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.

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What value is the book of Leviticus to the Christian?

I believe the value of Leviticus is huge and highly overlooked by most Christians because on the surface it seems like a boring list of laws and regulations which do not apply to us. But I think that with that attitude you bypass a beautiful book.

Two words come to mind when I think about Leviticus: holiness and worship. In those days the holy LORD was present in the midst of the people (Ex. 40:34, Lev. 1:1). The people of Israel must therefore properly address their sin and impurity and must strive for personal holiness. In order to approach God, worshipers must be wholehearted in their devotion (1:1–6:7; 22:17–30). The same applies to us today. We are called and commanded to worship the LORD. In order to do this we need to present ourselves appropriately. By the grace of God, through Jesus, are able to come before the LORD with confidence (Heb. 4:16, 10:19-22, 10:35). Yet, this does not mean that we don’t have to worry about our holiness! We, like in the old days, are still called to strive for personal holiness, to sanctify ourselves completely (1 Thess. 5:23), and in the truth (John 17:17), through the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1:2), and have Jesus reign in our hearts as LORD (1 Peter 3:15).

The book of Leviticus gives us a picture of the seriousness of sanctification, the utter holiness of the LORD, the utter separation we have through sin, and the foreshadowing of Jesus in the midst of it all, as it is impossible from the human side to present ourselves clean before the LORD.

The book of Leviticus gives us these pictures as it discusses the need for offerings (ch. 1-7), the need for a priesthood (ch. 8-10), the need for explaining cleanness and uncleanness (ch. 11-15), the need for atonement (ch. 16), the need for blood to atone (ch. 17), and the need for holiness (ch. 18-22). This all builds up to Jesus in chapter 23 where the holy feasts are explained prophetically for the appointed times and the ultimate redemption (jubilee and the law of redemption). The book closes then off with a series of blessings and curses (ch. 26) and vows and dedications (ch. 27).

In other words, the whole book is a picture the need for holiness as the LORD is holy, with the purpose of worshiping the LORD in all we do and are.