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Hope and Holiness in Exile (1 Peter 1:13-16)

Series: 1 Peter (Living in Exile)

The Israelites had been tired, exhausted slaves for generation after generation. Each day they rose early to make bricks in the heat all day, sometimes being whipped. Each day they came home late, their bodies full of aching , slowly eating their dinners. They had cried so much. They had lost so many. So many sons. They were tired, discouraged and hopeless.


But not today. Today, there was a different energy in their cities when they got to the dinner table. Their homes had been cleansed of all leaven. A spotless lamb had been killed. Its blood had been put on the doorposts because the Angel of Death was coming that night. The lamb had been roasted over the fire. And when they gathered for dinner every single Israelite had their staffs is hand, sandals on their feet and belts fastened with their robes tucked in so they could move quickly. Most nights they slowly ate their food with tears, but not tonight. They shoveled that lamb and unleavened bread in their mouths with haste. They were tired, but there was a fire, a focus and a fear in their eyes. And when they finished dinner, all the leftover lamb was shoveled into the fire and burned. All previous goals, plans, passions were forgotten. They looked like they were ready to run. Why?


1. Set Your Hope Fully on Grace at Jesus Revelation (1:13-16)

Israel all in this way because tomorrow was the day their slavery would end. All other plans, purposes, goals, hopes for promotions or success or comfort in Egypt were forgotten. Tonight, the power of their God would be revealed over their masters and tomorrow they would be free.


Peter calls us to a similar kind of mindset in 1 Peter 1:13. Therefore: because of verses 3- 12, because you have been promised an imperishable inheritance, guaranteed a death-conquering hope, assured your trials will cause your faith to result in glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus, and because you now see the beginnings of a grace anticipated by prophets and angels - because we stand at a weighty moment in history anticipating the salvation to come when the king of everything is revealed —


(1) Prepare your minds for action. Gird up the loins of your mind. Tuck up your mental robes and get ready to run. (2) Be sober-minded. Not mentally intoxicated. Not speaking to a "joyless gloom" (Clowney) but a clear-headed focus. (3) Set your hope fully on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.


We are slaves in exile and the grace to be brought to us at Jesus' revelation is just around the corner. But if we don't live with that intense, ever-present clearheaded ness and hope on our heart, we will become lazy, fearful , distracted, hopeless. Like running a race if we don't keep the finish line in our mind's eye, we will wonder "what in the world am, I doing out here?" Then we start walking.


But we have to stop that foolish thinking and remember what is coming. We are in exile under foreign powers but we serve the king of everywhere and everything and any minute he will be revealed from heaven with grace to be brought to his loyal subjects.


When I am running and I wonder “why I am out here?” I try to think about how good it feels the rest of the day after I run, I think of how it will be over soon enough and my headphones will say, "Goal Completed."


We have to do that during this exile. Babylon promises so much, but all they are doing is rearranging chairs on the Titanic. We are working on a temple that will be filled with glory. We are eating our last meal in haste before judgment comes on Egypt. We are ready move into the city that comes from heaven. Long gone should be three days when we hope in the progress of Babylon for our security or when with live without hope, getting drunk on whatever substance, media or activity we can get our hands on to numb the pain. There are mountains and valleys, blessings and curses between now and then-despise whatever distracts you. Any affliction is light and momentary in comparison to the weight of eternal glory coming. Set your hope fully on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus.


2. You Shall Be Holy, for I Am Holy (1:14-16)

When Israel was preparing to leave Egypt they were commanded to purge their homes of all leaven. Leaven often represents the spreading, defiling influence of sin — it's even in the air. But God was drawing near and they must be clean and holy as he is holy. Later, when God drew near Israel in the tabernacle he commanded them to live lives distinct from the nations, putting away sexual immorality. Why? Leviticus 18: you shall be holy

as I am holy.


Peter calls us to a similar life in verses 14-16. Whether we grew up being taught about Good or not, it is so important to draw a distinction between what parts of us should be former life and what should be us currently. Peter says we ought not be conformed to the passions of our former ignorance. I like how he says that because here's the reality: each of us used to be ignorant (some of us still are), so the cravings for power, set, money, popularity, honor, knowledge and success controlled us. We were ignorant, so we didn't realize these passions would never pay off, would control and destroy us. They became our hope , our comfort, what we meditated on and longed for. I love how Titus 3:3 puts it. “We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” (Titus 3:3 ESV) That not only sounds like a miserable life-it's just straight up ugly. That was the life of our former ignorance and Peter says, "Do not be conformed to those passions." He gives us a new mark to aim for. Be holy in all your conduct. Do we have that picture in our minds? Every part of our lives should be holy. Distinct. Clean.


Why? Why did Israel so carefully purge their homes of leaves? Because that very night God was drawing near to judge their enemies and rescue them. And the God who called them is clean, holy. And we all must urgently seek to cleanse our lives because the God who draws near to rescue us out of exile is the same holy God. “You shall be holy for I am holy.”


God's holiness motivates our holiness. Consider his holiness — he is perfect, pure, powerful. He radiates life, love and beauty. We see that in the wonder of what he does. The beautiful creation. The wisdom in his carefully crafted plan to rescue his corrupted world. The unending patience and love. His willingness to wear our sin and shame on the cross. He has a holiness that is not simply a rigid moral purity, but the power of a lion and innocent purity of a lamb that totally transcends our ignorant, selfish obsession with worldly passions.


And this is what I have seen for the first time this week: this is one reason why he created us. This holy God does not see fit to simply self-exist in his beautiful holiness. Part of his holy character is this: he is willing to go to every length to teach and share this holiness with us. How great is our God!


We cannot become the holiness of God while we are slaves to our lusts and passions. Let us not be conformed to our former ignorance . They do not give us what we are looking for. Let us set our eyes on the pure holy power, love, and innocence of God and do whatever we need to do to confess and put that old life away.


But we will not become this by our own will power. That is one reason why we set all our hope on the grace — not wrath (Jobes) — to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. He will finally transform us into the image of his Son that we have been striving for all along. “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.” (1 John 3:2-3 ESV)



Have we been defiled by the pleasures of Egypt in our sojourning? Have we become distracted by the passions, pursuits and parties of Babylon?  Salvation is nearer to us than it first was. We must adopt the Passover mindset. Tonight the angel of death comes for Egypt. Tonight the Medes make a breach in the city wall. Tonight the enemy is judged and they are all doing business, buying and selling, getting married, and drinking booze like tomorrow will come. But we know better.


1. Clean out the old leaven, the passions of our former ignorance, because the God who calls us is holy.

2. Be sober-minded. Think with clearheadedness. Don't get lost in the party and success. Think about the big picture of history.

3. Focus on the finish line. Set your hope fully on the grace to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. May we pray, "Maranatha, Lord come quickly" with the early saints. Let us be hopeful and holy in our exile among the nations.

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