“Live your lives here in reverent fear.” (1 Pet. 1:17)
“You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house….” (1 Pet. 2:5)
“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 of visitation.” (1 Pet. 2:12)
“…by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.” (1 Pet. 2:15)
What a challenge! How can we live so powerfully that others glorify God? How can God’s people be a dynamic spiritual house? How can we live in harmony with one another? A closer look at Peter’s first letter reveals three important clues to help us meet the challenge of being God’s people in a hostile, alien world. Our lives are based in the living God who imparts life. Three times Peter describes God’s work in our lives as “living,” enabling us to truly “live.” His word, revealing his Son, gives us hope.
I. Hold onto a living hope, 1:3.
Through our new birth, mirroring the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God gives us a living hope. Baptism does not serve only to wash away the sins of the past. We are born into a living hope and eternal inheritance untouched by the decay of this world. The changes wrought in our lives last because our hope is alive. Ours is no yo-yo existence with continual ups and downs.
Our hope is based not only on God’s power in Christ’s resurrection, but also on God’s power to shield his faithful ones. The God who has acted on our behalf in Christ’s death continues to intervene providentially for our protection. Our faith in Christ works to protect us, prove us, and deliver us. Because of what God has done in raising and glorifying Christ, our faith and hope are in God.
II. Look to God’s living, enduring word, 1:23.
Our new birth is through God’s living word. Redemption from the vanity of this world and liberation from the emptiness of human traditions is not accomplished with this world’s resources. If it were, it could not last. The world will wither, but God’s word stands firm forever.
Obeying the truth purifies us, craving God’s word builds up our spiritual life, living God’s word makes us like Jesus as influences others.
III. Imitate God’s Living Stone, 2:4.
We, as living stones, resemble the Living Stone. God’s call is to holiness and spiritual sacrifice. God has chosen us as a nation of kings and priests, as his holy possession, to declare his praises.
How will others know to praise God? Our abstinence from sinful desires, our determination to do good, our willingness to be God’s servants show forth his excellencies.
We can do it because God stands by us. We hope because the God of all grace has called us to glory in Christ. We stand firm in the faith of God’s word. We believe that the power of God’s Living Stone imparts to us life, even in suffering and travail, restoring us, and making us strong, firm, and steadfast.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast” (1 Pet. 5:10).