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February 6

1 Peter 1:13-25

13 Therefore, get your minds ready for action, being self-disciplined, and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance 15 but, as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. 17 And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one's work, you are to conduct yourselves in reverence during this time of temporary residence. 18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things, like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the times for 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 By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the brothers, 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 enduring word of God. 24 For All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower drops off, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached as the gospel to you. — 1 Peter 1:13-25

You Have Been Born Again of Imperishable Seed

by Forrest Smith

It is one of my favorite scenes from the movie Braveheart. Just before the battle of Stirling, William Wallace (Mel Gibson) has a brief chat with his close friends. As he is getting ready to ride away with the Scottish nobles to parley with the English, his friend Hemish says, “Where you goin’?” Wallace responds, “I’m going to pick a fight.” As he rides away Hemish says, “Well, we didn’t get dressed up for nothin’.” All of this of course in a rough Scottish brogue. I always laugh at that line. These guys were geared for battle, and that was what they were about to have.

Peter offers us a similar portrait in our passage today, and I love the way he does it. The words “With your minds ready for action,” in the Greek is literally, “Gird up” or “Having girded up the loins of your mind.” Peter presents us with the image of a soldier or athlete who is preparing for swift action. The question is, for what and in what manner is one to “gird up the loins” of their mind?

These verses are rich, but there are three main points. First, we gird our minds with the knowledge that by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead He has given us new birth into a living hope. Second, we have the assurance of Christ’s return and future revelation. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we have the living Word of God, the gospel, which endures forever.

But what are we preparing our minds for? In verse 14 Peter says, “Do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.” It is a construction almost identical to that of Romans 12:2. You see, without Christ, His resurrection and the expectant hope we have in Him and His returning, our lives have only one goal: the self. Once we have filled our barns, we can “Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry” (Luke 12:19 NIV). 

But Christ changes everything! We as believers are to be holy. To be holy is to be utterly distinct and different. His resurrection and the hope we have of His return quicken our spirit to new life and to selfless love. It is for this sincere love from a pure heart that we gird our minds: love for God and for one another.

The paradigm shift is from our former ignorance to a mind prepared for action and girded with the knowledge of the gospel, Jesus, and the hope of His return. Our value judgments shift. He has put eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and our minds are set on Christ, who is seated above (Colossians 3:1-2). As a result, our attitude and our actions are guided by love.

Praxis

  1. How might the reality of Christ’s resurrection and the hope of His return change how you view decisions, big or small, that you are facing?
  2. It is not a question of whether one choice is more “spiritual” than another, but rather ask yourself what value one has over the other in view of the gospel and the expectant hope of Christ’s return.
  3. Consider the life of Jesus. He took time to eat and enjoy life with those closest to Him, but He also leveraged each moment for the sake of the gospel, to show love, grace, and mercy and to teach. How can you leverage the time you spend doing what you already do in this manner?
  4. (Extra Credit) Pick a Gospel, perhaps Mark, and read it. Most people can get through that in an hour or two. Does a pattern emerge which indicates what is important to Jesus?