Wednesday, 2 October 2019
…as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 1 Peter 1:14
Peter just told his audience to gird up the loins of their minds, to be sober, and to rest their hope on the grace that is being brought to them. He now continues with his exhortation to them by saying, “as obedient children.”
The Greek uses two nouns here, and it is therefore better rendered as “as children of obedience.” Vincent’s Word Studies explains this as, “The Christian is represented as related to the motive principle of his life as a child to a parent.” In other words, this is speaking of the state of the Christian at all times in relation to the Lord, and not specifically of the ongoing conduct of the children in general.
One can see the reason for this relationship by looking back to verse 3 where Peter says that the Lord “has begotten us again to a living hope.” Because of this state of being begotten, we are implored to live as “children of obedience.”
Next, Peter explains what this means with the words, “not conforming yourselves to the former lusts.” Here Peter uses a verb only seen elsewhere in Romans 12:2 where Paul implores his reader to not be conformed to this world. This word gives the sense of identity, or assuming an outward form.
Here Peter is specifically speaking of identifying with a life of lusts. Instead of looking for gratification in all temptations, the believer is to find his satisfaction in Christ, and in the hope which He provides. This is because we have been enlightened to the truth of the resurrection and a future hope. This is something that was previously unknown. If unknown, then the thought is obviously that this world is all there is. If that is so, then one might as well grab for all he can get. But that is, as Peter says, “ignorance.”
Without knowing of the truth of God in Christ, there exists a state of ignorance. In hearing the gospel, and in knowing what God has planned for His people, we are to emulate Christ, walk in holiness, and not conform to (or pursue recklessly) the conduct of this world.
Life application: Many people have a problem with the concept of total depravity. This means that we are all bound under sin and totally incapable of saving ourselves. It also gives us an understanding of why God can command the Israelites to march into Canaan and destroy everything that lived – including women and children. As Jesus said in John 3:18 –
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
We are “condemned already.” This means even from the moment of conception. All humans receive Adam’s sin-nature and do not need to do a thing to be separated from God. However, even on those who are separated in this way, God is merciful – He provides them food, rain, and the good things of life.
As an example of His mercy, He waited 400 years to destroy the people of Canaan because of His longsuffering and because “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16). Likewise, God spared Nineveh at the preaching of Jonah because they repented. This doesn’t mean they were saved for eternity, but from destruction in this life; they were allowed to continue on under the sun.
Peter says that we were all in this depraved state and that we once conformed ourselves to these lusts. He then says we did this in “ignorance.” Ignorance of the law is, however, no excuse. If you can come to this realization and accept it for what it is, then you can understand the infinite grace and mercy demonstrated at the cross of Jesus. Glory to God for His favor upon the sons of Adam!
Truly O God, You are merciful and full of grace. Glory be to You for sending Jesus, born into the stream of humanity in order to save us from the depraved state we were in. Surely, You are worthy of all our praise! Yes! Glory to You, O God! Amen.