I Peter 1:17-21

Sunday, January 10th, 2016

REVERENCE TOWARD GOD

INTRODUCTION:

 

Something I have seen is that many people take sin very lightly. People who claim to be saved do things they know are wrong, apparently thinking that there will be no consequences. They take God very lightly. They are not concerned with reading their Bibles. They are not concerned with witnessing. They are not concerned with obeying their parents. They are not concerned with honoring their parents. They are not concerned with keeping their marriage vows. They are not concerned about living for the Lord. They are not concerned about praying or confessing sin, etc.

 

Whereas they ought to be scared to death of God, they pay no attention to God. One of these days, if they really are saved, He may hit them over the head with His heavenly baseball bat in order to get their attention and wake them up.

 

As a twelve-year-old boy, my goal in life was to play professional football. Now, I was nowhere good enough to ever do this, but it was still my goal. As a saved young man, I had also never given my life to the Lord nor concerned myself with what He wanted me to do in my life. I did not take the things of the Lord seriously. So, you ask, how did it all work out? There are two answers: The first one is, It did not work out very well. The second answer is that it worked out very well. How can this be, not very well and very well? I’m glad you asked.

 

As a thirteen year old in 8th grade I broke a bone in my right hand doing something I should not have done. You don’t need to know how I did it.

 

As a thirteen year old in fall football practice, just before the start of 9th grade, on the second day of practice, I separated my shoulder and had to miss the entire football season.

 

As a fourteen year old in the first football game of the season, I got a kidney and spleen injury which put me in the hospital for 9 days and out of school for two weeks. I didn’t mind being out of school for two weeks, but it meant that I was finished playing football for the entire year. As it turned out, I never played football again; and my ambition of playing professional football was never realized.

 

So, as you can see, it did not work out very well for my ambition to play professional football.

 

At the time, I did not understand the truth of Romans 8:28 , that God works all things together for good to them who love God, for them who are the called according to His purpose.

 

I had three injuries in less than a year and a half, but it never occurred to me to ask the Lord what He was trying to tell me. In spite of my ignorance, God got my attention.

 

After I got out of the hospital following my kidney and spleen injury, I determined that I would continue to be a part of the football team by attending the practices even though I was unable to participate. I don’t remember if I attended one practice or two, but I very quickly decided that sitting and watching was too boring; so I quit going to the practices and went home instead. Then I had so much time on my hands that I was bored. I got so bored that, shortly after I turned 15, I actually started reading my Bible. The more I studied it, the more interested I became in it. As I look back on this time in my life, I eventually realized that things worked out very well for me. God got my attention and called me into the ministry. I started studying the Bible seriously in my mid-teens and haven’t stopped yet. What a delight it has been for me all these years! As I see it these three injuries I had in less than a year and a half turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened in my life, especially the third one. It got me turned around and headed in the right direction in my life. Perhaps you have had some similar experiences in life. Did you learn from them?

 

In I Peter 1:17-21 , we see that a reverential fear of God is a characteristic of salvation in the believer’s life. If he has no fear of the Lord, why should anyone believe he is really saved?

 

There are a number of reasons found in the Bible why we should fear.

 

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

 

We should fear the Lord because –

            1.   We know our sinfulness

 

Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

 

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

 

Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

 

Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

 

As believers –

            2.   We should have a fear of failing to live 100% for the Lord.

 

Furthermore, as believers

            3.   We should have a fear of self.

 

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

 

In addition, as believers –

            4.   We should have a fear of offending and dishonoring God.

 

In I Peter 1:17-21 we see three reasons why a believer should fear the Lord. I wish to direct your attention to this text in this message.

In the first place, we see that –

    I.     THE BELIEVER SHOULD FEAR THE LORD BECAUSE HE IS A SOJOURNER – I Peter 1:17

 

I Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father . . . pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.

 

Verse 17 continues the thought of the effect that one’s salvation should have on his life as is indicated by and.

 

Verse 17 is in the form of a condition which is assumed for sake of discussion to be true. The condition is: if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work. The conclusion of this condition is pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. As believers, they do call on the name of the Father, i.e. they pray to God the Father.

 

If, therefore, should be understood in the sense of since, because, inasmuch as, or assuming that.

 

Ye refers to believers.

 

Ye call on the Father is a reference to prayer.

 

To call on means to call upon with a view toward receiving aid. The One called upon is the Father, i.e. God the Father.

