STUDY SIX: 1PETER 1:13-2:3 – LIVING FOR JESUS - 2

© Rosemary Bardsley 2018

In the previous study we looked at the commands Peter has given us about how to live as God’s people. In this study we will look at the before and after motivations for each of these commands. Having looked at how we should live, we now look at why we should live this way. This why sometimes points us to truths that already exist, and sometimes to truths that will exist if we live as God commands. There are both ‘before’ and ‘after’ motivations.

B. MOTIVATIONS FOR GODLY LIVING

B.1 ‘Therefore ...’ 1:13
Peter’s first motivation refers back to all that he has said in verses 1-12. This is the most comprehensive of all the motivations he gives.

From 1Peter 1:1-12 explain why each of the following is a motivation for godly living:
What God the Father has done for us:

What Jesus the Son has done for us:

What the Holy Spirit has done to us:

Our identity as Christians:

The mercy of God:

The permanence and certainty of our salvation:

The preciousness of our faith:

The inexpressible joy we have in Christ:

The fact that our salvation is the eternal plan of God spoken of by the Old Testament:

 

We have been saved by the synergistic work of the triune God. Our salvation is something planned by God and implemented by God. It is grounded in his purpose and his mercy. Because of this it is absolutely certain. It is not possible for it to be eroded or diminished or lost. This secure salvation, both present and future, has always been God’s plan, and was spoken of in anticipation by the Old Testament writers.

B.2 ‘... the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed’ 1:13
Peter’s ‘therefore’ causes us to look back to the mercy of God by which we have already been saved. To this backward look Peter adds a forward look as a motivation to godly living – ‘the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed’. As we saw at length in Section G of Study 2, Peter has much to say about the salvation that will be revealed when Jesus Christ returns.

Beyond this life, which Peter knows is sometimes a life of mistreatment and suffering, there is the glorious, complete salvation that Jesus establishes when he returns to judge the earth and brings on the eternal kingdom of the new heavens and the new earth. This final deliverance from sin and suffering is a motivation for us to hold fast, to refuse to give in and give up, regardless of the pressures put upon us. Living for Jesus might be tough, but it is infinitely worth it.

Personal questions:
How much does the certainty of Christ’s return motivate you to godly living?

How much does the joy and glory of the eternal kingdom motivate you to godly living?

 

B.3 ‘As obedient children ...’ 1:14
In this motivation Peter reminds of our new identity: we are now the children of God. God is now our Father. This Father/child relationship involves us in the responsibility of filial obedience. Verses 14 to 16 teach us that this filial obedience means that we are to be just like our Father. We are no longer to be as we once were, before we were his children, but to be like him. In a word, to be, as we saw in the previous study, ‘holy’ – unique, no longer just like everyone else, but like him.

This Father/child relationship between God and those who believe in Jesus Christ is not the same as the Creator/creature relationship that exists between God and all human beings. Nor is it the same as the Judge/accused relationship that exists between God and all human beings not justified (acquitted) by the blood of Jesus.

Yes. We are God’s children by virtue of creation. But those who believe in Jesus Christ are also God’s children by virtue of salvation:

Study these texts which speak of two ways in which those who believe in Jesus Christ are now God’s children:
Adopted as God’s children:
Ephesians 1:5

Romans 8:15-17

Galatians 4:6,7

Born of God:
John 3:6-8

1Peter 1:23

1John 5:1

Study these texts. How is the motivation for this ‘like Father/like child’ obedience expressed in these verses?
Matthew 5:43-48

Ephesians 4:32 – 5:2

1John 3:1-3

Note, in addition, that this child/Father relationship is also expressed in 1Peter 1:17.

