Making Ready for the New Year

Our sermon text this Sunday came from First Peter 1:13-16:

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.”

In light of what Peter has already written, he gives us three imperatives.

  1. Prepare Your Minds
  2. Do Not Be Conformed
  3. Be Holy

“The finish line of faith cannot be measured in distance but character change.” God saves us to make us more like Jesus. We have this great hope and God will finish what He started (Philippians 1:6). The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. As we live this marathon, we must continually obey the three imperatives Peter gives.

Prepare Your Minds. We are preparing our minds for action and setting our hope on the grace of Christ that will be revealed when Jesus comes again. Grace is amazing, but we do not know the half of it now. We prepare our minds by continually taking every thought captive for Christ through His word.

As we head into the new year, you might be thinking about a Bible reading plan. Reading the Bible is the main way we prepare our minds. As you pick your plan remember the important thing about the plan is reading the Bible. God changes His people through His word (John 17:7). Don’t serve the reading plan but allow the reading plan to serve you.

Do Not Be Conformed. Do not be who you used to be. Before you were in Christ you were ignorant of the ways of God; conformed to the world and yourself. Now that you are a Christian do not return to that. Here’s the thing, you have to be prepared in order not to return to your former ways. We do this as obedient children. We are children of God; therefore we seek to have the family resemblance.

If you were prone to lying don’t do that anymore. If you used your words to tear people down, don’t do that anymore. This is how you refrain from conforming to who you used to be.

Be Holy. This is the put-on aspect. Put off your old ways and put on holiness. Peter quotes Leviticus, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Don reminded us that Peter is not calling us to be holy in our own ability. The reason we are to be holy is because God is holy. He is the standard and He is the power for us to be holy.

God, in Christ, has given us everything we need to be holy in our day-to-day lives. I can be holy in my speech; I can tell the truth because the Holy Spirit dwells within me. I can have holy thoughts because I have Scripture and the Holy Spirit dwelling within me.

The Christian life is a marathon that calls for mental preparation, refusing our old way of life, and being holy. These are not one-time events but the stuff of life until Jesus comes again.

Ask God to help you obey these commands. He wants to help you and He will help you. This is true, biblical hope; hope placed fully in the grace of Christ. Praise God!

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