuteronomy (if you can remember that far back). Well, the book of 1 Peter really builds on that same idea – as well as giving us some very practical applications for what that looks like. But we’ll get into some of that a little bit later.
For now, let’s begin today by starting at 1 Peter, chapter 1, verse 13.
13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.
1 Peter 1:13-20
So as I mentioned earlier – in this passage, Peter is beginning to lay out God’s expectations for us as as exiles (or as temporary residents) in this world. And it all comes out everything Peter wrote about just prior to this.
You’ll notice that verse 13 begins with the word “so”…. Or other translations might say “therefore”…. And Whenever you see that, you know that whatever you’re about to read hinges on what you’ve just finished reading.
Because of this…. therefore…. this.
I’ve told you these facts, so…. here’s what you need to do.
And that’s what Peter is saying… Because God has chosen you and adopted you into His family, because God has promised you this priceless inheritance, because you’ve trusted him for your salvation…. here’s what you need to do. Step #1…. He says in verse 13…