B.4 ‘Just as he who called you is holy ...’ 1:15
For a detailed study on God, the Holy One - http://www.godswordforyou.com/bible-studies/knowing-god/1204-the-holy-one.html

In that study the following truths are referenced from multiple Scriptures:

[1] That the holiness of God speaks of his absolute otherness, his total uniqueness, his complete disassociation and difference from all else that might call itself ‘god’ and from everything else that exists. He is the only one of his kind: he is holy: he is totally set apart. He has no equal. His beauty, his goodness, his perfection, his power, his majesty are all unequalled and unparalleled. He cannot be likened to anything or anyone, for there is nothing and no one like him – there is nothing up there on the same level as he is to which he can be compared. Everything falls far short of this unique, one-of-a-kind, ‘holy’ God. Because of this unique otherness, this holiness of God, he is to be held in awe and respect: he is unapproachable.

[2] That to treat God as common, as exchangeable with other gods, as just one among many belief options one could choose, is to deny the reality of who he is: he is holy. He is the only God. The Bible outlaws all other god concepts. It speaks with amazement and horror that anyone would discard the holy God and replace him with a god fabricated by human hands or by human imagination.

[3] That the holiness of God prohibits all occult practices in which humans attempt to make contact with and gain guidance from psychic or spiritual forces or powers. Such contact is a substitute for the relationship with God and the trust in God for which we were created, and a substitute for dependence on his Word. It is not tolerated by God; indeed it is highly offensive to him.

[4] That because God is ‘holy’ – because he alone is God – he is opposed to any corruption or dilution of the truth he has revealed about himself. We are not at liberty to make up our own ‘truth’. If the true truth about the one true God is lost, the next generation will be without hope and without God in the world.

[5] That because God is ‘holy’ he alone defines the criteria by which man is permitted to approach him. We do not have the right to decide that for ourselves. We do not have the right or the freedom to approach God on our own terms or conditions. God sets the terms. God sets the conditions. God explicitly states how he is to be approached and how he is to be worshipped.
The holiness of God thus defines:

Who God is.
The inappropriateness of idolatry [whether physical idols or human ‘god’ concepts].
The inappropriateness of participation in occult practices.
The inappropriateness of altering the truth about himself that he has revealed.
The appropriate manner of worship.

Peter, as did God himself, states, in summary, that the holiness of God is the motivation for holy living – for a life that is set apart by God for God, to be lived for God’s purposes.

Study these texts. How do they express God’s requirement for his people to be ‘holy’?
Leviticus 11:44-45

Leviticus 19:2

Leviticus 20:7,8

Because God, our God, is holy, he requires that we, his people be ‘holy’ – consecrated to him, dedicated to him, committed to him and his ethics, valuing what he values, distinct from people who have rejected him and his ethics.

B.5 ‘you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially ...’ 1:17
Here again the Father/child relationship is a motivation for godly living.
But here Peter combines this truth with a second truth: that God, our Father, ‘judges each man’s work impartially’. He shows no favouritism. He does not kowtow to the rich, the famous, the powerful. From his perspective, every one of us, left to ourselves, deserves condemnation. From his perspective, everyone who believes in Christ is the recipient of identical mercy. All are equally accepted. All are equally forgiven. All are equally acquitted. In Christ all are equal. In Christ, there is no consideration given to whether a person is rich or poor, famous or insignificant, strong or weak, male or female, pastor or lay person – or any other distinction that we humans might think exists.

Study these texts. How do they express this impartiality of our Father and our equality in Christ?
Psalm 130:3

Matthew 20:14

Romans 3:22-24

2Corinthians 5:14-17

Galatians 3:26-29

Ephesians 2:11-18

A twisted response to the love and mercy of God is a careless life that sees God’s grace as an excuse, even a license, to sin. Such a response still has self at the centre. It uses and abuses the love of God. It relegates God to the outer edges of significance.

The appropriate response to the love and mercy of God is to be overwhelmed by its unexpectedness, its immensity, its sheer, stupendous generosity and liberality. And, in the depths of this reverential awe, to know beyond the slightest doubt, that we no longer belong to ourselves, to live for ourselves, but to him, to live for him, to glorify him.

