Brief Notes of an address on 1 Peter 1:13-21.

1916 110 It may sound a truism to say we are not left here to please ourselves. There are many influences around to which we are in danger of succumbing, but if they are not of God we are not to yield to them.

"Gird up the loins of your mind," etc. (ver. 13). This is a privilege and a duty for every one of us, and we have to guard the outflow of our thoughts, feelings and judgments, especially in this day. One wrote, "things are not what they seem." If the poet could say what is really true, how much rather we!

Is there no reality in this world? Yes, everyone of us is a reality of the grace of God, which has taken us up in sovereign mercy. We know it, as it is said in ver. 15, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things," etc. There was a 'time when difficulties and fears possessed us, but they are gone. The same grace which gave us to rest in the Saviour removed them. We are called to sobriety of thought, feelings and words. It is not always wise to let out our thoughts, or to go to a brother and give him "a piece of our mind," as people say. It may be a great relief to one's spirit, but may not be "the fruit of the Spirit." "Speaking the truth in love" — our confession of Christ should be both in word and deed, ever in consistency with "love in the Spirit." That does not mean we are not to be firm. We are supposed to have all our spiritual senses. A minister who went round the various congregations of London some years ago was struck by, and gave to the readers of a paper, a prayer of our dear departed brother of Blackheath, in which was the expression, "Lord, separate us from the evil that looks fair." How often are we ensnared by fair appearances! Oh! you say, I did not know ought about it! Did you not enquire? We ought to know what we are doing. We ought not to be children, or as dumb driven cattle, but be heroes in the strife, and earnest contenders "for the faith once for all delivered to the saints." The truth of God does not change. It is firm and abiding, but our knowledge and apprehension of the truth ought to grow. Some, who seem never to advance, perversely think the child knows as much as the man. That does not say much for the man at any rate. We are called to grow in His ways, and in the knowledge of Christ. A mother's love may forget, but there is One Who can ne'er forget, who never fails, and Whose patience never fails. All this is for you and for me. Amid the things which are shaken and will be shaken yet more, we have nevertheless to do with the One Who abideth faithful, and is ever the same — "I change not."

"Hope to the end," etc. — was it not grace at the start? Is it not grace all the way? Yet that is not all, it will be greater still at the revelation of Jesus Christ. It is not when we are caught up to meet the Lord that we have the completion of things. The apostle, when speaking of walk or service, goes on to "the day of Christ," when everything will be manifested, and each have praise of God. At His coming He will not forego, or leave one of His own behind. It will not be a question of our faithfulness, but "they that are Christ's at His coming." Sovereign, unmerited grace. We deserved no place. And this is what the increasing knowledge of Himself gives us to realise. But the Saviour has redeemed us, and will come for all His own. Yet the Lord does take knowledge of whatever is done in His name, done because of the love of God shed abroad in our hearts. A sister once said, she felt it the greatest honour to be allowed to clean the saints' shoes! All labour is dignified if done to Him. The best is but little. If we don't know as we ought we don't do as we ought, nor as we might. We cannot flatter ourselves that we have done excellently. Every worker should value a "curtain lecture" and consider how he might have done things better. Still, faith works by love.

We are called to obedience. It may be a difficult lesson for us to learn, but we are "children of obedience," and therefore called to walk as such always. It could not be said that Israel was obedient, yet the apostle, characterising the believer, says, "children of obedience." This is a character which the law was powerless to create; but it is the cardinal duty of a Christian — the essence of Christianity — to obey. To this we are converted at the start of the Christian life, and never get to the end of our obligation. Nevertheless there are difficulties, and so the need of exhortation.

"And if ye call on Him as Father, Who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to each man's work." Relationship brings with it a corresponding responsibility. So here. All our work is subjected to the Father's scrutiny. Oh, how deep the interest the Father takes in His children! and because we are His children! Can we then be careless, or indifferent? Are we responding to this love and care, that we grieve Him not. We are "born again" into this new condition. We are set apart to the obedience of Christ — that is the sample. He had "commandment" to lay down His life. His was not only the obedience of One who so knew the Father's mind that He received no commandment. Have you and I thought that we had got beyond commandments? Are there no contrary motions within us? Have we no will of our own? I sometimes hear careless people say, "I am dead." Unguarded words soon come to show the man does not know what he says. We need to be careful how we take up the words of Scripture. You may say I am giving it a force you have not before noticed. Does Scripture say, I have died  "in Christ"? Yet we ought to be careful how we say "with Christ." This truth cuts at the root of many things. You professed it in your baptism; look to God for grace to walk in the power of it. It is not What harm is there in anything? but Is it Christ? Are we here for Him? We are poor specimens I admit. Who can say, we have answered to what is expected of us? Are we living Christ, whatever may be the practice of others? May God grant that the character of Christ be formed in us, and seen in all our ways from day to day.

"But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation" — in all kind of walk. When people go away for a holiday sometimes they think, "Well, if I was at home I should go to the meeting as usual, but no one knows me here." That's the world. It is not to put on a cravat on the Lord's day, and to put it off every other day. The Lord would have Himself always before us that we should be consistent every day and be holy. Does God qualify His holiness? He cannot give a less standard than Himself.

Do you call on the Father? It is not Jehovah. We do not know Him in that character of relationship, but as "Father," and the force of this is "If ye call on Him Who as Father judgeth." If a child comes to his father with his copy book, what a value it has in the eyes of the father! You have to do with your Father and He takes an interest in all you do. The Father takes appraisement of all our work. He judges the work of each one. The Father judging the work of His own child! Does not the child appreciate it? Not long ago, in a house I was visiting, a mother said to her little boy, 'Show Mr._ your book,' but the child ran away, and shut the door! I was not his father. But here is the Father, "My Father and your Father." In the backwoods of America, in the busy haunts of life, His eye is on us. Are we seeking to please Him whom we know as Father?

"Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." Why? For fear, after all, you may not be His? It does not say so. "Because ye know (ver. 18) ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things … from your vain manner of life." People say, You cannot expect me to give up what I have been brought up in! But a better thing has been brought in now that we have Christ as our life, and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. So it is said, "that we should serve in newness of spirit." Therefore we ought to walk in the way of the Father Who has made us His children.

Ver. 21. What did Christ not go through? But glory is in store for you and for me. Is not this meant to be a great cheer to us? We have to do with the invisible God — "as seeing Him that is invisible." We are called to obey, to walk in the knowledge of how great is our redemption, and that we are sons of God; and I do desire we may have this sink into our hearts — that we are called ever to obey.