Lesson 12: November 17, 2019

1 Peter 1:13–25 People admire and emulate those who live in accord with what they say. How can we put our beliefs into action? 1 Peter teaches believers that they must live holy lives and do good, loving deeds for others, thus demonstrating that they trust in God and have been born anew.

Live Holy Lives

Bible Background • GALATIANS 5:22–23; 1 PETER 1
Printed Text • 1 PETER 1:13–25 | Devotional Reading • 1 PETER 1:3–12

Aim for Change

By the end of the lesson, we will: COMPREHEND the meaning and power of holy living that Peter commends to the exiled community, AFFIRM our rebirth in Christ through obedience to God, and COMMIT to living holy lives of imitating Christ.

In Focus

Nicole pulled her car into the church parking lot where she could see small clusters of young people heading into the building. The meeting was scheduled to begin in ten minutes, but Nicole remained in the car. This was the day she would be installed as the new community activity director.

When she returned home from college, she had accepted an assignment as the ministry assistant. In this role, she worked closely with Sister Woodson. Sister Woodson secured funding from local businesses to install a computer lab in the church activity room, worked with the local college to provide tutors, coordinated the seniors’ monthly outings and fun activities, and so much more.

A month had passed since Sister Woodson announced that she and her husband would be leaving, retiring in another state. Nicole was surprised the pastor asked her to take the position. The pastor had assured Nicole that she was the best candidate. He had also told her that the Trustee Board had unanimously agreed, and Sister Woodson had written a letter recommending Nicole. As she walked to the church, two girls ran up and threw their arms around her. One of them looked up, smiling, and said, “We’re going to miss Sister Woodson. But we’re so happy you are going to be our new director.”

How can we be confident in following and serving great leadership?

Keep in Mind

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:14–15, KJV).

“So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy” (1 Peter 1:14–15, NLT).

The People, Places, and Times

Holiness. For people and their possessions, holiness means separation from what is common or unclean, so that consecration to God can follow. A key part of what it means to be a follower of Yahweh is to separate oneself from outside influences that are not God. Again and again, in the Law, the Israelites are told not to be like other nations and to stand out as unique because they follow God. As God’s representatives to the nations and unbelievers, His people must reflect His nature. A primary characteristic of God’s nature is His holiness. Around His throne, God is praised as “holy, holy, holy.”

Background

In this letter, the first of the Petrine epistles (i.e., those written by Peter), the apostle is encouraging a congregation that is in the midst of persecution. This was probably a reference to the sufferings that were common to first-century Christians, whether it was ridicule, slander, or violence. Writing from Rome, referred to as “Babylon” in the text, Peter pens this epistle to “the Dispersion” using language often associated with the Jewish Diaspora to describe the state of early Christianity, where Jewish and Gentile Christians are spread throughout the Roman Empire. In the midst of the difficulty of everyday persecution, Peter offers encouragement, affirming that Christ’s church lives in the world of the already and the not yet, where the kingdom of God has broken into the world but has not been fully realized. In the light of this reality, the believer, though suffering, also awaits the greatest of joys. Ultimately, this is an epistle of hope in “an inheritance that is incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” and it is that hope that sustains the Christian in the midst of any trial. That hope, however, is not static but dynamic, and Peter explains what it looks like to live a life that is infused with Christian hope (1 Peter 1:13–25).

How do you usually think of hope? If your hope in Christ is imperishable, what does this mean when you face seemingly insurmountable trials?