Friday, January 15, 2010

New Birth, New Mind, New Life

The Faith Log reaches a milestone today with this, the 1,000th post.
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16)
“Therefore” — because of the new birth, the living hope, the incorruptible inheritance and inexpressible joy we have in Jesus — “gird up the loins of your mind.” The mind, of course, has no loins. “Girding the loins” is a metaphor for preparing for action. The robes worn in Peter’s day could be gathered up for one to move quickly and easily. “Prepare your mind for actions” is how the NASB puts it. Or as The Message says, “Put your mind in gear.”

Peter wants believers to be prepared to think in a new way because of what God is revealing to us and in us. Paul speaks similarly in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Both Peter and Paul tell us that we need to renew our thinking with the truth of the gospel.

“Be sober,” Peter says, or “sober-minded” (ESV), or “sober in spirit” (NASB). He is talking about being directed by this new way of thinking. We are to set our hope, our expectation, on the grace of God that brings us this salvation, which will come to its completion when Jesus is revealed at the end of the age, and we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).

“As obedient children.” Through faith in Jesus the Messiah, we receive new birth and become children of God. The Greek word for “obedience” comes from a root, hypakouo, which has to do with hearing. As children of God, we are to give heed to a new voice. “Not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance.” Conformity speaks of our outward manner of life. Before we knew God, we were left to our own corrupt desires. But these no longer match the inward reality of who we now are in Jesus. As Paul said in Romans 12:2, we are not to be conformed but transformed, so that our outward manner corresponds to our inner being, our new life in Messiah.

Peter says the same thing as Paul, only in a different way: “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” God has called us and it is now His voice we are to listen to. Our manner of life is to reflect what He is like — we can do that now because of our new life in Jesus. God is “holy,” which means that He is set apart; there is no one else like Him in all the world. We, too, are holy, which means that we are set apart as God’s own, and our lives should demonstrate that. Paul speaks of the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), the work of God’s Spirit to bring forth the character of Jesus the Messiah in our lives.



Keeping the Faith When Things Get ToughKeeping the Faith When Things Get Tough
Peter’s Letter to Jesus Believers Scattered Everywhere
Bite-Sized Studies Through First Peter
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.