As we continue to examine Peter’s first letter (1 Peter), we recall that we have seen that his intention is to encourage Christians who are struggling due to persecution and the difficulties of life that they are facing because of their faith in Christ. As we get to verse 13, we see that Peter calls his readers to a response to the pile of great truths that he has heaped up like so many sand bags against the flood of dispair that has come with their persecution.
Live in Fear? – SERMON AUDIO
He informs them that God has; ( 1 Peter 1:1-12)
Chosen to set His love on them
Set them apart, for Himself, from the rest of the World
Entered into a Covenant Relationship with them through the Blood of His Son.
Made them Citizens of Heaven
Given them an inheritance
And proved the reality of their faith (by which they are in that covenant and and have the right to its benefits) through bringing them through trials.
The response to these great truths begins in verse 13, as Peter tells them,
1 Peter 1:13-19 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” 17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Last time we looked at the first part of this. See the post: Be Holy. Today,we will consider verse 17 and its relationship to the rest of Peter’s message. How indeed, do the words, “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;” fit into this message of comfort and encouragement? First, we must establish that living in the “fear of God” is not living in constant fear of His punishment. Rather, it is living in light of who He is, as the Creator, Ruler and Judge of the universe. From Job to Jesus, this is the idea that is communicated by the term, “Fear of the Lord.”
Job 28:28 And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’ ”
Proverbs 14:2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all.
Jesus adds another bit of encouragement to the idea of fearing God as He tells His Disciples,
Matthew 10:28-31 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
A proper fear of God ()which is a respect for who He is and the authority that He has to instruct and to judge His creation) leads us to the place where we need not fear anything else! This what Peter was getting at when he instructed his readers as we saw above.
1 Peter 1:17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
As redeemed people, we continue to walk in a respectful manner toward the God who has saved us. That is an aid to our holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16) and a comfort in our trials, which is the point of the whole passage. If we fear the Lord, we need not fear anything else! I encourage you to listen to the audio of this one. I get too long here in my post. This is a vital concept for the Church of Jesus Christ to understand and in our time, it is neglected far too often. Check it out and consider the words of encouragement that Peter is giving to us.
Live in Fear? – SERMON AUDIO