“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13
People living in the pagan Roman Empire during the first century were confronted with a new reality that simply could not be dismissed. Christians were spreading throughout the region carrying with them an unstoppable message which “turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6b) Because their beliefs were so extremely counter-cultural, these early believers were often misunderstood and ostracized. So Peter writes the epistle of First Peter to strengthen them in their faith and to encourage them to maintain their hope in the midst of suffering and the looming persecution.
Today we are certainly seeing suffering in our world as the COVID-19 pandemic so poignantly highlights the effects of sin on God’s once perfect creation. We have been made to soberly face our own mortality. Not one of us knows for sure how we would do if we were to contract this deadly virus, our “invisible enemy.” Moreover, we don’t even know yet if it’s possible to develop antibodies for protection against a second go-around. So what counsel does Peter offer us?
Peter wrote to sufferers, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:13)
So what is Peter referring to when he says “therefore?” Prior to verse 13, Peter had piled up many amazing truths about the early Christians’ new identity in Christ:
- Their belief in the gospel was proof of the Triune God’s specific care for them! They are “elect . . . according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood.” (1 Peter 1:1-2a)
- God had exercised His great mercy to them in causing them to be born again! (1 Peter 1:3)
- They had a “living hope,” because Jesus was resurrected from the dead! (1 Peter 1: 3) Peter himself was among the many eyewitnesses who had seen Jesus dead and then alive again after three days.
- They had an inheritance in heaven which is described as “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading[!].” This was encouraging, because many Christians in the Roman Empire struggled financially. Likewise many of us are experiencing great financial setbacks due to the virus.
- God’s power was guarding them for a salvation to be revealed in the future! (1 Peter 1:5)
- Their trials would serve to prove the genuineness of their faith and result in “praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ[!].” (1 Peter 1:7)
- Their faith was great cause for rejoicing with “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” because the outcome would be the salvation of their souls!
- They had the privileged position of living in a time when over 2000 years of prophesies about the coming Messiah had been fulfilled, and they heard the good news of it from the men who preached to them through the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven!
Peter wanted them to be wowed by all that had happened to them because of the impact of the life of Jesus Christ! What was true for Peter’s readers of the first century is true for all of us who have believed the gospel. Read back over the list, and be encouraged! You have been “born again to a living hope!” (1 Peter 1:3)
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action. . . “ So in light of having experienced the Lord’s goodness the way we have, Peter would have us be ready to respond! Hopefully we have used our time wisely as we spent more time at home with our families. Soon the restrictions which have kept us at home will begin to be lifted. Peter instructs us to live purposefully! Our time could be shorter than we think. Have your priorities been readjusted in this past month? Have you been re-considering where you want to use your energies? Be more intentional in your Christian walk than ever before! Peter goes on to exhort believers to “be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15) and to “love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” (1 Peter 1:22)
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