Week 7: Sunday 11/13/16
1 Peter 1:22-25
Earnest Love and the Abiding Word
This coming Sunday at College Park Church we will finish chapter one of 1 Peter. We plan to resume chapter 2 in January and make our way through the book by mid-June. This slow and steady stroll through 1 Peter has been helpful for my own walk and a great encouragement to my soul. What has stood out to you so far in chapter 1? Suffering? Hope? Holiness? Exile? Belonging to God?
Last week we talked about 1 Peter 1:17-21, including how not to waste our exile. Instead, we should live with a biblical fear of God that prizes the precious, redeeming blood of Jesus that ransomed us out of bondage and into life with God. The three motivates for healthy fear that Pastor Chris Beals gave were:
- Don’t Waste Your Exile Because You Have a Fatherly Judge: vs. 17
- Don’t Waste Your Exile Because You Have Been Redeemed by Jesus: vs. 18-19
- Don’t Waste Your Exile Because Your Faith and Hope are the Result of God’s Eternal Plan: vs. 20-21
If the idea of “fear” in the Bible is a new one to you, here are some suggested verses to read through as well as additional resources.
- Read Prov. 1:7; 8:13; 9:10; 14:26; Eccl. 12:13; Job 28:28; Ps. 25:14; 31:19; Acts 10:35; Rom. 8:14-17; 2 Tim. 1:7.
- “Ask Pastor John” interview.
- John Piper on “The Goodness of God and the Fear of God”
- Justin Taylor on “What Does it Feel Like to Fear a God Who is For You?”
- For help in talking with smaller children about fearing God, see the first 2 resources here.
Starting with 1:22, it seems that Peter begins transitioning to “how we shall then live.” If we have been redeemed to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus, if we belong to a holy God, and if we are to live in light of who our God is, then there are ways this should manifest itself in our lives. What we see from 1:22 through the rest of the book is that holiness is a community activity. We don’t live holy lives by avoiding people and thinking solely in terms of “my relationship to God.” Holiness is seen in how we live as the new people of God, both with one another as well as with the world. As you look at the section headers (put there by editors) throughout the book you’ll notice how much of living holy lives as exiles relates to doing so in the context of relationships.
Right away in our section (1:22ff) we see the defining marker of God’s people when it comes to how holiness shows itself in relationship: love. This love is birthed in them by God, not self-produced. Through their belief in Christ as proclaimed in the word of God, “obedience to the truth” (1:2, 22), they have been “born again.” They are given new life inside of them from a source outside of them. Because of this they can then love each other earnestly. (Read 1 John 3-4 for another vantage on how God’s love toward us produces love in us that proceeds from us.)
We also see in this section the importance of God’s Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is through God’s living word that we are made alive. It is through the message of the person and work of Jesus that we believe in him and receive the good news that makes us new. This Word of God is living and abiding, remaining forever. In this, it is quite different from things we know in our own world, including ourselves. We will pass away. Cultures will pass away. Presidents will come and go. Cultural values, traditions, beliefs, and ideology will fade. But, God’s word is living, abiding, and eternal. It then poses to us a few questions. What will we live according to? What will shape our lives, thinking, beliefs, and behaviors? What will we feed ourselves on? What will we bank our life on?