10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. – 1 Peter 1:10-12
Peter continues on in this chapter, explaining to the Jews what they have longed for has occurred. The Old Testament that contained the prophesy of a coming Messiah had come true. That what their ancestors longed for, has happened.
There have been many similar stories of lost military troops that were engaged in battle and did not know the war was over. Out in the world, following through on their missions, taking on the enemy, fighting for what they believed was right, meanwhile, the leaders have drawn up a treaty and the war is over. The troops engaged are unaware, the news has to be shared. This is the same situation Peter was facing.
This section talks about the how the angels long for the moment, and that was the coming of the messiah. All of the Old Testament points to the coming of the messiah, and we have a similar situation in the future. Prophesy has also told us that there will be anti-christ, there will be the return of Christ, and there will be a day when this is fulfilled.
We need to grasp what the Jews had in mind and their passion for the coming messiah was not weak, but they just were not informed that he had come and died. There was no internet, iPhones, Facebook and twitter. News really did not travel that fast. Eternal history came and went and was undetected by many.
13 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. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:13-16 ESV
The ESV translation has taken the verse and put it nicely into words that we can relate to, but in their time, Peter was a bit more graphic and it was a very passionate command. Remember, this New Testament letter was written in Greek and his words of instructions were:
Διὸ ἀναζωσάμενοι τὰς ὀσφύας τῆς διανοίας ὑμῶν, νήφοντες, τελείως, ἐλπίσατε ἐπὶ τὴν φερομένην ὑμῖν χάριν ἐν ἀποκαλύψει Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Those words directly translate into our English language as:
Therefore having girded up the loins of the mind of you, being sober-minded, fully set [your] hope upon the being brought to you grace at [the] revelation of Jesus Christ.
– Greek word-for-word translation
Different translations attempt to communicate the verse, but there is a very valuable lesson that gets lost when the translation drifts far from the original passion and context. This is an example of one that needs to be soaked up for our own good.
We definitely do not use the term “gird your loins” in our day. There are many culture slang terms about loins, but this whole concept of girding has vanished. The main reason is that history has changed and there is no need for us, men, to gird our loins. As we put this letter into context we need to remind ourselves of culture in its time. Men were not walking around in khakis, blue jeans or sweats. The men that were writing and reading this letter were actually in long flowing robes. We know this by the thousands of pictures capturing the times.
These robes were not like robes that people wear today. Robes today are generally used to cover up and provide and extra layer of warmth or comfort. In the days when this letter was written, the robe was worn as a symbol of modesty as well as for comfort. It was more of a adaptation of the togas and all white robes worn by saints and philosophers. The robes were cool in the hot weather and very simple in construction.
What does men’s attire have to do with verse 13 you might ask. It has a great definition for the people reading the letter. We need to understand that if we wore robes around each day, there are many things that would be more difficult. Things such as squatting down, sliding into a booth at a restaurant, and many daily activities that we take for granted today. In the days of robes there was a simple action that a person did to allow them better mobility. It was referred to as “girding your loins”.
To gird the loins a person would reach back under their robe and grab the back section and pull it through their legs and bring it up and tuck it in their belt. It seems odd at first, and even kind of resembles a diaper fashion of sorts. But what it immediately does is, that it gives immediate mobility to the legs and knees. It really turns the robe into a pair of shorts.
It was common in Peter’s time to see men in long robes and at times sometimes girded up. The act of girding up the loins was an action done when there was action to be taken. Work had to be done, action was required. It prepared a man to take on what ever he needed. It may have been working, and many times it was in preparation for fighting or battle.
Now was we take this original Greek letter into context we see the urgency that Peter is attempting to convey. Gird up the loins of your mind. Prepare your mind for action. Do not let your mind be restricted. Prepare for battle.
Following the instruction to prepare our mind for engagement, he layers that with be sober-minded. Which we can relate to better than girding loins, but literally means to not let your mind be inebriated, altered, intoxicated. It implies alertness, and evaluating things correctly, because you see clearly, and your mind isn’t numb with intoxicating influences. Do not succumb to the idea this is just about being “high”, because it is not. The word intoxicated is derived from the word toxic and that means to containing poisonous substances. We have learned that our mind and heart set the stage for our actions and behaviors. We can soak up all kinds of poison in our life today; internet junk, bad jokes, news channels, reality shows, sports, be craving sugar, steaks, our mind can be worried about finances or doctor’s appointments and we literally have an poisoned our mind. Let it be clear and alert. Let us we ready to fully function to the best of our ability. Really Peter is saying let us be fully prepared for what is coming. Don’t be caught off guard, do not be taken out.
What is so significant, what is the big deal?
Prepare for What?