How do these texts express the reverential awe that results in godly living?
1Peter 1:17-19

1John 3:1-3

Psalm 130:4

But we can go even further back into the history of faith, and find Job explaining why he chose not to sin:

‘... for fear of his splendour I could not do such things ... for I would have been unfaithful to God on high ...’ [Job 31:23,28].

This man, with no knowledge of God as Father, and without the evidence of God’s love demonstrated at Calvary, knew that reverential fear, not freedom to sin, was the outcome of faith. How much more should we, who call God ‘Father’, and who have been redeemed by the blood of his Son, live our lives in reverent fear!

B.6 The cost of our redemption – 1:18-20
Peter gives a second reason why we should live our lives in reverent fear – the high cost of our redemption.

A tremendous change has taken place in our lives – the change from ignorance [1Peter 1:14] to the knowledge of God [verse 21], the change from hopelessness to a living hope [verses 3, 21], the change from darkness to wonderful light [2:9], the change from being nobody to being the people of God [2:10], the change from being the objects of condemnation to being the recipients of mercy [2:10]. This immense and multi-faceted change has occurred because we have been the focus of a grand and costly redemptive action of God.

Redemption presupposes an existing condition of bondage, captivity, enslavement or debt, from which there is no simple or easy way out. Redemption (liberation) from such bondage always involves a cost. That’s what redemption is - freedom achieved by the payment of a price. This price is termed the ‘ransom’. In the case of our salvation, the ransom, the price paid, is the life of Christ. He died, he shed his blood, he gave his life, as the only price that could secure our freedom.

From these texts identify the nature and the cost of our redemption:
Mark 10:45

Romans 3:22-25

Galatians 3:13

Ephesians 1:7

Revelation 5:9

Peter teaches us that our redemption was not purchased with ‘perishable things such as silver or gold ... but with the precious blood of Christ’ [1:18,19]. He goes on to explain why the blood of Christ is so precious, so valuable.

Christ is ‘a lamb without blemish or defect’. Here Peter uses the symbolism embedded in the ritual requirements of the Passover festival: that only a perfect lamb was an acceptable substitutionary sacrifice. The reality symbolised by this perfect sacrificial lamb is Jesus Christ, who was without sin. Christ is the real Lamb of God – perfect, sinless, without blame. He ‘had no sin’ [2Corinthians 5:21]. He, the righteous one, died for us, the unrighteous [1Peter 3:18].

This incredible plan of redemption was, Peter affirms, determined by God even before we had sinned: ‘He was chosen before the creation of the world ...’ [1:20]. From eternity, from deep within the heart of God, before time, before creation, before we existed, Christ was the chosen ransom. As Paul puts it ‘this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time’ [2Timothy 1:9].

There are three truths here that emphasise the extreme cost of our redemption:

Who it is who paid the price: it is Jesus Christ, the beloved Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
What the price was: it was his life given, his death, his blood.
When this plan was first decided: it was decided before the creation of the universe.

Once we recognize this extreme cost of our redemption we can draw two further conclusions:

That our redemption is highly valued by God. God did not do it lightly or thoughtlessly. Knowing completely all that was involved God planned it and implemented it.

That we ourselves are highly valued by God. God created us, knowing that we would sin. God created us, knowing that to redeem us from that sin he would send his one and only Son into the world to pay the price for our redemption. How very, very much he loves us!

Thus Peter says: ‘... live your lives ... in reverent fear. For you know ... that you were redeemed ... with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect ... chosen before the creation of the world.’

B.7 ‘Through him ye believe in God ...’ – 1:21
Peter’s next motivation for godly living is the fact that it is through Jesus Christ that we now actually believe in God.

Peter’s statement ‘Through him you believe in God’ [1Peter 1:21] reflects a truth that Jesus Christ expressed repeatedly: that the only way to know God is through Jesus, the Son of God.

Read these verses. Note how strongly this truth is stated by Jesus.
Matthew 11:27

John 8:19

John 12:44,45

John 14:6,7,9

In addition, other statements Jesus made affirm that in and through him alone can the true knowledge of God be found.

