1 Peter 1:10-13
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober- minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ESV
Once again we begin where we left off in 1 Peter chapter 1.
Now we’re moving on to see the impact of salvation, the effect that this salvation ought to have on us. Believers in Christ have been given a new birth. This salvation is life changing or life transforming so it must have an impact on our lives. It must be worked out in our lives. As Paul says in Philippians 2v12-13: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure”. He’s saying “work out the salvation that you’ve already freely received from God through Christ” and, by “work out” he doesn’t mean “figure out”. He means live and work accordingly.
During our last session we asked; Which version is right? I mentioned that if we were to give the NKJV the deciding vote we would have to say that the NIV is right because the NKJV says “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”. However, I went on to assert that it’s actually the ESV that gets it right.
So, having got the text itself clear in our minds let us turn to trying to understand what verse 13 is saying to us. In order to do that we will consider three simple questions: WHY, WHAT and HOW? Now for a brief refresher from last session.
WHY do we have this imperative or command?
What is the basis for it? WHAT is the imperative or command in verse 13?
HOW are we to obey the command?
There are some “chicken and egg” situations where we can go round and round in circles trying to work out what came first – “the chicken or the egg”. That is not the case with God’s grace and our obedience to His commands. It is always God’s grace that comes first.
So, having seen why Peter gives imperatives, let us now consider the next question:
What is the imperative given here in verse 13? It’s the first in a whole string of imperatives that Peter is going to set before us in the coming verses. I wonder what you would say if someone was to ask you what you should do as a consequence of being saved by the grace of God? What does God expect of you? You might say “to be thankful”. You might say “to be godly in your living”. You might say “to evangelise”. Perhaps you’d say “to be generous in caring for others and giving to the needy”. Those are all good things that should stem from our having received new life and Peter will go on to mention some of them later but the first imperative that Peter sets before us is to “set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed”.
Now Peter has already mentioned hope.
You’ll remember that back in verse 3 he said: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”.
The first thing to say about this hope that we’ve been born again to, or born again into, is that it is not mere wishful thinking.
A person might say “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow”. When they say that they mean “I don’t want it rain tomorrow but I can’t be sure whether it will or not”. A few weeks ago you might have said “I hope that England win Euro 2012”. What you would have meant by that is “it would be great if they were to win it but, realistically, they’re not likely to go beyond the quarter finals”. That, of course, is exactly what did happen. As expected, the fanciful, wishful thinking hope wasn’t realised. Now, that is not the sense of the Greek word that’s used here for “hope”. It actually conveys the idea of assurance that what is hoped for is certainly going to come to pass.
Why is that the case with the hope that we’ve been born again to?
It’s because it isn’t based on something that is unknown. It’s based on something that has already happened. What is that? Well, did you notice that in verse 3 Peter described our hope as being “a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”? You see, our hope stems from the resurrection of Jesus. Our hope is based on His resurrection and that is an historical reality. It has happened and it guarantees certain consequences.
The second thing to say about this hope that Peter mentioned in verse 3 is that he described it as being “a living hope”.
It’s not just an interesting fact to file away for future reference. No. It’s living. It’s active. It’s of practical use. So, here in verse 13 Peter says “set your hope” or “place your hope”. He’s saying that you must make use of this hope that you’ve been born again to. It’s yours. You have it. Make sure that you take hold of it and make use of it. Make sure that it affects you and informs your life.
The third thing to notice about this hope is what we are to set it upon.
According to the NIV, Peter says in verse 13: “set your hope fully on the grace to be given you”. The ESV is perhaps more accurate in saying “on the grace that will be brought to you”. Either way, what’s interesting there is the tense. We tend to think of grace as being something that believers in Christ have received and, of course, it is perfectly true that we have received God’s grace. Look at Ephesians 1v7-8 for instance: “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight”. However, Peter is here speaking of grace that is yet to be given to us or yet to be brought to us. It is grace that is still in the future.
How are we to understand what that future grace is?
Well perhaps we’ll get some idea when we recognise when we will receive that grace. Peter says that it will be “at the revelation of Jesus Christ”. He used exactly the same expression back in verse 7 where he said: “so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ”. You’ll perhaps remember that he went on to say: “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls”.
You see, at present, we don’t see Jesus.
But, the time is coming when we will. He is coming again and then He will be revealed in all His power and glory. Every eye will see Him and every knee shall bow before Him and, for believers in Christ, that will be a time of “praise and glory and honor” and we will finally “obtain the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls”. The future grace that Peter is urging us to set our hope upon is the final completion of our salvation. You see, at present, believers in Christ are “works in progress”. God has begun a good work in us. At present He’s continuing that work in us and Paul tells us that He “will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”. That is when Jesus returns.
This future grace of completed salvation will be brought to us by Jesus Christ when He comes again.
We’re given an indication of that in 1 John 3v1-3 where we read: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure”. You see, we have the great blessing of being God’s children now but there is much more to look forward to and that is what we are to set our hope upon – being made like Christ when He appears. In this life we are forgiven sinners who continue to sin. We are currently being sanctified. Then, we will be holy as He is holy and will sin no more because the work of sanctification will have been completed. That is what we are to set our hope upon.
The last thing to notice about this hope.
We are not merely to set it upon the grace to be given to us but that we are to do so fully. Peter says: “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”. We are “hope fully” or “fix our hope completely” on the grace that Jesus will bring when He comes again. The world encourages us to place our hope in all sorts of different things: status, education, money and so on. I’m sure that no believer in Christ would say that they don’t put their hope in what Jesus will bring when He comes again but is your hope partially in that and partially in something else? The command is to “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”.
Next session we are going to consider the last question.
HOW are we to obey the command?
Dr. Steve Orr
Dr Orr has served the Body of Christ in the United Kingdom for many years and in various capacities (preaching, teaching, etc.,). Steve is a regular contributor to the pages of Christ My Covenant. His insights into the Word of God will serve you in your personal study of God’s Word. Learn of Christ!