For 13 verses of Peter has been explaining about the glory of Jesus’ actions and fulfillment of prophecy, now he prepares his readers for the first command of the letter. He is so passionate about what he is going to tell him that we can envision some actor or cartoon leading us in this same way:
Are you ready? Here it comes, it is going to be great. It is huge, you will not believe this. You got to get this. Don’t be distracted, be ready. Are you ready? This is not just some small thing. Clear your mind. Nothing is more important. You wont believe it. It will change your life. You don’t even believe how loved you are. Can you receive it? Do you understand the magnitude? It is heavy; bigger than anything that has happened in your life or will. Are you ready?
Set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
There is nothing more important. Whether you are a new Christian or an old weathered dog, set your hope fully on the grace of Jesus. Whether you have financial issues, relational heart ache, physical disabilities, cast them aside compared to your full hope in Jesus.
We have to continuously cast off our generation’s use of hope as a wishful thought. Our hope is confidence, as we learned last week. Our future is rooted in and based on Jesus. That is what we are saying when we label ourselves Christians. There is a wonderful song out now by Hillsong that many of us sing and it is about this context;
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness – Cornerstone by Hillsong
The past is the past
The second command that Peter brings us is to be holy. We have to do these commands in order. If we do not have hope in his grace, we will never be able to be holy. We will think it is about us and not about him.
There is a big difference in ignorance and lack of knowledge. When we don’t know, we don’t know. But when we know and decide to not care, that is the result of our will. The two can not dwell together. When you know better, there is nothing but ignorance when we don’t do what is right. We live this life in a day to day challenge of this. We run to what we have experienced and found as good, and lack the discipline and hope of greater things. How many times have we heard or said, “it does not get any better than this!” Well, that is just limiting the potential of your life. Peter instructs us:
So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. – 1 Peter 1:14 NLT
We must live to be obedient. Let us remember, we have been adopted into a family of God that we could never earn and definitely don’t deserve. When we are disobedient and we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to transform us by the renewing of the mind it is like we just got the keys to the mansion and we call up all our old friends over to reign in God’s kingdom.
We need to declare and confess we do know better than our behavior and that it does matter and it is important! For now and in the future, for all eternity. It is big, it is huge, don’t miss it. Receive it, bask in it, live it.
The New You
Each of us that has received the calling of the Spirit by responding to the Gospel of Jesus, are not expected to be more than we are. More than we can be on our own. But don’t sweat it, it is actually easier than you think. It is as Apostle John puts it, less of us and more of Him.
Each day we arise we have a gift of life which is actually the gift of experiencing the results of our thoughts and actions. We live out our potential. For any one that has spent any time in jail or had your rights taken away for a while, you can understand the idea have living a day with limited “life”. Decisions are made for you, because you are not safe or educated to make decisions for yourself. You are not allowed to live life to the fullest. This is similar to a child or even an aging person in the last years of their life. If they cannot make decisions on their own, others make decisions for them. They are not living their life by there will, but others. The scripture now propels us into action:
But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; – 1 Peter 1:15 NASB
Jesus was not holy some of the time. He did not do good on just the times when he was feeding thousands or healing people. He was holy all the time. We must not believe in the lie that tells us we have surrendered enough. We have done good now we can be rewarded. We don’t sing “I surrender some” or “I have surrendered plenty” or “I have surrendered enough”. We are called to surrender all. Do you know you never can surrender enough? Each day we have to come to the point of giving him all. Literally, cry out “take all of me, I am yours”.
Surrendering and being holy go hand in hand. Because we cannot be holy on our own. The greatest thing is, he does not make us do it alone. It is Christ in us that allows us to radiate holiness.
Christ in you is your Hope of Glory – Colossians 1:27
The instruction is to be holy as Jesus was holy, in ALL our behavior. That is whether we are at church, watching a sporting event, shopping or having lunch with someone. Peter puts it in such a way that he makes sure that the Jews knew this idea was not from him.
How does Peter clarify to the Jews that this idea of being Holy is not his idea?
Since or for it is written, what is he referring to?
44For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. 45For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy. – Leviticus 11:44-45 NASB
Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. – Leviticus 19:2 NASB
His audience would have known those verses a the law. We should always relate to the the book of Leviticus as the law book. That is where the term Levitical Law comes from. Which was derived from the God chosen people known a Levites, they were the priestly tribe of Jacob, that were set apart. These Jews would have known the Levitical laws and when Peter referenced this concept of who is holy, there would be an immediate connection.
You have been set free!
17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you. – 1 Peter 1:17-25 ESV
We have been given the gift of salvation. It was costly, more costly than gold. It more than just a blood offering. It was the blood of God. There is no more payments necessary and none can be asked. We have been set free from our past. Remember why Jesus came…
18“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed,
19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” – Luke 4:19
In that momumental inaugral speach that Jesus give, he was actually reading from the scroll of Isaiah, what we know today as chapter 61, and he declared:
“Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” – Luke 4:21
Let us live today with the full knowledge, attitude and behavior that our bail has been paid, we have been released from our past. We have the calling to live a new life, even if we have not been doing that to the best ability in our past, we have risen today with new mercies to live it today.
Be holy because Christ dwells within you and He is holy!
Here is a cute little Youtube video to illustrate for us: