In the last lesson we examined the living hope that we have as believers in Jesus the Christ. We have an inheritance that will not perish and will not fade reserved for us in heaven. Peter taught that we can endure the various trials that we face because we have hope, an inheritance, a tested faith, salvation, and a privilege to live during these last days, the days of the Messiah. The apostle Peter is now going to give help to get us through difficult times.
Set Your Hope Completely on His Grace
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being self-disciplined, set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13; ESV/HCSB)
Peter begins with “therefore.” Therefore, what? “Preparing your minds for action, and being self-disciplined” should be considered like a parenthetical. The key phrase here is “set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The structure of the sentence should not lead us to think that there are three things to do. There is one thing to do: “Set your hope completely on the grace.” When suffering, remember that our hope is not here. These people were going through various trials and were being grieved by them. They were being tested by fire. Our hope is not in status, money, education, or occupation. Our hope is to be set completely on his grace.
Consider the word “completely.” Our hope is to be completely on God’s grace. Our hope is not to cut into smaller pie pieces. We are not to be happy with our hope 50% on God, 10% on job, 20% on family, and 20% on possessions. If our hope is divided, then we are shaken when some of our hope is shattered. When things go wrong with our work, we become depressed. When family members become ill, we lose our hope. We do not have the material possessions that we want or are losing our possessions then we lose sight of God. Our hope is not to even be 1% in anything else but in God’s grace. Our hope is in the eternal inheritance. Our hope is in the spiritual blessings of God. Our hope is on the reserved sign in heaven that the promises and inheritance is there for us.
I think this is where most, if not all of us, fall into sin. Our hope is here. As 21st century Americans and all the possessions we have, we have placed our hope here. Our hope in this world is not just by a few percentage points, but often our hope overwhelmingly is here in this world. Typically, our hope is in any and everything but Jesus and this leads us to having messy lives. So what are we supposed to do? How do we put our hope fully on his grace? Peter tells us.
Prepare Your Minds For Action
Get your minds ready! Roll up your shirt sleeves! Think clearly! We need to pull ourselves together. We are getting distraught over worldly things. I am not trying to minimize our trials. I feel that God has signed us up for a trial that will last the rest of our lives concerning our daughter. But we should not be crushed by our challenges and adversity. Our hope is not here. Get thinking clearly. It does not matter if she is delayed. It does not matter if two year olds can do more than she can when she turns four. It does not matter if she has to live with us the rest of our lives. It does not matter that our life plan has been altered. It does not matter that we are poorer due to her needs. Get you minds ready for action! Think clearly! Living is not here. Our hope is not here. Our value is not here. If our hope was anywhere else, then we would be crushed. When our hope is on something else, then we are dismayed, perplexed, and crushed. How do we endure? Set your hope completely on God’s grace. How do we do that? By getting our minds straightened out. We need to place our focus on God and his grace. Get ready for the fight against Satan. Get ready for the trials and adversity that will come. Put your mind in the right place.
Second, we place our hope fully on the grace of God by exercising self-discipline and self-control. I am not sure that we know what that means anymore, but it is important if we are going to place our hope fully on God. We are going to control our desires. We are going to control our wants. Control yourself. Do not plunge yourself into the materialism of the world. Do not plunge yourself into the lusts of the world. Our problem is that we want everything and we want it now. With our hope in this world we have tried to accumulate far beyond our means, trying to live above and beyond our paychecks. Now as it all comes crashing down, we are reminded that this world is not our home and we are commanded to exercise discipline and self-control. A lack of control and discipline in this world will bring us a tremendous amount of problem. Remember the words of Jesus: “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20). This is exactly what Peter is teaching. Be self-disciplined and get your mind focused. If our value and treasure is in possessions or work or anything else in this world, then our hope will be on those things also.
14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16; ESV)
Children want to be like their parents when they are young. Children want to be found pleasing to their parents when they are young. True disciples want to be like the Father. If we are going to be true followers of Jesus and be his children, then we cannot conform to the passions that rage within us. We are commanded to reject those desires that enter our minds from our flesh. God has not taught us to do what are desires clamor. God has not taught us to obey our desires. We are not supposed to do the things that we want to do if those wants are coming from the flesh. Do not let your desires squeeze you into the mold that will make you look like the world.
Why not? Because we have been called. We have been called to something. Set your hope fully on the grace of God because we have been called by God. We have been given a purpose for life. Jesus has given us a track for life. We are called to be set apart for the Lord. We are not to obey our desires. We are to be holy in everything that we do. Nothing in our life is to be about myself. Nothing in my life is about obeying my desires. All of my life, everything I do, is to be about obeying Jesus. Peter quotes this from Leviticus 19:2, which is an exact quote from the LXX. This quotation is found in the context of what has been called the “code of holiness” (Leviticus 17-26), a section about how one’s whole life was to holy to the Lord.
God’s call is to deny sinful impulses. In doing so, we will be “foreigners,” “strangers,” and “exiles” in our own society. Jesus is our example as we break with this world. We must be different from the world. If we do not look different, then we are not holy, and we are not like Jesus. God’s qualities make us different. Let me make that point again: if we do not look different, then we are not holy, and then we are not like Jesus.
17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with reverent fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (ESV/NRSV)
If we really call upon God as our Father, and we know that we will be judged by our works, then we need to examine our way of life. We need to live our lives in reverent fear. The reason why we live in reverence, fear, and holiness is clear. We have been redeemed. A ransom has been paid for our lives. We have been ransomed away from the passions and futile ways. Redemption and ransom refer to a payment being made. The word “ransom” is often used today when referring to a kidnapping case. The kidnapped person will be return upon a payment of a price. Jesus has paid a ransom price to redeem us from our sinful conduct and futile ways. The price was not money. There is no amount of money that would be sufficient to purchase us from our futility. The price set to purchase us out of our slavery was the precious blood of Jesus. The innocent, perfect, and holy Jesus was the price. The law of Moses revealed that blood was necessary to reveal the steep price for sins. The blood of Jesus was the high price for sins. The death of an innocent man. The death of God.
These events were prophesied hundreds of years previously and Peter is alluding to those prophecies. “For thus says the LORD: ‘You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money’” (Isaiah 52:3; ESV). This statement is in the context of one who would bring peace to Zion and the servant of the Lord who would suffer. Further, Psalm 34:22 (33:23 LXX) reads in the LXX, “The Lord will redeem the lives of his slaves; none of those who hope in him will go astray.” Of even greater interest is the fact that Psalm 34 is a psalm of deliverance. For example, “When the righteous cry from help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:17-18).
Jesus died to deliver us out of our exile, out of our slavery to sin. Jesus is the leader of the new exodus who has purchased us with the very expensive price of his own life. How dare we return to our futile ways and sinful conduct! To do such is to reject the death of Jesus that purchased us with his own blood. Set your hope fully on the grace of God because he redeems the lives of his people and everyone who hopes in him will not be condemned or go astray. Set your hope fully on Jesus because he bought you.
Our hope for hard times is to set our hope fully on his grace
- By preparing our minds for action
- By disciplining ourselves
- By being holy in our conduct as obedient children
- By living in reverent fear
We do these things because Jesus bought us with his blood. We are his and we are valuable because we have been redeemed. We are chosen.