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The Marks of the Redeemed
I've been preaching through Peter's first letter for the past several weeks. I will be wrapping up chapter one this Sunday with a look at 1 Peter 1:13-25. The title of the message is "That Day Matters Right Now." By "That Day," I am actually referring to two separate days--the day you came to faith in Jesus and the day you see Jesus. Both days matter right now and Peter makes it a point, as he begins this section, to look back to the blessings of redemption and forward to the--you guessed it--blessings of redemption. He writes, "Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13).
By using the word, "therefore," Peter is pointing his readers back to what he just said in the previous 12 verses. In so doing, he is pointing us to that day number one--the day you came to faith in Jesus and all the blessings of redemption you came into at that time. What are some of these blessings of redemption that became ours the day we said yes to Jesus' free offer of forgiveness? Here are a few.
1. You were chosen (v.1)
2. You were caused to be born again (v.3)
3. You received an imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance (v.4)
4. Your inheritance is reserved and protected in heaven (vv.4-5)
5. You have a proven faith (v.7)
6. You are obtaining, by faith, the salvation of your soul (v.8)
7. You are a partaker of the majesty and mystery of salvation (vv.10-12)
I'm sure I missed a few but you get the gist. The fact you came to faith in Jesus in the past affects the present. The present, however, is not the only thing it affects. It also affects your future--that day when you see Jesus. And that day also affects right now. Peter captures this in verse 13 when he writes, "Prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Here the focus is on that day in the future when you see Jesus face-to-face. Taken together, that day matters right now. The fact I have been saved and I will one day see Jesus ought to affect how I live my life now, especially in the midst of suffering.
In the rest of the chapter, Peter gives us five marks of the redeemed. They are,
1. Alertness (v.13)
2. Obedience (v.14)
3. Holiness (vv.15-16)
4. Fear (vv.17-21)
5. Affection (vv.23-25)
These five marks ought to be identifiable in the life of one who names the name of Jesus. How are you doing? Can you point to these marks as ever increasing evidence you truly belong to Jesus? Let me take a few moments to unpack the marks in order that we might fully understand what Peter is writing.
First of all, by Alertness, I mean Godly Thinking. This is where the battle for these marks really beings--in the mind. Paul reminds us in Romans 12 of the importance and necessity of renewing our minds through the Word of God. Peter pretty much says the same thing when he writes, "Prepare your minds for action." In so doing we are to "keep sober in spirit," and "fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." So, don't get fuzzy minded but keep your mind thinking on Jesus. Think on heavenly things (see Colossians 3:1-4).
Secondly, Peter calls us to a life of Obedience. In so doing he encourages us not to "be conformed to the former lusts." These former lusts were ours in our spiritual ignorance, according to Peter. But now, in Christ, we have the mind of Christ (see Philippians 2:5-11). Since we have the mind of Christ we ought to think like Jesus. We do this by staying alert and renewing our minds through the Word of God. Again, the battle for these marks begins and ends in the mind.
Thirdly, Peter tells us we are to pursue a life of holiness because of the fact we are identified with Jesus. He writes, "Like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior" (1 Peter 1:15). God's calling upon our lives is one of continual and ongoing separation from the world. It is an ongoing battle to put sin to death. I am to be in practice who I am in position. I have been made holy through the life and death of Jesus. Since that's who I am in Christ my practice should reflect that, "Because it is written, YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY" (1 Peter 1:16).
A fourth mark of redemption is Fear, by which I mean a reverent fear. He says we are to "conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth" (1 Peter 1:17). "During the time of your stay on earth" ought to clue each one of us into the fact this life is not all there is and there is a day of reckoning coming. Since we will all one day stand before Christ we ought to conduct ourselves in fear--a godly fear that leads me to renew my mind, live obediently, and strive for holiness.
A final mark Peter mentions is Affection. In the last few verses of chapter one Peter writes about a brotherly affection we ought to have for one another. This affection is one of choice--we choose to love one another just as God in Christ has and does love us. He writes, "Fervently love one another from the heart" (1 Peter 1:22). By "fervently," he means a love that is stretched to the limits. Only those who belong to Christ have the capacity to love like this. This kind of affection meets others at their point of need.
Peter wraps up this section and this chapter with a reference to the power of the Word of God to regenerate sinners and renew minds. This ties everything back to the first mark--Alertness--and the fact our ability to develop these marks of redemption begins and ends in the mind. Let us, therefore, commit to right and renewed thinking through the power of the living Word!
You are welcome to leave comments and you don't have to necessarily agree with me. However, I expect a civil tone and charitable spirit. We can disagree with one another without being disagreeable. "Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt." (Colossians 4:6)
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