How do these texts express the truth that only in Jesus Christ can we see and know God?
John 8:12 (Note Jesus’ use of the definite article – he is the light of the world, not one among many means of spiritual enlightenment, but the light, that is, the one and only light. The only access point to the true truth about God.)

John 5:24

John 8:24

For Jesus it was indisputable that only those who know him actually know God. For Jesus, it was indisputable that anyone who rejected him was also, by that rejection, expressing their rejection of God:

‘... he who rejects me rejects him who sent me’ [Luke 10:16]. ‘... whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me’ [John 13:20].

John summed up the impact of Jesus this way:

‘No one has ever seen God, but the One and Only Son, who is God himself and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known’ [John 1:18].

‘We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true’ [1John 5:20].

If anyone should ask us ‘What is God like?’ ‘Who is God?’ ‘How do I know which ‘god’ is the real God?’ the answer we should give is very simple: Look at Jesus Christ. There you will see God. Not just a human god concept, which is really just as much a man-made idol as an idol made from wood or metal, but the real, true, unique God.

For this reason, the apostle John ends his first letter with a few potent words: ‘Dear children, keep yourselves from idols’ [1John 5:21]. He says this because he knows that any concept of God that differs from the God made known to us by Jesus Christ is an idol: a god created either by human minds – a philosophical idol, or by human hands – a physical idol.

So Peter states:

‘Through him you believe in God’.
Through Jesus Christ we know the incomprehensible God.
Through Jesus Christ we see the invisible God.

As Paul puts it:

‘God ... made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ’ [2Corinthians 4:6].

This, says Peter, is a motivation for godly living. Out of all the humans on the earth, only those who know Jesus Christ actually believe in the one God who actually is God – the one authentic God whose real existence is the reason for the existence of all the counterfeit gods created or conceptualized by humans and worshipped as god.

B.8 ‘who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God’ 1:21
In 1Peter 1:3 Peter wrote: ‘In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...’.

Now in verse 21 he makes a similar connection between the Christian hope and the resurrection of Christ:

‘Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your hope and faith are in God.’

The resurrection and glorification of Jesus Christ authenticate the claims Jesus Christ made about himself and the claims he and apostles made about the saving impact of his death. They also verify the existence of God. The resurrection and glorification of Christ by God thus become yet another motivation for godly living – God is real, and Jesus Christ really is and really did all that he claimed. It is not a fairy story. It is true. And because it is true – validated by Christ’s resurrection and glorification – then it has massive implications for how we live our lives.

Read 1Corinthians 15:14-19. What does Paul teach about the critical significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
15:14 (x2)

15:15

15:17 (x2)

15:18

15:19

Paul also stated that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead powerfully declares that he is indeed the Son of God [Romans 1:4].

In all of this Paul and Peter are agreed: that the Christian hope is grounded on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But Paul, like Peter, also points us to a further essential truth: that Christ was exalted and glorified after his resurrection. He was not raised from death only to die again. He was raised and glorified. His resurrection was not merely a restoration of his human life. Nor was it only that his mortal human body was transformed into an immortal, imperishable human body.

His incarnation, life, death and resurrection were always going to be followed by his restoration to his rightful position of divine authority and glory. And Jesus himself anticipated that glorification.

Study these texts. Note the strong references to the present glory of Christ.
Ephesians 1:20-22

Philippians 2:9-11

John 17:5

John 17:24

In the previous section we saw that through Jesus Christ humans can truly know who God is and believe in him. But all of that stands or falls on the validity of Jesus’ claims to essential equality and oneness with God the Father. And those claims stand or fall on his resurrection and glorification. The fact that Jesus is now seated in the position of extreme authority at the right hand of God the Father, with all the angels, powers, etc, subject to him, confirms that he is indeed the eternal God.

But how can we be sure that Jesus was indeed resurrected and glorified? We have the testimony of eye-witnesses.

