Five Exhortations From Peter

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. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:13-15)

1. Prepare your minds for action (v.13)
To prepare our minds for action is to get rid of loose and sloppy thinking, and to bring the rational and reflective powers of your mind under control. It means to control what you think about, what you decide that you will set your mind upon. “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6) “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2). The same concept is talked about by Paul in Ephesians 6:14 where we are to gird our loins with the truth (or fasten on the belt of truth). Putting on the belt prepares you for action, it frees your movements, and it put him in a battle frame of mind. The belt of truth can be described as the whole of what you believe about Christ. It is a foundation you live upon all the time, your understanding of and confidence in the basic doctrines of the faith. In effect we should never take off the belt of truth. We should always be ready for action.

2. Be sober-minded (v.13)
To be sober-minded basically means to have the ability to take a serious look at life. It is an attitude of self-discipline that avoids the extremes. It is one of character qualifications of an elder (1 Timothy 3:2), it is Paul’s charge to Timothy to withstand the apostasy in his church (2 Timothy 4:5), it is something that comes with years (Titus 2:2). Paul links being sober-minded with “having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (2 Thessalonians 5:8). I wrote a blog post about this once, which you can read here

3. Set your hope fully on the grace […] of Jesus Christ (v.13)
Peter has told us a lot about God’s grace. He greeted us with grace (1 Peter 1:2). He told us of the grace that came to us in Jesus, predicted by the prophets of old (1 Peter 1:10). Now he goes further, writing of the grace that is to be brought to you when Jesus comes back. The only way we will be able to stand before Jesus on that day is because of the unmerited favor He gives and will give to us. Grace isn’t just for the past, when we first gave our lives to Jesus. It isn’t only for the present, where we live each moment standing in His grace (Romans 5:2). It is also for the future, when grace will be brought to us. God has only just begun to show us the riches of His grace.

4. Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance (v.14)
We should not be “conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2). We should “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16) and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Romans 13:14). We should “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22). But I think Paul describes it best in Titus 3:3-7, where he says, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

5. Be holy in all your conduct (v.15)
This is really the summary of Peter’s statement. God says repeatedly in Leviticus to be holy (Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7; 20:26; 21:6). We are to be holy as the Lord has set us apart, or as Leviticus 20:26 says, “separated… from the peoples, that you should be mine.” Paul picks up this theme as well when he says that “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4). We are to train ourselves in godliness (1 Timothy 4:7), and we are to pursue godliness (1 Timothy 6:11). Our conduct should translate in our works (James 3:13)

All in all, these exhortations are all words of action and are linked together. As we set our hope fully on the grace of Jesus Christ we realize that He calls us to be holy in all our conduct. This should stir in us a desire to then not be conformed to the passions of our former ignorance, which means that we should prepare our minds for action and become sober-minded.

Nine Things God Won’t Ask On That Day

This thing came to me and thought it was a good reminder. Here are nine things God won’t ask you on that Day, meaning the Day that you have to appear before His throne…

1. God won’t ask what kind of car you drove. He’ll ask how many people you drove who didn’t have transportation.
2. God won’t ask the square footage of your house, He’ll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.
3. God won’t ask about the clothes you had in your closet, He’ll ask how many you helped to clothe.
4. God won’t ask what your highest salary was. He’ll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.
5. God won’t ask what your job title was. He’ll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.
6. God won’t ask how many friends you had. He’ll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.
7. God won’t ask in what neighborhood you lived, He’ll ask how you treated your neighbors.
8. God won’t ask about the color of your skin, He’ll ask about the content of your character.
9. God won’t ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation. He’ll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell

Reasons To Pray

While preparing for our first Passover dinner, I was reading up on all the traditions of the meal, including the Birkat Hamazon (the “Blessing on Nourishment” or Grace After Meals) is recited. I came across a document with all of the backgrounds on this, but it had this list of reasons to pray according to Jewish traditions, which I thought would be nice to post here:

Jewish tradition offers many reasons different individuals may choose to pray at different times:

  • Prayer can be an opportunity to talk to God;
  • Prayer can be an expression for self-reflection;
  • Prayer can be the expression of hopes, desires, and visions, both communal and individual;
  • Prayer can be a vehicle for awareness or mindfulness of individual moments, which may lead to an appreciation of their uniqueness;
  • Prayer can be an opportunity for participation in a community;
  • Prayer can be a link to tradition and to one’s heritage or background;
  • Prayer, if performed regularly, can be an opportunity to develop self-discipline;
  • Prayer can be seen as […] something we do because God commands it;
  • Prayer can be an occasion for textual study, which may lead to intellectual growth or aesthetic appreciation of meaningful poetry;