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1 Peter 1:13-16

Call to Holiness in conduct

13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

The various translations of verse 13, including the more famous ‘gird up the loins of your Mind’, all concur in stressing that St. Peter is issuing a call for stenuous action on our part. 1:3-12 is, in the Greek, one long sentence, so this verse is a bridging passage, but it also contains the assurance that what we hope for in Christ will be granted. We can only attain what we hope for, and live up to the injunction which follows if we have our minds fixed on the final outcome and we trust in Christ. The implication – that our own strength is too little – is plain.

Peter follows His Master in taking literally the fact that God is Our Father; we are called to be as obedient as children. Once we were ignorant (compare Rom. 1:18-32), but now we are not. Previously we lived according to our own devices and desires, constrained, if at all, only by the laws of Society; now we have to deny those sinful impulses. Once ignorant of God, now we are not; once under the control of our impulses, now we are controlled by God’s law; lives which were once futile will find real meaning in Christ. Later, in 4:1-5, Peter will tell us the sorts of things from which we are to desist.

The reason is given in verse 16 – we are to be Holy as Our Father in Holy. This is a call from Leviticus 19:2. He does not say that the whole of the Law there is to be applied, but he does establish the continuity with the OT and its calls for us to be transformed by our relationship with God: we are reminded too of Lev. 11:4; 20:7-8; 20:26 here. The Greek is from the LXX. Matthew 5:48 tells us God is holy and acts in a holy way; if we are His, we should do likewise. We are to be set aside from the society in which we live.

The road of the Christian is not smooth; but the rewards are there – for those who will follow.