First Peter gives the penitent a mature outlook to consider. First, we are part of an honored tradition. Second, we are presumed to have some level of accomplishment as believers, that we have worked on our life of faith and are willing to continue to labor in that regard. Third, that truly reconciled and mature believers will be in right relationship with their brothers and sisters.
Let’s read, then discuss:
Gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly,
and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Like obedient children,
do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance
but, as he who called you is holy,
be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct,
for it is written, Be holy because I am holy.
Realize that you were ransomed from your futile conduct,
handed on by your ancestors,
not with perishable things like silver or gold
but with the precious blood of Christ
as of a spotless unblemished lamb.
He was known before the foundation of the world
but revealed in the final time for you,
who through him believe in God
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
so that your faith and hope are in God.
Since you have purified yourselves
by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love,
love one another intensely from a pure heart.
You have been born anew,
not from perishable but from imperishable seed,
through the living and abiding word of God.
This is a very lyrical passage. Like many passages in the Reconciliation Lectionary, it paints an affirmative view of Christian life. Believers are urged to do, and not only given shalt-nots. Sobriety and hope are virtues of a disciplined mind. Sober we do well in our culture. Hope perhaps less so.
Yet we are given reasons for hope.
- God calls us to be holy
- God has a track record in rescuing people
- Christ was behind it all from the very beginning
And so what is our response to all this? Simply to love. Love with intensity. Love with purity. And love others knowing that this gesture is of Christ, and inspired by Christ, and will be part of an “imperishable” heritage.
Great message. It would be a great Scripture on which to preach in form II. It also fits for form I when the penitent is in need of a positive reminder of who we are and where we are going.