1 Peter 1:13-16
In today’s passage two words, therefore (v. 13) and instead (v. 15), function like flashing lights on a roadway sign. They signal that something important lies ahead.
The opening “therefore” connects the preceding paragraph to what follows. It also builds on the previous thought, as if to say, “what comes next is a consequence of what came before.” The writer says in effect: Since, as followers in the way of Jesus, we “are receiving the outcome of [our] faith, the salvation of [our] souls” (v. 9), then we must act accordingly. We are called to preparation and discipline while anchoring our hope in the grace of Jesus Christ.
The reference to obedient children (v. 14) prompts memories from my childhood. Often, when faced with the pressure to be like someone else or to fit in or follow along, my parents would remind me of the importance of being true to myself and my convictions.
The instead of verse 15 contrasts our former behavior and motivations with our calling to be and behave like children of God. Our actions, our conduct, our very lives are to reflect God’s character. We are to be holy, as God is holy.
Eugene Peterson reminds us that “Holiness is not fussy moralism; it is not pious churchliness. It is wholeness—robust, virile, immense health of body and spirit. The call to holiness is the call to live deeply in the splendor and brilliance of God’s design.” Holiness is a journey, not a destination. It requires preparation, discipline, and utter dependence on God’s grace. It is, as Peterson says (borrowing Nietzsche’s phrase), a “long obedience in the same direction.”
What might preparation, discipline, and dependence on grace look like in your life with God?
Holy God, in your infinite grace, empower me through your Holy Spirit to take a step today toward holiness. Amen.