Gird Up the Loins of Your Mind

Peter said in verse 13, “Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves . . .” (New Revised Standard Version).  New International Version says like this, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober . . .”

This Bible verse reminds us the night of Passover (Exodus 12).  It was the night God brought the Israelite out of Egypt to free them from the life of bondage and slavery.  They were told to eat the Passover Lamb while they were holding canes in their hand, wearing shoes, and girding up the loins so that they could evacuate as soon as possible.  When strenuous action was necessary, the Israelite shortened the long robe by pulling it up within the belt so that they could move freely.  The English equivalent of the phrase would be to roll up one’s sleeves or to take off one’s jacket.  “Be sober” or “discipline yourselves” means to stay alert by refraining from drunkenness and be steady in their mind.   Our God expects us to live our lives with sense of urgency, be alert and ready for actions.  Rev. Jim Cymbala of Brooklyn Tabernacle said, “We began to think of ourselves as a ‘Holy Ghost emergency room’ where people in spiritual trauma could be rescued” (p.29, Fresh Fire, Fresh Wind).

Live the Life of Holiness

Peter says in verses 14-16, “Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance.  Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”  The word for holy is hagios in Greek, whose root meaning is different.  For example, the temple is hagios because it is different from other buildings; the Sabbath or Sunday is hagios because it is different from other days; the Christian is hagios because he or she is different from others.  To live a life of holiness, we must do two things.  We must stop living the life (sinful and self-centered life) we used to live.  I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in August 1991 through an altar call.  When I invited Jesus come into my heart, he revealed all my big and small sins I had committed before—lie, stealing, cheating . . .etc.  Peter describes these kinds of sin like this, “ . . . the desires that you formerly had in ignorance.”  He tells us stop living this kind of life because we now know better.

And we must obey God’s Words.  That’s why Peter said, “Like obedient children . . .”  We know how the original sin came into this world.  It came through the willful disobedience of Adam and Eve.  Obedience is expected from children but not from strangers.  Just as parents train their children to be obedient, our heavenly Father trains us to be obedient.

Even though they knew what right thing to do was, they still chose to disobey God because they wanted to control their own lives.  God also said, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” This is another reason why we should live a different life from other people in the world.  By living a different life from the secular people or non-believers, we are actually imitating our heavenly Father.  Our friends and neighbors can see and experience God’s amazing grace and his great love through our lifestyles.  St. Francis is one of the most famous saints in Church history.  He’s so significant that the current pope—Pope Francis—chose to take his name.  He was an ordained deacon in the Roman Catholic Church.  He said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” 

Live in Reverent Fear

The Apostle Peter says in verse 17, “If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile.”  Once again, Peter emphasizes the importance of our lifestyle.  Since our God judges based on our actions and lifestyles, what we say and what we do greatly matter.  He tells his readers to live their lives in reverent fear during the time of their exile.  We are strangers and aliens in this world until God takes us to our permanent home in heaven.

Paul said in Philippians 2:13, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his purpose.” What does it mean to work out our salvation with fear and trembling? Paul can hardly be encouraging believers to live in a continuous condition of nervousness and anxiety. That would contradict his many other exhortations to peace of mind, courage, and confidence in the God who authors our salvation. The Greek word translated “fear” in this context can equally mean “reverence” or “respect.”  Paul himself came to the Corinthian church in “weakness and fear, and with much trembling” (1 Corinthians 2:3), mindful of the great and awesome nature of the work in which he was engaged.

The sense in which we are to work out our salvation in fear and trembling is twofold. First, the Greek verb rendered “work out” means “to continually work to bring something to completion or fruition.” We do this by actively pursuing obedience in the process of sanctification.  The “trembling” he experiences is the attitude Christians are to have in pursuing this goal—a healthy fear of offending God through disobedience and an awe and respect for His majesty and holiness. Psalms 2:11 sums it up perfectly, “Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling.”  While we are living in this world, God expects us to live with this kind of attitude.

 

Being Washed by the Blood of Jesus Through Repentance

Peter said in verses 18-19, “You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.”  You and I keep our bodies clean by taking shower every day.  We use water, soap, shampoo, body wash . . . etc.  We keep our clothes clean by washing them.  We keep our house and car clean by vacuuming them regularly.  How do you keep your soul  clean?  According to Peter, we keep our souls clean by washing them with the precious blood of Jesus.  Revelation 7:14-15, “So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them.”

Through his blood, we are saved.  It is also through the blood of the lamb, we can keep our souls clean and ready to stand before the throne of God.  So we sing,

 Would you be free from the burden of sin?
 There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
 Would you o’er evil a victory win?
 There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the precious blood of the Lamb.Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;
There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is pow’r, pow’r, wonder-working pow’r
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

 

Abide in Jesus Christ

Peter said in verse 21, “Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.”  He said that we have come to trust in God through Jesus Christ.  God is the One who raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory.  Through Jesus Christ, we can keep our faith and hope in God.  Jesus said in the Gospel of John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”  By maintaining a close and intimate relationship with Jesus, we can bear lots of fruits in our ministries and giving glory to God.  Without Jesus, none of us will be saved nor can accomplish God’s will.  That’s why the writer of the Letter of Hebrews says in chapter 12, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 

 

Let us prey.