The last couple of weeks we have consider from 1 Peter 1 how to view life and faith in the midst of trials and sufferings. We have seen the truth that our sufferings our temporary in contrast to an inheritance eternal, if we are indeed “in Christ”. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is what gives us living hope (1:3) even while we may be dealing with hardships in this life. The Apostle Peter has helped set our mindset and perspective on the vertical and eternal. As suffering Christians, we must be sure to look upward and forward to Jesus Christ and His revelation. But it does not stop at our thinking. This needed change in perspective should lead us to a needed change in action. The characterization of God’s people in the midst of suffering can be summed up in two words: hopeful and holy. Peter yet again reminds his readers, and by implication us, about the hope we have. He says, “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:13). There is suffering in this life but look ahead and remember Christ will return and our salvation will be fully realized. We can be certain about this because our “faith and hope are in God” (1:21). So, if we hope for what is to come, then how does that impact our present life situations? It calls us to not compromise in our convictions, especially when we are suffering for our faith. Rather, our minds are called to be prepared for action and to be sober-minded, not diluted the toxic temptations we face. When it is tempting to give into the sinful and former ways of life, we must resist. As those saved by Christ, we should be different. As children of God, there should be family resemblance. As those who have been called, there is a calling to live out. Simply put, we are to be holy. We reflect the character of a holy God by living a life of holiness (1:16-17). This does not mean in just some things. No, we are called to be holy in all our conduct (1:15). At work and at the gym. At home and in front of the computer. With friends and with the church. Holiness should characterize every area of the Christian’s life. This is crucial in the context of suffering and trials. We can lose hope and give in to the fleshly desires of this world. But if we set our hope on Christ, then holy lives will follow. To be sure, we will not be perfect. We all fail at some point. That is why we needed the Holy One, Jesus Christ, to come live the perfect life, die the death we deserved as our substitute, and rise again to give us a living hope (1:18-21). We are saved by His grace alone and not by our holiness, or lack thereof. But as we have been saved by His grace, we are called to live holy lives. Because of Christ, we can be a hopeful and holy people, even in the midst of sufferings.
- How do you respond when you are ridiculed for your faith? Are you tempted to compromise? How does the hope found in Jesus Christ direct your response?
- Take inventory concerning all areas of your life. How can you intentionally make sure holiness is a permeating characteristic in each arena?