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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Peter’s Advice on the Prophetic Word

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,’ we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:16-19)

This is an amazing piece of text by the apostle Peter. Can you imagine being Peter, witnessing all the miracles Jesus performed, seeing the Holy Spirit ascending on Jesus like a dove, literally hearing the voice of God come out of heaven twice (both at the baptism and at the transfiguration), seeing Jesus in all His glory at the transfiguration, seeing the empty tomb, sticking His fingers in the nail prints, seeing Jesus go back up to heaven? And what does Peter say here?! Oh well, that’s all fine and dandy, but I tell you that the prophetic word is even a better testimony than me being an eyewitness! Crazy!! The prophetic word, which prophesied all the things which Peter witnessed up close, has come true indeed, which means that all the other prophecies are thereby also validated to be sure to be fulfilled as written. And this is amazing news! And what is Peter’s instruction? To pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. In other words, we are commanded to invest time in figuring out all the prophetic words because they will bring light in a dark place, comfort and joy where there is not, and it confirms and builds our hope until our hope is fulfilled at the end.

Amazing!