1 Peter 1:13 – So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.
21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. 22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. 23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say,
“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And that word is the Good News that was preached to you. (NLT)
Many Christians have some difficulty understanding the concept of salvation through faith alone. Most Christians profess to believe in it, but when you get them talking, they really aren’t so certain. Is salvation a gift, or do we have to do certain things in order to earn it? Passages such as the reading for today may make the water a little muddier for some, so let’s take a closer look.
In this passage, we encounter some things that we ought to be doing: exercising self control (verse 13); living as obedient children and not living only to satisfy our own desires (verse 14); being holy in everything we do (verse 15); showing sincere and deep love for one another (verse 22). All that would seem well and good, except that Peter says the following: “He will judge or reward you according to what you do” (verse 17). Will God really judge us according to what we do? Didn’t Jesus pay the price for salvation for us by dying on the cross? Are not our sins paid in full?
We encounter numerous different writers throughout the New Testament, and each writer had a particular emphasis for his intended audience. Most of the letters in the New Testament were written to particular churches, and those particular churches may have had questions about particular subjects. Many of the people to whom Paul wrote were struggling to believe that Jesus really paid for all of their sins. So, in those letters, Paul stresses that salvation is free. Some letters were written to churches in which some people believed that since they knew about Jesus paying for their sins, that meant that they could live however they wanted. In those letters, we find an emphasis on holy living. 1 Peter is one such letter.
Salvation is free, and Jesus really did pay for our sins. However, faith in Jesus should not just be faith in some future event (eternal life). Jesus spent much of his ministry teaching us how to live, love, and to forgive. If we really have faith in Jesus for some future event, then we should have faith in Jesus’ teachings about daily life, and our faith in those teachings should be evident in our daily lives. In the end, our actions will reflect whether or not we really had faith in Jesus.
Will we be perfect, and will we always be holy? Certainly not, but there should be a difference in the way we lived before we had ‘saving faith’ and the way we lived after coming to such faith. In verse twenty-three, Peter reminds us that we have been born again. This new birth should be evidenced by new life. Our actions really do speak louder than our words. Today, let’s be sure to put our faith in Jesus into practice so that our actions speak loud and clear!
Posted by Ramón Torres