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In trials, Be Holy!

In trials, Be Holy!
1 Peter 1:13-2:3 NIV.

Knowing the joyful truths from the last session about our faith, Peter then goes on to say, therefore...be holy! (v13).

Being holy means to live a God-centred life. It looks like not conforming to ungodly desires (v14, 2v1) but setting our minds on the eternal things of God (v13, 2v2), living in reverent fear of God (v17) and loving God's people (v22). This cuts against the grain of the me-centred worldview of life. It is, therefore, no surprise that every trial and distraction in life combats any attempt at living a God-centred life. So how do we respond?

Peter's encouragement in verse 15 is: be holy in all you do — keep being holy, continue (2 Timothy 3:12-13). In trials, be holy for three profound reasons - all based on the very nature of God.

In trials, we are to be holy (keep being, continue to be) because:

  • God is holy.
Verse 16 says "Be holy, because I am holy." We see Yahweh's holy identity in I AM (Exodus 3:14). And He is the one who called you (v15), i.e. He birthed you. Peter presents our life as a shared trait between a parent and a child. He explores this further: the physical birth by our ancestors (perishable seed) produced a perishable empty life (v18), but our new birth by our Father God through the blood of Christ and the enduring word (imperishable seed) produced imperishable, eternal life (v23) - which reflects in what we do - holy in all we do (v15).

Have you ever seen a kid behave in such a way that made you recall their parent or granny? Something that made you think, "Wow, she makes the same gestures as her Mum" or "Wow, his Dad rubs his nose like that."

Just like a child has traits of their parent, those born of God have traits of God - holy like God. And that is what it has always meant to be God's children (Leviticus 19:2, 20:26). This is the main point: in trials, keep being like your Dad - God - who is holy! (v16)

  • God is impartial in judgment.
The one we call Father judges impartially. Here, Peter calls God our Father. And this should motivate us to live in reverent fear of Him alone (v17). This reverent fear (holy living) is not hinged on condemnation but on conviction, as verse 17-18 says: we live in reverent fear "for we know that [we are on the right-imperishable-side]" of our Father's Sovereign justice.

Peter brings God's sovereignty in judgment alongside our eternal destiny to combat the ideology of fear in trials. This is important because fear is the enemy's greatest weapon in trials: What will people think if I express my Christian values? What if I lose my job or my friends?...

And the encouragement is: only your Father is sovereign, so live in reverent fear of Him alone (v17).

  • God is good.
Peter continues by saying we should desire pure spiritual milk of God's Word, an example of holy living. So why should you desire the word? Because, by it, you grow up into salvation (2v2), now that you have tasted that the Lord is good (2v3). The "grow up into salvation" points to the ongoing Christian journey, while the "now that you have tasted" points to a completed event of our new birth by the word (v23).

Peter's encouragement is that God's goodness revealed in our new birth also transcends and flows through our journey, even in trials. Here, Peter calls Him Lord (2v3). If God is so good to save us through the Lordship of His Son, then he is good to sustain us in and through trials.

In his letter, Peter continually points to the nature of God to encourage believers to persist in faith even in trials. He shows us that the right perspective of God is essential to thriving in our godly lives.

Reflect & Pray
How do trials affect your perception of God? In what way might Peter's reasons encourage you to look to God in your journey?
Thank you, Father, that because of who You are, we can trust Your word and live for You no matter life's journey in Jesus' name, amen.

God bless you exceedingly,
Sam.

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