Study these texts. How do they verify the resurrection and glorification of Jesus Christ?
Resurrection:
John 20

 

1Corinthians 15:1-8

 

Glorification
Matthew 17:1-9 (just a glimpse in advance)

Acts 9:1-9

Revelation 1:12-18

 

There are over 500 eye-witnesses of the resurrected Jesus. And there are four New Testament eye-witnesses of the divine glory of Jesus: Peter, James, John and Paul. For the rest of us, we wait for his coming ... when he will be revealed in all his glory. Then we will see him as he really is. Then our faith will become sight, and our confident and certain hope vindicated.

How is the future revelation of Christ’s glory expressed in these verses?
Luke 17:30

2Thessalonians 1:7

1Peter 4:13

1John 3:1,2

This certainty, this divine identity and glory of Christ is a motivation for godly living.

B.9 ‘Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth ...’ 1:22
Peter now refers to a change that took place in those who have received Jesus Christ. It is a change that happened at the moment they ‘obeyed’ the truth – the moment they believed in Jesus Christ.

When Peter used the word ‘purified’ he certainly did not mean ‘perfect’, because in 2:1 he commands them to rid themselves of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. So there is no way that we can conclude that they were already morally perfect, morally clean.

When he says that they ‘obeyed’ it was ‘the truth’ they obeyed. We do not normally talk about obeying the truth. We usually talk about obeying commands or instructions, or obeying a person. However, Paul speaks of obeying the good news [Romans 10:16 Greek text; NIV – ‘accepted the good news’], and of obeying the truth [Galatians 5:7]. And Peter wrote of people who did not obey the word [3:6] or did not obey the gospel [4:17]. It seems clear then that Peter is not talking about obeying moral commands, but about making a right response to God’s truth revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ we are obeying the gospel command ‘Repent and believe!’

It is at this initial point of personal obedience to the gospel call that Peter’s readers, and all believers, ‘purified’ themselves. This is the point at which they were ‘born again ... of imperishable (seed), through the living and enduring word of God’ [1:23]. That word, which they obeyed in responding to the gospel, working in synergy with the sanctifying work of the Spirit [1:2], here produced in them both the desire and the ability to obey, and the obedience – the response.

Like the ‘sanctifying’ mentioned in verse 2, the ‘purifying’ Peter mentions in verse 22, is a salvation concept, not a progressive, personal increase in godliness. This purification is paralleled in statements made by other apostolic writers.

Check these texts which speak of an instantaneous change that took place at the point of our conversion:
Colossians 1:22

Hebrews 10:10

Hebrews 10:14

In addition, Jesus stated that the eleven faithful disciples were ‘clean because of the word I have spoken to you’ [John 15:3] – a word which they had believed, in contrast to Judas [see John 13:10,11].

When we obey the Gospel command to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ a massive change takes place:

Before we did not know God, but now we know him by knowing Christ.
Before we rejected God, but now we receive him by receiving Christ.
Before we were God’s enemies, but now we are reconciled to God through the death of Christ.
Before we were banned from God’s presence, but now we have permanent access to God through the blood of Christ.
Before we were burdened with guilt, now we stand acquitted because of Christ.
Before God kept a record of our sin, now that record has been erased by the blood of Christ.
Before our personal righteousness was disgusting to God, now we have been credited with the perfect righteousness of Christ.
Before we were children of the darkness, now we are children of the light.
Before we were under the dominion of Satan, now we are in the kingdom of Christ.
Before we were slaves of sin, now we are the children of God.
Before we were dead in sin, now we have new life in Christ.

All this and more is included in Peter’s word ‘purified’. A great purging, a great cleansing, has taken place by the application of the cross of Christ to us the moment we believed in him.

Something that is not obvious in English translations is that in the Greek ‘have purified’ is in the Perfect Tense. This tense refers to an action completed in the past, the results of which are still in place. It speaks of completion and of permanence. The words ‘have been made holy’ and ‘has made perfect’ in Hebrews 10:10 and 14 are also in the Perfect Tense. Thus, ‘have purified yourselves’, ‘have been made holy’ and ‘has made perfect forever’ all refer to an already completed action with a permanent impact.

