Tuesday, 1 October 2019
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 1:13
The word “Therefore” is given to sum up everything Peter has thus far said. In verse 5, he spoke of the believer’s “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” In verse 7, he then spoke of “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” His words have been built around those things as instruction and for clarification of how things are in the life of the believer, especially in regard to the surety of the salvation which they possess.
Because of this hope found in the gospel, which was so hungrily searched out in order to be understood by the prophets who wrote of it, Peter says for his audience to “gird up the loins of your mind.”
This term is used as a metaphor in a few different ways. In 1 Kings 18, we read this –
“Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” 1 Kings 18:46
Elijah “girded up his loins” in order to run as quickly as possible. The garments of the people of Israel were long and flowing. If one tried to run in them, he could easily get his legs tripped up. And so, when a quick pace was needed, they would pull the garment up to their waist and tie the sash they wore around that which was pulled up. Thus, they “girded up” their loins.
In Job 38:3, we read this –
“Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!” (NASB)
Here, the same metaphor is used, but the purpose is different. Instead of running, the Lord is basically saying, “It is time to wrestle.” When a person was set to wrestle, he would gird up his garments, just as when he ran. Thus, the Lord is saying to Job, “We are going to mentally wrestle through this. Be ready!”
One must now question, which was on Peter’s mind? The answer is, probably both. First, Peter was looking ahead to a long race. As he noted in verse 5, the saints are kept for salvation which was “to be revealed in the last time.” As that is an indeterminate amount of time, they were to be girded up for a long race. This is seen in Paul’s words to those in Corinth –
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25
However, Peter is also contending for the faith which has been delivered to the saints. He is writing to Jews who could easily get caught up in the legalism of the law once again. In fact, he had to gird himself up and wrestle with this issue himself. He was challenged by Paul for falling into this trap in Galatians 2:11-21.
Paul had told the Galatians about what happened to remind them of the importance of holding to the one and only gospel, delivered to both Jew and Gentile. In summary of his thoughts, he called the Galatians “foolish” in Galatians 3:1. They had failed to gird up the loins of their mind, and they had suffered defeat in the wrestling match of sound doctrine. Peter is instructing his audience to be prepared for such a race and such a wrestling match.
And so, in his instruction, he says, “be sober.” The words are a present participle which should read “being sober.” Understanding this, it is not speaking of literal soberness, but a spiritual soberness. Believers are to be calm, wakeful, circumspect, and morally grounded by knowing and adhering to the word. In acting in this manner, we will always be ready for the Lord’s coming. It will not be a moment of sad surprise when it happens, but rather a moment of joyous surprise. This is Peter’s intent.
He next says, “and rest your hope fully.” Here, the verb is active and imperative. You are to do this, and you are to keep it up. “Rest your hope and keep resting your hope.” And that is to be “upon the grace.” Grace is unmerited favor. It is something that one cannot work for, but simply receive. Peter is saying that the gospel is that of grace, and what it will deliver is solely of grace. In essence, “NO WORKS!” He is adamantly telling his readers the same message that Paul told the Gentiles – “It is not of the law, but of grace.”
He then notes that this grace “is to be brought to you.” Again, as with the words “being sober” above, the verb here is a present participle. It rightly reads, “is being brought to you.” There is salvation in Christ, and it is coming to you and it will not fail. It is an implied note of eternal salvation. As Vincent’s Word Studies notes: “The object of hope is already on the way.” And that hope which is coming will be “at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
The revelation of Jesus Christ is spoken of throughout the New Testament. For the faithful believer before the rapture, Christ’s revealing will be at a meeting in the clouds before the tribulation period. For those who are saved after this point, there will be a literal, physical return of Christ to the earth to judge the world. Paul speaks of these things first in 1 Thessalonians 4, and then again in 2 Thessalonians 1. Peter is imploring his audience to be sober and to have the loins of their minds girded up in anticipation of this hope.
Life application: Paul says this concerning the grace of the Lord in Ephesians 2 –
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7
Paul’s words speak of “the ages to come.” It is a note of infinite grace. God has saved us, and that salvation shall never end. This is just what we need! Let us be thankful for the grace of God which is found in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Thank You Lord for the infinite grace You have displayed and continue to display in our lives. We fail You continuously and our only hope is in Your faithfulness despite our faithlessness. We trust in You alone for both our salvation and our continued state of favor in Your eyes. Thank You for the cross and thank You for the garments of righteousness it provides. Amen.