In chapter one verse six of the Apostle Peter’s first letter to the Jews he had led to the Lord he encourages them to bear up under the temptations that would continue to come their way. He knew that taking the easy way out of difficult situations is man’s first reaction to adverse situations. This is the loud voice of Satan. Then comes the quiet voice of God. Nothing has changed. Satan yells; God whispers. “Common sense” tells us that the self-preserving way is the best way to resolve a negative situation. “God sense” tells us to put self aside and handle the situation as Jesus would handle it. Of course, this is easier said than done. However, it must be done.
Verse seven tells us that these types of situations are tests of one’s faith, which Peter says are more precious than gold because they will result in praise, honor and glory from Christ when He returns to reward the overcomer with salvation, which is “the end (result) of your (our) faith” (vs 9).
In verse eight Peter tells us that we are to love the Lord even though we do not see Him. This is the essence of faith–believing what we do not see because God tells us it is real in His Holy Word. This faith–“the reality of things we hope for, the evidence of things we do not see” (Heb. 11:1)–will result in our salvation upon Christ’s return, IF we prove our love for Him by obeying Him. Verse nine offers a “headline”–believe (have faith in) in Jesus and we will be saved. The ultra-important “fine print” relative to this “headline” is found in John 14:15,23/ John 15:10/ Matthew 19:17 where Jesus tells us that we must not only have faith in Jesus, but must prove our love for Him by keeping His commandments (words), that if we want to abide in God’s love we must keep His commandments just as He (Jesus) remained in God’s love by keeping His commandments (Law). James 2:10 reminds us that to break even one of His commandments is to break the entire Law, thereby rendering our faith dead (2:14,17,18,20,24,26). Without the “fine print” the “headlines” are meaningless.
Now we will skip to 1 Peter 1:13-16 where more “fine print” is highlighted, without which the “headline” is a moot issue. Here Peter prepares the Jewish saints for more temptations from the devil who wants more than anything else for them to go through his wide (easy) gate and walk his broad (Jesus or Mary has it covered) path to death. Peter is telling them to “find” God’s strait (difficult) gate and walk His narrow (holy) way to eternal life. Few, Jesus said in Matthew 7:13,14, will do so.
In verse 13 Peter tells them (and us) to “gird up the loins (take control) of your mind,” to be sober (serious) and hold on to our hope (for salvation), knowing that only those who obey God until the end (of the world) will (then) be saved (Mat. 10:22).
In verse 14 Peter warns them not to revert back to their former ways (walks) when they lived in ignorance of the ways of the Lord.
Verses 15,16 is the ultimate “fine print” verse: “But as He which has called you is Holy, YOU MUST BE HOLY IN EVERYTHING YOU DO.” John confirms this Truth by telling us that if we call ourselves by Christ’s name we must “walk as He walked” while on earth (1 Jn. 2:6). Why? “Because it is written (by Him in His Word) “YOU MUST BE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY.” To qualify for salvation one must be as holy because Christ is holy. This is one of many “fine print” verses that are rejected by 99.99% of church members.
Verse 17 is also rejected by the church because in it we are commanded to fear God. Hebrews 5:7 tells us that Jesus Christ feared God, that His prayers were heard “because He feared” God–the One to Whom He prayed, the One Who could answer His prayers. Yes, even God’s Messiah had to fear God in order to have His prayers heard. We obey the one we fear. Fear is absolutely necessary in order to be heard by the Almighty. Fear of God, Christ-level faith and Christ-level obedience to the Holy Scriptures are all necessary if one is to have one’s prayers answered. It is through prayer (communication with God) that we learn how to walk with Him according to His dictates. We must be in agreement with Him in order to walk with Him through this life: “Can two walk together unless they are in agreement?” (Amos 3:3). One cannot give in to temptation–sin–and walk with God. Giving in to temptation reveals that one does not fear God. If we do not stand for God we will bow to Satan. “Do you not know that the one to whom you yield yourselves to obey, his servants you are.” We obey either sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness (Rom. 6:16). In Romans 5:21 and 6:22 Paul reminds us that the end result of righteousness/holiness is is eternal life. Nowhere does the Lord tell us that the end result of God’s grace and our faith result in eternal life. Obedience is the key to the kingdom.
Through faith we obtain and retain the Holy Spirit through conversion from the “old man” of sin to the “new man” of holiness. This “new creation” is led and empowered by the Spirit to overcome Satan’s temptations to sin just as did Jesus Who set the perfect example for us to follow. This we must do if we are to sit with Him on His throne (Rev. 3:21). In Romans 6:11-13 Paul states God’s Truth relative to this subject as only he can. Here he tells us that we must be dead to temptation and sin. He warns us that we must not let (our choice) sin reign over us by giving in to Satan’s temptations, thereby turning us into his instruments of evil. We must yield ourselves to God who will turn us into “instruments of righteousness.” L.J.