1 Peter 1:3-25
Being a member of a Christian church or claiming to be a Christian does not make someone a Christian. A true Christian is a person who not only claims to be a follower of Christ, but one who also lives Christ in his or her earthly life.
The kind of life a true believer lives is what separates him or her in this hostile world. The true believer’s life has or must have three distinctions.
A life of hope (1 Peter 1:3-12)
This world offers no lasting hope. As sinners, we had no hope beyond the grave. We were under the sentence of death, hopelessly lost. But Jesus Christ, in His great mercy, paid the penalty for our sins. “Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ – without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:12-13)
The believer has a living hope because he has a living Saviour. It is not only a living hope, but also a lasting hope. When we are born again, we have the sure hope of an inheritance in heaven that can never perish, spoil or fade.
A life of holiness (1 Peter 1:13-21)
The blessed hope should make us live holy lives. “Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” (1 John 3:3)
In 1 Peter 1:16, “holy” does not mean sinless perfection – a condition that is impossible in this life. 1 John 1:8-10 explains that “holy” means set apart, separated for God. Our lives as believers should emulate the holy character of God. We must be holy in all we do and say! We must make a clean break with the corrupt world system from which Christ died to deliver us.
We are in the world but not of the world. This does not mean that we must isolate ourselves from sinners; rather, we must bring the Good News to them. Yet, in our dealings and relationships with them, we must never share in or condone their sins. We must show by our lives that we are children of God.
The moment we become like the world, our testimony is weakened. Why would unbelievers want to become Christians if they can’t see a difference, a change for the better in our lives? Being holy does not imply passive inactivity, and it doesn’t come easy or naturally. You must fight for it. “Therefore, prepare your minds for action” (1 Peter 1:13).
Living a holy life is not optional – it is a command! The great need today is for Christians to live separated, holy, dedicated lives for the glory of God. Many Christians are so worldly that their testimony (if they have one) is meaningless. If a testimony of salvation is not backed up by a corresponding life, it does more harm than good.
A life of harmony (1 Peter 1:22-25)
Salvation gives us a living hope, a desire for a holy life and a wonderful fellowship with the people of God. The Apostle Peter once again reminds us that, because we are born again into the family of God through Christ, we must love as He loved us all.
One of the things this new birth brings into our lives is love! Loving is not optional either. It is part of the Christian life and character. True, unselfish Christian love brings harmony to the church and to the believers themselves.
King David wrote, ” How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.” (Psalm 133:1)
The Bible says that the outward evidence our salvation is the love we have toward each other. Not “friendship” love, not “I like you” love, not even “I am in love with you” love – these kinds of love are found and practised in the world, too. Pure, unselfish Christian love does not come naturally. It is not part of our human nature. This love is a special kind of love that comes, or must come, with the new birth.
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:22-23)
People around us will know we are true followers of Christ by our love, not by our words alone.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
The Christian life is a life of hope, holiness and harmony. Only one, or even two of three, will not do.
Pastor Joseph Hovsepian