We can therefore be assured that the massive change that took place when we first believed in Christ is a permanent change. It is, as we read in Hebrews 10:14, ‘forever’.

Let us rejoice in this grand certainty, and out of this grand certainty live our lives for him and loving our fellow Christians deeply!

B.10 ‘you have sincere love for your brothers’ – 1:22
Along with the above motivation for loving each other deeply from the heart, Peter adds this second motivation: that we already actually do love them.

If we read through the New Testament with our minds alert we will notice a recurring concept expressed in a wide range of different ways. This concept is that God commands us to be what we are – to express in our lives the changed reality that is now in place because of our union with Jesus Christ.

For example:

In Matthew 5:13 Jesus tells us we ‘are the salt of the earth’ and commands us to be salty.

In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus tells us we ‘are the light of the world’ and commands us to shine.

In John 13:34 Jesus tells us we are loved, and commands us to love one another.

In 2Corinthians 5:16-6:1 Paul tells us that God has reconciled us to himself through the death of Jesus, and commands us to be reconciled to God, to live in the joy and peace of that reconciliation, rather than receiving this gift of reconciliation in vain.

In Galatians 5:1 Paul tells us that we have been set free, and commands us to live in that freedom, and never again to allow anyone to bring us into bondage.

In Ephesians 4:32 Paul tells us that we are forgiven, and commands us to be forgiving.

In Ephesians 5:1 Paul tells us that we are God’s dearly loved children, and commands us to be like our Father.

In Ephesians 5:8 Paul tells us that we ‘are light in the Lord’ and commands us to ‘live as children of light’, refusing to participate in the darkness that surrounds us.

In Colossians 3:1-5 Paul tells us that we have died with Christ, and commands us to put to death everything inconsistent with our new life in Christ.

In 1Peter 1:2 Peter tells us that we have been sanctified [made holy] by the Spirit, and in verse 15 commands us to be holy.

In 1John 1:6 John tells us that if we live in Christ, then we should live as Jesus lived.

Now Peter, in 1:22 tells us that because we actually do have sincere love for our fellow believers we should love each other deeply, from the heart. At first this seems a bit puzzling, but this puzzle is solved by looking at the Greek words.

Firstly, Peter tells us that our right response to the truth has resulted in ‘sincere’, that is unhypocritical [the word is anupokritos], ‘brotherly love’ [the word is philadelphia]. Our union with Jesus Christ has also united us with all other genuine believers: we are all in Christ, we are all children of God, we are all members of the kingdom of Christ. There is a family unity and a family allegiance between believers, despite the fact that there is also diversity and disagreement. We love other believers, just because they also belong to Jesus, just because they are precious to Jesus. That is a fact. If it is not a fact then our confession of allegiance to Christ is questionable.

Peter sees this existing brotherly love as a motivation to a deeper, God-like, love.

B.11 ‘For you have been born again ... through the living and enduring word of God’ 1:23
This motivation is similar to B.6 above. There, the high cost of our salvation – the blood of Christ – was the motivation for godly living. Here, the high value of the word of God which brought us to faith and regeneration, is the motivation.

Just as the death of Jesus Christ is of extreme preciousness, so the word of God is extremely precious.

Read 1Peter 1:23-25. Make a list of everything that Peter says about the word of God.

 

 

 

Peter draws to our attention several qualities of the word of God:

It is the instrument of our regeneration: we are born again through, and as a result of, this word.

It is not perishable, but imperishable. It simply cannot wear out or run down. It cannot be eroded by the passing of time.

It is living. There is in in-built vitality to it. Just as Jesus said of his own words ‘they are Spirit and they are life’ [John 6:63], so the word of God, the Bible, is living. It is not just paper and ink. It is God speaking. It has the intrinsic power to give life, and that is what it has done in regenerating us, in bringing us to new life in Christ.

It stands forever. It is not transient or temporary like the physical world, including humans. It will never become obsolete. It will never cease to be relevant. It will never come to an end.

It is the word that was preached to us, and through which we believed.

