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. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:13-16 ESV)
So first, hope in God’s grace. And second, be holy. Hope and holiness—two qualities Peter commands his audience to have. Is Peter just picking random Christian virtues from out of a hat and demanding that we obey them? Or is there an order to his thinking here?
I believe Peter has thought this through and knows exactly what he wants to say. It’s no accident that hope comes first and holiness comes second. You can’t be truly holy without hope, and hope that doesn’t result in holiness is fake. Can I say it like this: the source of biblical holiness is hope, and the fruit of biblical hope is holiness. Hopeless holiness is fake holiness. Hope that doesn’t birth holiness is misplaced hope. Remember this. Write this down somewhere—hope is the foundation of holiness.
Hope, or forward looking faith, has the power to say no to sin. In fact, hope is the sheath that holds tight the sword of the Spirit. God’s promises are nothing for us if we don’t hold them tightly. Anyone who hopes in an eternal rest will be willing to be exhausted here. Anyone who hopes in an infinite inheritance will be generous with their money here. Anyone who hopes in the rewards of suffering will not fear risk here. He who hopes in God will not look to the world for satisfaction– he’s smarter than that– he knows this world can’t satisfy him. “Everyone who thus hopes in [God] purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:3).
It is belief in the fulfillment of these promises that allow us to soar above the temptations of this world. It’s not Red Bull that gives you wings, it’s hope.
Practically speaking, what does that mean?
Really believe in divine appointments. Really believe in all-sufficient grace. Really believe in future rewards. Really believe obedience is better. Get your mind and heart around the glories of all we’ve been given now and will be given then. Hope in them. And then stop sinning.
Drink of these celestial glories and be satisfied.
When your soul is so small that you can’t fit the big joys of heaven inside it, you’ll substitute them with the fleeting pleasures of this world. And in doing so, holiness will be crowded out by worldliness.
“No one eats the bologna sandwich when they can smell the sizzling steak on the grill.”