The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
November 14, 2010


1) 1 Peter 1:13-16 (Tom Edwards)

1 Peter 1:13-16
by Tom Edwards

Peter continues in his exhortation toward the brethren by giving them this following instruction in 1 Peter 1:13-16:

"Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.   As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,  but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.'"

The King James Version begins this passage by saying, "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind...."  So, obviously, this is figurative; but what is it really expressing?   Literally, to gird one's loins referred to gathering up one's long, loose garments by using a type of girdle around the waste to hold it.  This was done for various activities, such as running, fighting, going on a journey, and for different kinds of work.  For example, in Luke 12:37, Jesus tells the parable about the man who would "gird himself to serve" as a waiter for those who are reclining at the table.  We even see the Lord doing this with a towel when He washed the apostles' feet (Jn. 13:4,5).  So, even in its literal usage, we can see that it involved preparing oneself for a certain activity.  This, therefore, also holds true to its figurative usage.  For to "gird up the loins" of the "mind" indicates the need to make the necessary preparation.  The New American Standard Bible, therefore, translates this phrase as "prepare your minds for action."

This might also remind you of Paul's exhortation to the Ephesians to "take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm" (Eph. 6:13).  He then goes on to say in verse 14, "Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness."  To have truth tied about us, in a manner of speaking, we must study to know that truth, to prepare ourselves for the proper application of it.  

Peter then shows some ways in which we can prepare our minds for action:

a) "keep sober in spirit" (v. 13)
b) "fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (v. 13)
c) "do not be conformed to the former lusts" (v. 14)
d) "be holy...in all your behavior" (v. 15)

Let us briefly think of these additional instructions:

To be "sober in spirit" means to not only be sober-minded in connection with alcohol, but  also in simply being temperate, watchful, and circumspect.  It, therefore, also conveys the idea, as John Gill writes, of not "being inebriated with the cares of this life, which choke the word, and make it unfruitful, and lead men into temptation, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, and from the faith of Christ; and likewise to a being intoxicated with errors, and false doctrine, which lull men asleep, and render them incapable of serving Christ, and his church; and turn their heads from faith to fables, and are contrary to the words of truth and soberness; so that to be sober" also means "to be disengaged from the anxious cares of the world, and to be disentangled, recovered, or awaked from the error of the wicked...."

This concept can also be seen in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, where after Paul speaks of those who "will not endure sound doctrine," but want to merely "have their ears tickled"  and will, therefore, "turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths," he then directs Timothy, by saying, "But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

Paul also shows in 1 Peter 4:7 a couple good reasons to be of a sober spirit.  He states, "The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer."  So we need to be of sober spirit because, first of, our stay on earth is short; and, secondly, so we can be in the right frame of mind for going to God in prayer.  

Going along with that, notice the reason Peter also gives in 1 Peter 5:8,9: "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world."

Satan's presence is sometimes figuratively used in expressing those who would be standing for the ways of Satan and showing great opposition toward the church -- as in persecuting or putting to death the saints.  This can be seen in Revelation 2:12,13, for example, where to the church at Pergamum, Jesus says, "I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells."

Satan did not literally have a throne in Pergamum, nor would we think that was where he literally resided.  But it was as if he were present there and seen, in a manner of speaking, in all the opposition toward the church.  But even in spite of that struggle, many of the brethren still persevered in that city.  

Similarly, in Matthew 16:23, we can read of the time in which Peter tried to dissuade the Lord from going to Calvary; and Jesus responded to him by saying, "...Get behind Me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."       

So in a sense, Satan still is prowling about today; and we must, therefore, be sober-minded to be aware of his ways and avoid them.  For as Paul shows in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Satan, who can appear as "an angel of light," has many people working for him who can appear as "servants of righteousness" -- and, ironically, some of these who are Satan's servants actually think they are serving the Lord -- like the many false teachers of our time who are teaching a false plan of salvation that gives only a temporary comfort.  So there is always a need to be sober-minded and watchful, rather than being led astray by the many, deadly wiles of the devil.  

