Dolly Madison, wife of the fourth president of the United States, was one of the most popular women in American history. Wherever she went, she charmed everyone – obscure and well-known, rich and poor.
She was once asked to explain the secret of her power over others. Surprised by the question, Mrs. Madison exclaimed, "Power over people? I have none. I desire none. I merely love everyone." And those who love are richly rewarded by love returned.
In her journey as First Lady, Dolly Madison journeyed with a purpose. And that purpose was to love everyone she met. The Christian life is a journey. A journey where we are instructed to love God and love people regardless of our circumstances. In fact, in Romans Paul tells us that God is working all things for our good when we are called according to His purpose – loving Him and loving others.
Peter is writing to a dispersed church. People he calls foreigners in chapter 1 are on a journey. Peter instructs them to walk with hope in the present, to live with hope for the future, and to walk in holiness. 1 John 3:3 states, everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure. Peter is challenging his readers to live a holy life.
Warren Wiersbe wrote, “However, it is not easy to live in this world and maintain a holy walk. The anti-God atmosphere around us that the Bible calls 'the world' is always pressing against us, trying to force us to conform.” Peter, recognizing the struggle, presented to his readers several spiritual incentives to encourage them to maintain a holy walk in a corrupt world.
In these verses, Peter instructs his audience on two of the pillars of holy living. First, he says to them “Set your hope …completely on Christ. Secondly, his instruction is for them to “be holy.” They are hopeful because of Christ and holy in conduct because God Himself is holy.
This new life that has been revealed and received through Christ now reveals that our former way of living was wrong. Before Christ, Peter says we were ignorant. Now, we can no longer make that claim. We are called to a new conduct – a conduct that reflects the holiness and character of God. And, yes, even in difficult times.
Peter uses the Israelites' current situation to teach us a spiritual truth. He calls them strangers – a people who are only in a temporary condition. As Christians, we are strangers to the world. We are passing through. And just as the Israelites were to live holy during their time of exile, we are to live holy in our time as strangers to this world.
The struggle is not us believing we have been called to live holy. The difficulty is in living out the call to be holy. Holiness rooted in willpower fails, but holiness birthed in Christ prevails. Interestingly, Peter explains why holy living is achievable. Holy living is rooted in our new birth (vs. 13b), our ignorance being replaced with revelation (vs. 14), and our new desire to please the One who rescued us (vs. 18).
And since we have been redeemed, verse 17 says we are to live in reverence (holy fear) during our time as strangers. Our redemption purifies us from sin. Our repentance distances us from our sin. Peter says proof of redemption is love. Brotherly love shown constantly to one another. We are to show this love to one another because, through Christ, God loved us.
As Dolly Madison said so well, "Power over people. I have none. I desire none. I merely love everyone." As Christ loved us, let us live loving one another.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here