1st PETER (….continued)

3.         Sanctification Of The Believer        
(a)   “Be Holy”                                                
Therefore, in consideration of our great salvation, our incorruptible inheritance in Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit “prepare your minds for action” . We can live holy lives by complying with what Peter persuades us:
·         “be self-controlled” one of the most difficult disciplines of the Christian life which includes humility, compassion, kindness, Christ-likeness. Remain worthy of our calling (in Christ), do not covet “earthly things”
·         “set your hope fully on the grace to be given you” this should be our primary thought as we consider all that Christ has done and has promised us
·         “do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”  Pointing back to the need for self-control we are encouraged to conform to spiritual things
·         “Be holy, because I am holy.” because the One who has called us is holy, we are expected to be holy (sanctified, separated) unto God in every aspect of our lives, in the same way as the Old Testament priests in the Tabernacle were called to be
·         “live your lives as strangers here” again we are reminded that we are pilgrims in a barren land and we should not attempt to set up permanent residence but look forward to a “better” dwelling place
·         “in reverent fear.”  we are not terrified of God but exhibit a wholesome reverence, submission and respect for Him
·         “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed…..but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”  this should be the primary reason for us to live a sanctified life in consideration of the price that was paid for our redemption ; He was chosen by the foreknowledge of The Father before the creation of the world and revealed to us in these last days as our sacrifice for our sins , and through Christ we believe in God “who raised him from the dead and glorified him”, and His resurrection is the foundation of our faith and our hope .
(b)    “Love One Another”                
“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.”  This was the command of Christ to His disciples while He was on the earth and is the command to all His disciples today . We are reminded that we are born again by imperishable seed (the Word) through the “living and enduring word of God.” and the reason why we should love one another is because life is short, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall” , but although this may be so, the greater reason is that “the word of the Lord stands forever. And this is the word that was preached to you.” , or more important – Christ’s command to us.
(c)    “Desire The Pure Milk Of The Word”            
Our sanctification requires devotion to God and love for our fellow believers, and is directly related to our knowledge and living according to the Word of God; “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” . In order to accomplish this type of behaviour we must “crave pure spiritual milk” exhibiting an unrestrained hunger for the knowledge of the Scriptures and as in a healthy maturing child milk gives way to solid food, so we need to progress to the deeper truths of God’s Word; “so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
(d)    “Offer Up Spiritual Sacrifices”                                   
Maturity will then produce in us what God has intended, for we “are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”. This will be accomplished in us as we draw closer to Christ “the living Stone — rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him”. The picture here is one of the priests in the Tabernacle/Temple who were sanctified for their duties which included the offering of the daily sacrifices, but unlike them we offer the One Eternal Sacrifice – none other than Christ Himself as we worship and praise Him for our salvation. God’s promise to us who believe is that as “living stones” we come to Him “The Living Stone” –  “For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” . We shall never be put to disgrace because He is precious to The Father and we have believed in Him, unlike those who have not believed “But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone” and because of unbelief they will stumble and fall under the judgment of God, “They stumble because they disobey the message — which is also what they were destined for.”. Therefore we must understand that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” .
(e)    “Abstain From Fleshly Lusts”              

We are duly warned and encouraged to live holy as “aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.”; in the same way as the priests of ancient times had to live a strict sanctified life in order to qualify for the office. Today we are called to “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”. When we live a life that is glorifying to God we will not have to defend or excuse ourselves to those that do not believe in God.

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