Therefore guard your minds, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children do not conduct yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. But as He who has called you is holy, so be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”1 Peter 1:13–16 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
In the text leading to this, Peter talks about salvation and how it came to us. It was foretold by prophets who saw it dimly, not quite understanding. They wanted to know it better. We also know that angels want to look into it. The conclusion Peter arrives at is to be warily sober as we live. Knowing that redemption is ours now, even though it will be complete at Jesus’ coming.
Think about it. The prophets of old did as God obstructed. They knew God and feared Him. Not that they were afraid, it is a very real reverence. In that, they were careful to do the things He instructed.
Reading the Old Testament, these prophets did say and do some rather memorable things at the instruction of God. They, too, were sober and circumspect to do things orderly as He directed.
Some of the things these prophets are asked to do include cooking food over fires made with dung and marrying a harlot who would return to her harlotry only to take her back again. These ideas seem outlandish.
They were for our instruction.
As Peter said, it was revealed to these prophets that they weren’t serving themselves, but us. Peter is exhorting us to know that we are serving others presently and in the future. Someone is paying attention to how we live out our Christianity. In fact, I am going to say that someone’s salvation may hinge on it. Not because we saved them, but right conduct in daily living pointed them to Jesus.
Conduct ourselves righty.
This naturally follows guarding our minds. We live new lives and not in the former old way. Peter uses the word lusts. It doesn’t necessarily connote a sexual idea. It is better understood as seeking first to the satisfaction of our own needs before we do so for others.
Formerly, we did that because we knew no other way. Now, having been enlightened, we are called to live circumspectly. He reminds us of the words of our Master, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your sojourning.1 Peter 1:17 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
If we are conducting ourselves in reverence to God, we live out holiness.
We must be careful to not do the works that have nothing lasting, that is caring primarily for just our own needs. These things will be confined under judgment. We must have an outward focus, directed toward others’ needs and meeting them. These are the things that will survive judgment.
For you know that you were not redeemed from your vain way of life inherited from your fathers with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.1 Peter 1:18–19 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Vanity is the old life of ignorance.
Before Jesus, the way to survive was to look out for numero uno. We did what was needed to survive and try to accumulate stuff. For some of us, that accumulation was enhanced by inheriting our parents’ things at their death. Either way, the practice was inherited for not knowing any better.
Our corruptible bodies would eventually expire. We all have an appointment with death. But what if we’ve worked hard to accumulate… If we couldn’t consume it all, it would be passed on to our progeny.
Without Jesus, most live this way, to accumulate and consume possessions. That is vanity.
All that energy is expended for things that perish and have no value in the next life. None of it redeems us. It cannot. It will perish. As would we without Jesus. Rich or poor, it’s the same way.
Without blemish or without spot.
He could only be perfect. He had to be God. It was only the blood of Christ that did redeem.
Remember that God took on this humanity. In that glorious union of the Divine with human, was a man with blood. Precious blood came from a perfect life. God is imperishable, and the blood price He paid is imperishable.
That is the better way. It is the better inheritance to share with our progeny, and everyone else.