In the first chapter of his first letter Peter gives us a number of reasons why we should live a godly life:

In verse 13 he wrote ‘Therefore ....’ That is, because of the grand, glorious, guaranteed salvation he has described in verses 3 to 12.

In verse 14 he wrote ‘As obedient children ...’ That is, because we are now children of God.

In verses 15-16 he wrote ‘just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do’. That is, because God is holy, we also must be holy.

In verse 17 he wrote ‘Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially ...’ That is, because God, our Father, is the just Judge.

In verse 18-19 he wrote ‘For ... it was not with perishable things ... that you were redeemed ... but with the precious blood of Christ ...’ That is, because of the extremely high cost of our redemption, a redemption planned and purposed before the creation of the world.

Now in verse 23 he says ‘For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.’ That is, we should live a godly life because we have been born again as a result of the operation of the word of God.

Peter has a very high opinion of the word of God:

The Old Testament prophets, empowered and controlled by the Holy Spirit, spoke and wrote the word of God, but it was in veiled form – verses 10-12.

The apostles preached the gospel by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – verse 12.

Even the angels long to look into it – verse 12.

God’s promises are great and precious, giving us everything we need to live for God – 2Peter 1:4.

The apostolic message was grounded in fact; the apostles were eye-witnesses of Christ’s glory and honour – 2Peter 1:16-18.

The Old Testament is completely reliable, a light shining in a dark place, which we do well to pay attention to – 2Peter 1:19.

What is written in the Scripture did not originate in human decision or human interpretation of reality, but is the result of the Holy Spirit so moving, empowering and controlling human beings so that what they wrote is the word of God – 2Peter 1:20-21.

Here, in 1Peter 1:23-25 Peter describes the word of God as ‘living and enduring’ and states that ‘the word of the Lord endures forever’. This, Peter says, ‘is the word that was preached to you.’ And this is the word through which we have come to believe in Jesus Christ and be saved:

This is the word that introduced us to Jesus, the Son of God.

This is the word that spoke of his sin-bearing, substitutionary death for us.

This is the word that raised us up out of spiritual ignorance and death and brought us to spiritual life and light.

Jesus said of his words: ‘The words I have spoken to you – they are Spirit and they are life’ [John 6:63]. And shortly after this, when Jesus asked his twelve disciples if they too wanted to leave him, Peter replied ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’ [John 6:68].

As Peter acknowledges in his letters, there is pressure on Christians to give in and give up. There is the pressure of our former lifestyle. There is the pressure of suffering because of our allegiance to Christ. There is the pressure of false teaching.

But Christ, and the permanently restored relationship we have with God through Christ, more than outweigh these pressures.

So Peter commands us to resist the devil who is at the back of these pressures, ‘standing firm in the faith’ [1Peter 5:9] and assures and encourages us ‘that this is the true grace of God’ [5:12].

Then he commands us: ‘Stand fast in it.’ Let us not depart from its promises that confirm our sure salvation in Christ, and let us not depart from its commands into a life that dishonours Christ.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2018