 

Thus, believers call upon God Who judges every person impartially according to his own works.

 

Therefore, believers are commanded to pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. Of course, this is not just a good suggestion, nor is it merely good advice. It is a command which believers must obey.

 

To pass signifies an action of turning something back and forth. When used figuratively of human conduct as it is here, it means to act, behave, conduct yourself, or live in the sense of practicing certain principles.

 

The time of your sojourning is the time of your stay, and here suggests on this earth. It indicates that the believer’s life on earth is only temporary. He is just passing through here on his way to heaven.

 

A sojourner is someone who has taken up temporary residence in a foreign land

 

Philippians 3:20 For our conversation [i.e. our citizenship] is in heaven; from whence [i.e. from where] also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. [We are expecting Him to return at the rapture.]

 

As the believer lives his life on this earth, he is to live in fear, which suggests in reverence, in respect, or in awe of God. He is to live in reverential respect or in reverential awe.

Secondly, we see that –

  II.     THE BELIEVER SHOULD FEAR THE LORD BECAUSE OF THE JUDGMENT THAT LIES AHEAD – I Peter 1:17

 

I Peter 1:17 (And if ye call on the Father), who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work . . . .

 

God the Father is the One who without respect of persons judges according to every man’s work, which means impartially.

 

According to every man’s work indicates the relationship which exists between the judgment and the judge.

 

He judges according to, i.e. with reference to or in relation to, every man’s work, i.e. the work of every person or the work of each person. I don’t answer for your sins, and you don’t answer for my sins. We both answer for our own sins.

 

Man is not the term for an adult male but a term which means each one or every one, and work means deed or action. This indicates that everybody will be judged individually, fairly, and by the same standard. Every man’s is possessive and indicates that God’s judgment will be on an individual basis. What others have done will make no difference because each one will be judged on the basis of his own works.

 

I Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.

 

II Corinthians 5:9-10 9 Wherefore we labour [i.e. make it our aim in life], that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him [i.e. we may be well pleasing to Him]. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad [i.e. whether what he has done in life is good or whether it is worthless].

 

I Corinthians 3:11-15 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest [i.e. will be revealed]: for the day shall declare it, because it [i.e. his work] shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try [i.e. test] every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon [i.e. remain after having been subjected to this test with fire], he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss [i.e. he will lose any potential reward for this work he might otherwise have had]: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire [like someone who has lost everything in a fire but escapes with his life].

 

Romans 14:10-12 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother [i.e. why do you treat your brother with contempt]? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Thirdly, we see that –

 III.     THE BELIEVER SHOULD FEAR THE LORD BECAUSE OF WHAT HIS LIFE COST – I Peter 1:18-21

 

I Peter 1:18-21 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

 

Verses 18-19 supply the reason believers should live their time in this life in fear. It is forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot. Verse 18 states what we were not redeemed with; whereas, verse 19 states what we were redeemed with.

 

Forasmuch as ye know is understood in the sense of because you know, i.e. because you see or because you perceive.

 

What believers perceive is that their redemption was provided by Christ rather than by something which is subject to corruption.

 

Redeemed means freed by payment of a ransom.

 

With corruptible things is by means of corruptible things.

 

Corruptible means perishable, subject to decay, or subject to destruction. Two types of perishable items are suggested: silver and gold. We were not redeemed with either silver or gold or with any other perishable things. This, of course, means that we are not able to purchase our salvation.

 

From your vain conversation does not describe what you know, as if believers knew this from their vain conversation; rather, it describes redeemed and indicates what believers have been redeemed from.

 

From is out of and indicates that we were inside of something and that we were removed out of it.

 

Vain is something that is empty, idle, fruitless, useless, powerless, or lacking truth.

 

Conversation was used previously in verse 15. It does not speak of someone’s talk as in modern English; instead, it speaks of someone’s walk, his way of life, his manner of life, or his conduct.

 

This worthless manner of life was received by tradition from your fathers, which means that it was inherited from your fathers or handed down from your fathers where fathers is used in the sense of forefathers or ancestors.

 

Believers were not redeemed from their worthless lifestyles, which were handed down to them from their ancestors with silver or with gold.

 

Instead, believers were redeemed from their worthless lifestyles which were handed down to them from their ancestors by the blood of Christ as is indicated by verse 19 –

I Peter 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

 

Whereas verse 18 indicates the means by which we were not redeemed, verse 19 indicates the means by which we were redeemed out of the vain manner of life that our forefathers passed down to us. The contrast is indicated by but which introduces a strong contrast.

