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1:13-16. Because of this, exercise your responsibility in Christ.
Last week, we were reminded that Christian suffering is not in vain, that through suffering we conform more and more to the image of His Son. We are also reminded that faithful service to Christ is primarily wrapped up in both knowing and preaching God’s Word, a pattern that we should continue to model by the workings of the Holy Spirit in us.
This week, we discuss the praxis - the practical outworkings - of the first 12 verses of chapter 1, as well as where the workings of praxis begins: in the mind. Truly, you could call verses 1-12 the foundation, and verse 13+ the building.
 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
1:13a. We are to “gird up the loins” of our minds. To gird means to be prepared. According to THe Outline of Biblical Usage, “This is a metaphor derived from the practice of the Orientals, who in order to be unimpeded in their movements were accustomed, when starting a journey or engaging in any work, to bind their long flowing garments closely around their bodies and fastened them with a leather belt.” We are told to gird up the loins of our mind. Physically speaking, the loins are where the generative or procreative powers reside.
- NLT: “So think clearly and exercise self-control.”
- ESV: “Therefore, preparing your minds for action.”
- NIV: “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober.”
- CSB: “Therefore, with your minds ready for action.”
- NET: “Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober.”
In the words of that famous motown hit, “Get ready!” Look at the news reports today. Remember that, for decades, Christians have been issuing the clarion call for preparedness.
1.13b. We are to prepare our minds for action and “hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” So, we have the written revelation of Jesus in our Bibles. We have the 2nd coming of Christ which will be a revelation to all of us in one way or another, those of us who believe to great joy, and those who don’t believe to great terror.
1.14a. Note that this is the 2nd part of Peter’s thought here. Peter ties in preparing our minds with the end of hoping for Christ’s return to not returning to our former lusts that we had once deluded ourselves with being ignorant (evil or otherwise) of the upward call of God in Christ. [EPHESIANS 4:18-22] Similarly, look at Colossians 3:5-7. Paul is always talking to people who had previously practiced disobedience. Isn’t that something. Those of us who believe are born again, are new creatures. Therefore, we are to walk in newness of life. That is a command of Paul in Romans 6:4. This also reminds me of a talk that, ironically enough, Joshua Harris’ brothers did on their Rebelution tour. The discussion hinged on the word “teenager” and its roots, which are only 63 years old. He asked, “Did Paul say, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a teenager, I spoke like a man but still thought and acted as a child?” Well, the answer is ‘no,’ but isn’t that the world we live in? “Hey! Become a teenager. Get a bunch of rights but still throw yourself around like a bratty child.” That’s what we tell Christians. “Hey! Come to Jesus! He doesn’t expect anything of you! Continue in your life of sin, but definitely demand your share like the prodigal child.” Doctrine is so missing from our vocabulary and understanding. Just the plain teaching of adoption - being God’s children and co-heirs with Christ - would separate the sheep from the goats. If you’re in the family, you’re to be responsible with your life. But, we Christians often mistake what it means to come to Christ and to be in Christ.
Look again at that word, ‘obedience.’ Paul opens up his manifesto in Romans 1 in verse 5 with “by whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.” We are called to obedience. I have a tough time with boiling down the Christian call to an invitation. As parents, I doubt we invited our children to obey. They were to obey because they are our children or consequences would be had. This is scary ground. I want to say that this is the case, but are we - dare I say, am I - prepared for discipline as a child of God? We don’t want to hear it. That’s why so many pastors in our world are hired to preach the prosperity gospel or some other easy-believism for the comfort of their own ears. Congregation are much like the Israelites in the time of the first kings. A king didn’t come in and brainwash them into believing that having an earthly king was a good idea. The people declared it themselves. Moses didn’t give the people the idea that he should be a middle-man between God and the people. The people did! And yet, it is God who say “you will be my people, and I will be your God.” If that is true, we must change our thinking and our actions. If God, and God alone, has wrought our salvation for us, and if he has adopted us as sons and daughters, then let us turn to Him as our Heavenly Father and cling to Him as His beloved children.
So, what is the answer to the gospel call being given as plea to the lost? Peter says in Acts, “God commands all men everywhere to repent.” We are told to repent and believe (obedience is more than implied here) so many times in the NT. That said, God desires all men to repent and not to perish. There is, to some degree, and invitational nature to the gospel command. This repentance that God seeks for us all includes rest for our souls. The wisdom and genius of God our Father is that he is a father above all fathers. We cannot fathom a command that is soaked with compassion and grace like our Heavenly Father can bestow.
1:15. As God is holy, so we are to be holy in all “manner of conversation.” Other translations say “in all your conduct,” “be holy in everything you do,” “be holy in all of your behavior.” The NET says “become holy yourselves in all of your conduct.” So, though we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us through faith in Christ, we still must train ourselves in godliness, putting off the world’s allure.
Now, again, this verse is really a part of a longer thought which began back at verse 13. See, it’s all connected. The God who calls us keeps us (verse 5). Because the God who calls and keeps us is holy, meaning, he is unlike any manmade god. He is most holy, sacred, meaning pure, morally blameless. As he consecrates us through His sovereignty, we are also to be most holy, sacred, meaning pure, morally blameless. We see this more fully explained later in verses 22 and 23 when Peter says: “Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, see that you love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which lives and abides forever.” In other words, we have been purified in our obedience. Again, our faith is to bring about our obedience unto God. 2 Corinthians 7:1. “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7. What is the will of God? In a word: sanctification, that we should abstain from fornication, spiritually and physically. Wow. Paul is specifically talking about sexual immorality. But, where does it all begin? In the mind!! Lust begins in the mind. We allow it through our mental filters and let it arouse the body. How are we to avoid this? Romans 13:14. “But you, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:27 says those who have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Colossians 3:10-12. Colossians 3:10 says the new man is “renewed in knowledge (where does that happen? In the mind!!!) after the image of him that created him.” No guesswork needed here. We are to assume that God is true and every man a liar. God is to be trusted. What kinds of things are we to put on that resemble Christian character? Colossians 3:12-17.