Peter also speaks of the need for Christians to "fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (v. 13).  We normally think of a "revelation" as pertaining to the revealing of God's word, such as we see in Ephesians 1:16,17, where Paul had prayed for the brethren "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him."  But here in 1 Peter 1:13 (as well as in verse 7), the "revelation of Jesus Christ" is talking about the time of His "revealing" -- in other words, His second coming.  For "revelation" comes from the Greek word "apokalupsis," and it literally means "an uncovering"; so, therefore, a revealing. The same word is also used in 2 Thessalonians 1:7 (but consider, too, the context -- 2 Thess. 1:7-12).  The time "when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven..." is a time when He will be "dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus..."  who will then "pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord..."  But it will also be at the same time "when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed...."  So which group will we be in when that day comes?  For as we see, it is going to make a major difference -- and that for all eternity!     

So Peter urges the brethren to live obediently -- and not to return to their former lusts that they had previously given themselves over to ignorantly (1 Pet. 1:14).   It seems, however, in the thinking of many people today, that ignorance is a good excuse for not obeying the Lord; but it is not seen that way in God's sight.  Rather, we find the opposite to be true. The Bible, for example,  shows that even sins of ignorance had to be dealt with: Consider, if you would, Hebrews 9:6,7: "Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle performing the divine worship, but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance." Leviticus 5:14-19 also addresses a similar issue.  It sets forth the specific sacrifice God had required for those who would commit a sin "unintentionally" or  while being "unaware"; and the need for that is because the individual had been guilty -- whether he had realized he committed a sin or not.  A classic passage often cited to emphasize this is Hosea 4:6, which shows God declaring, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...."  And the reason for that lack is because they had "rejected knowledge" and "forgotten the law of God."  They, therefore, had no one to blame but themselves for the wrath they would incur.  

Peter's exhortation, for the brethren not to be conformed to their former lusts, corresponds with some of Paul's writings on that subject.  In Romans 6:11-13, for instance, Paul instructs the brethren to "...consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."   Also, in Romans 13:13,14: "Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts."   We are, therefore, as Peter writes, "...to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God" (1 Pet. 4:2).   

So Peter shows that one is not to revert to his former way  of lust; but, rather, to the way of holiness in 1 Peter 1:15,16 -- and also gives a reason for being that way -- because God says, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."  This quote can be seen in several places in the book of Leviticus (e.g., Lev.  11:44,45 and 19:2).  

Note, too, that Peter instructs the Christian to be holy "in all your behavior" (1 Pet. 1:15).  So, there is never a time for unholiness to characterized the child of God.  Though man might sometimes feel justified in manifesting an unrighteous anger or an ungodly conduct when provoked, one should never believe this to be right -- since we are to strive for holiness in all our behavior.  

The word "behavior" in 1 Peter 1:15 is translated as "conversation" in the King James Version, but that word back in 1611 meant much more than what we would normally think of conversation today.  Then, it referred to a person's manner of life -- and not merely his speech. Thayer defines the Greek word  as "manner of life, conduct, behavior, deportment."

So as God's people today, let us take heed to Peter's instruction to keep sober in spirit (v. 13); to fix our hope completely on the grace that will be brought to us at the coming of Jesus Christ (v. 13); to not be conformed to our former lusts (v. 14), but to be holy in all our behavior (v. 15).  

Peter also gives some additional instruction, which we will consider in our next lesson.

All of these instructions are for our spiritual development, to prepare us for heaven, and to enable us to please God while we are here on earth.  No other message can do for us what God's word can.  

Incorporating God's word in our lives is not always easy; but we can look to the Lord for His help in doing so and also draw strength through one another, as we seek for that grand abode in heaven's glory.  May we each always strive toward that greatest of all goals -- and, thus, also become the better by doing so!  

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17;  John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

201 Rushing Road (at the Hampton Inn), Denham Springs, Louisiana 70726
Sunday services: 9:15 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 4 PM (worship)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
http://home.onemain.com/~tedwards/go (Gospel Observer website)
http://home.onemain.com/~tedwards/audioser.html (audio sermons)


Take the Denham Springs exit (exit 10) off of I-12.  At the end of the exit ramp, turn north.  Go about a stone's throw to Rushing Road.  (You'll see a Starbucks, Circle K, and two other gas stations; with each on each corner.)  Turn left on Rushing Road, and go a little less than 0.3 of a mile.  Hampton Inn will be on the right.  We assemble in its "Meeting Room," which is very close to the reception counter.  Just walk pass the check-in counter; turn right at the hall.  The first and second doors on the left lead to where we meet.