 

Our redemption was brought about with the precious blood of Christ.

 

With suggests by means of.

 

Precious describes the blood of Christ and means valuable, of great worth, or of great value. It suggests that the blood of Christ was evaluated and determined to be precious or very valuable.

 

The blood, of course, refers to the blood of the Lord Jesus which was shed upon the cross at Calvary.

 

As of a lamb without blemish and without spot compares the sacrifice of Christ on the cross to the sacrifice of a lamb.

 

As of indicates that Jesus was not literally a lamb. He is the God-man and is being compared with a lamb.

 

A lamb was to be set aside for 14 days to make certain it was without blemish and without spot before it was to be sacrificed. Similarly, Jesus had been set apart in His earthly life and particularly during the forty days of His temptation followed by the three and one half years of His public ministry.

 

Throughout His entire lifetime Jesus was demonstrated to be without blemish and without spot. Without blemish and without spot mean the same thing.

 

Without blemish means unblemished, and without spot means spotless or without blemish.

 

John the Baptist, referring to Jesus, said in John 1:29

 

John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

 

I Peter 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.

 

Verse 20 continues the theme of the provision of our salvation.

 

Who refers to Christ, and verily is on the one hand. It will be followed by but which introduces the second half of the verse and which is used in the sense of but on the other hand.

 

Was foreordained is the verb form of the noun translated foreknowledge in verse 2.

 

Was foreordained in this passage is used in the sense of was designated beforehand or was designated in advance.

 

Before the foundation of the world suggests prior to the beginning of the world or prior to the creation of the world. Sin did not take God by surprise. He knew in advance that Christ would come to die on the cross in order to pay for our sins. He knew this before the foundation of the world.

 

But is used in contrast to verily in the first part of this verse in the sense of but on the other hand.

 

Was manifest in these last times for you indicates that salvation was made evident to us in recent times for our sakes.

 

Was manifest is was revealed, was made known, or was shown.

 

In these last times is at these last times.

 

For you is because of you or for the sake of you. While it was known in advance in the counsels of God, it was not known in advance to us. However, one day it was revealed to us as individuals. When it was made clear to us individually, at that time, whether through the Word of God, through someone else’s testimony, or through a combination of both, we trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior.

 

I Peter 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

 

Verse 21 continues the discussion regarding Christ Who has provided for our salvation.

 

Who by him do believe in God refers to believers. Believers are the who; whereas, by him means by means of Him and refers to Christ.

 

Do believe in God is you who are believing in God or you who are trusting in God. God is the One we trust.

 

God the Father is thus described as the One that raised him up from the dead, where him refers to Christ and from the dead is literally out from among dead ones. It is the same expression used in verse 3 and pictures Jesus as having been among the dead, i.e. among dead people, and as having been raised out from among them. Thus, He was definitely dead; and now He is no longer dead. The fact that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead indicates that Jesus did not raise Himself from the dead.

 

God is also described by and gave him glory. God gave glory to Christ. God the Father glorified Jesus in heaven following Christ’s ascension into heaven in Acts 1 .

 

In John 17:5 Jesus had prayed that His glory would be restored to Him.

 

John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

 

Jesus’ glorification took place following His ascension to heaven in answer to His prayer.

 

That your faith and hope might be in God is the intended result of both raised and gave.

 

That is, therefore, understood in the sense of so that or with the result that.

 

Your faith is your trust, where your refers to believers, the ones to whom Peter is writing, and, by extension, to all believers everywhere.

 

Not only was this glory given with the result that believers’ faith might be in God, but also that believers’ hope might be in God. As in other passages hope is not something that is uncertain. It is something that is definite. It is to a living hope that God the Father begat us again by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead according to verse 3.

 

Might be indicates potential action. It is used to suggest something that is desirable but which may not happen.

 

In God indicates the place or the One in Whom believers’ faith and hope is placed. It is not in themselves, their works, their attainments, their ingenuities, their wealth, or in anything else they can do; nor is it in anyone or anything else other than God.

CONCLUSION:

 

Do you fear the Lord? You ought to be scared to death of the consequences of sin.

 

If your answer is no, is it because the Lord has never yet dealt with you as a disobedient believer? or is it because you are unsaved and not yet a believer?