This is the motivation for godly living: that God so loved us, that God so wanted to save us and make us his own, that he gave us his word, and by that word brought us back to himself.

B.12 ‘... so that you may grow up in your salvation’ – 2:2
[Note: The KJV does not include the words ‘in your salvation’. They are, however, in some of the oldest of the Greek manuscripts.

This is the motivation Peter gives us for craving the word of God.

The New Testament makes it very clear that in Christ those who believe in him have already received multi-faceted salvation – a salvation that is secure, kept for us by God just as God is also keeping us for salvation. We have, Paul teaches, been blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing. As we have seen already in Peter’s letter, there is still one aspect of salvation to be revealed and received: that final liberation from sin and suffering that occurs at the return of Christ.

But Peter also talks of a different perspective on this salvation that we already possess in Christ: that it is something that we grow into.

Imagine a small boy who is given a coat that is too big for him. It is his. It keeps him warm. But he is obviously not the same size as the coat. The small boy and the large coat, seen together, are incongruous. It doesn’t seem right that this boy should have this coat. But the boy grows, year after year, and the incongruity between the boy and coat becomes less and less.

A similar incongruity and lack of ‘fit’ exists between believers and the salvation they possess in Christ:

How can this guilty person possibly be acquitted? [Romans 4:5].
How can this imperfect person possibly be called ‘perfect’? [Hebrews 10:14].
How can this sinner possibly be forgiven? [Colossians 2:13-14].
How can this very ordinary person possibly be called ‘holy’? [Hebrews 10:10].
How can this person who still struggles against temptation possibly be called ‘redeemed’?
How can this human being be called a child of God? [1John 3:1].

This list could go on.

Peter encourages us to hunger for the word of God, because by that word we will grow into our salvation. What does he mean? He means that as we hear, understand, believe and obey the word of God that word will do its work in us. The Spirit of God will take that word about Jesus Christ and what he has done for us and gradually, step by step, work at transforming us into the image of God. This is what God created us for. And this is what God saved us for.

Study these texts. How do they express the truth that Peter here terms growing into salvation?
Romans 12:1-2

2Corinthians 3:17-18 (2011 NIV)

Ephesians 4:11-16

Philippians 1:6

Philippians 2:12,13

1John 3:1-3

This is another instance of what we saw in section B.10 above – there we saw that Peter encouraged us to be what we are. Here he encourages us to so crave the word of God that we become in ourselves more and more what we already are in Christ. This process will never be perfected in this life, as the three verses from John’s letter indicate. But, as John wrote, when Christ appears we will be instantly like him. The transformation will be complete. In the meantime, by feeding on the word of God we increasingly grow into that salvation.

B.13 ‘... you have tasted that the Lord is good’ – 2:3
This is Peter’s final motivation for holy living. This is also the motivation for that love of God’s word that ensures our spiritual growth. We have already ‘tasted’ that the Lord is good – we have seen the Son of God, and we have received his salvation. All that we already know about him makes us want to know more about him.

Read these texts. What impact does the knowledge of God and his word have when it is allowed to have its way in our lives?
John 8:32

Ephesians 3:16-19

Ephesians 4:13

Ephesians 6:14-17

Philippians 1:9-11

Colossians 1:9-12

Colossians 3:9-10

James 3:13

2Peter 1:2-8

 

CONCLUSION
In 1:13 to 2:3 Peter has given us many commands about how to live as the people of God. He has also given us many reasons or motivations why we should commit ourselves to live godly lives – why we should be holy.

It is very obvious from these commands and these motivational truths that sin, although forgiven, is never appropriate. Sin is never okay. This section of Peter’s letter outlaws any idea we might have that forgiveness gives us a licence to sin. We belong to a Father who is incredibly and absolutely holy. He has redeemed us through the death of his beloved Son. That death of this Son is the clearest demonstration of what God thinks about sin.

Space is provided below for you to write a prayer of commitment to God – your personal response to the commands and motivations given by Peter in these verses.

My prayer of commitment: