To speak of holiness, let’s turn our attention to 1 Peter 1:13-16 where we find Peter concluding a section about how we’re to live in present while we’re waiting for the future return of Christ.
In context, 1 Peter 1:3-4 make mention of our inheritance in Christ that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. This inheritance, v5 says, is kept in heaven for us WHO by God’s power are being kept, guarded through faith until the revelation (literally – apocalypse) of Jesus Christ in the end of days. v8 mentions it is this faith of ours, though tested and tried, that will bring glory and praise and honor to God at the apocalypse of Jesus Christ. v9 says at the second coming of Christ we will obtain the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls. Then down in v13-16 Peter draws his first major implication of how we’re to live now while we wait for Jesus to return.
Holiness is a Response to Grace (v13)
Notice that it’s the grace we’ll receive at ‘the revelation of the Jesus Christ’ (literally the apocalypse of Christ), that moves us to do certain things here and now. v13 calls us to ‘prepare our minds for action,’ ‘be sober-minded,’ and to ‘set our hope fully on the grace to come.’ These phrases indicate that the knowledge of future grace to come will lead to living lives of holiness now. Do you see that? Knowing that God in His grace will one day come and make all things right when Jesus returns will lead us to prepare our minds for action, and be sober minded today. These phrases ‘prepare your mind for action’ and ‘be sober minded’ are a call to use discipline, effort, and labor in regard to spiritual living. Or to say it another way, this is a call to live holy lives. We do not set our hope fully on our own effort, we set our hope fully on God’s grace, but do you see how setting your hope on God’s grace leads to effort and spiritual discipline?
This means that holiness is a response to God’s grace.
The grace in view here is both past tense and future tense. The verses leading up to this passage, particularly v1-7, make it plain that in Christ we have received grace; and v8-13 make it plain that we will one day receive more grace when Jesus returns. So see what God is up to here – grace behind us and grace before us, changes how to live right now.
It’s just like a springtime flower. As the flower’s natural response is to open and blossom when it feels the suns warmth and light, so too, the Christian’s natural response is to live a holy life when it beholds and basks in the pure light of the Holy Christ. In this regard C.S. Lewis once commented in a letter, ‘How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets real thing, it is irresistible.’ (C.S. Lewis)
Holiness is first and foremost a response to God’s grace.