1 Peter 1:13

1 Peter 1:13  •  9 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Exhortation here begins, founded on the preceding verses. Now that Christ is come, and gone to heaven, having borne our sins, the believing Jews were objects of rich and sure blessing, far beyond what their fathers enjoyed before the law or since.
The glory is not manifested on earth as the prophets predicted, but this will have actual accomplishment in a new age. There is now an intermediate state for saints on earth before that new age: faith, love, and hope have their fullest exercise, after the sufferings destined for Christ were closed, while He is received up in glory. It is therefore before the revelation of His other glories to all the earth and indeed the universe. Our life is hid in God; but when He is manifested, so shall we be with Him in glory. The glories after His sufferings are not therefore complete, but in a large measure await His appearing at the end of the age.
Yet the glory in which He sits already at God's right hand has a momentous bearing on the soul individually and on the church as a body. Hence even now we exult with joy unspeakable and full of glory; for Christ, its spring, is glorified and we expect to be, now receiving the end of faith, salvation of souls, but not yet that of our bodies. Meanwhile we have for our profit, not only what prophets of old testified beforehand, but the still fuller light of truth announced since Christ by apostles and others, who evangelized in the power of the Spirit sent forth from heaven, as Father and Son alike promised. This is Christianity, not promise but accomplishment of redemption by Christ's work, and, as shown elsewhere, for Gentile believers as much as Jewish, though these only are addressed here by the Apostle appropriately to this message.
“Wherefore, having girded up the loins of your mind, being sober, hope perfectly for the grace that is to be brought to you at Jesus Christ's revelation (1 Pet. 1:1313Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1 Peter 1:13)).
The allusion in the opening clause is evidently to their forefathers at the first passover: a memorial to them, a feast to Jehovah to be kept by an ordinance forever. “Thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand.” Could words or acts more graphically give us the living picture of a people screened from divine judgment, and leaving in haste the house of bondage for a land flowing with milk and honey? The Lord in Luke 12:3535Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; (Luke 12:35) employed the same figure, with others, to impress on His disciples their pilgrim character in waiting for His coming: in no taking their ease, but constant readiness to do His will earnestly, as was meant by their loins girt about. On occasions of active exertion the garments, instead of being allowed to flow loosely, were tucked up, that the work might be done without impediment. So would He now have our hearts engaged without wandering affections or distraction of mind. The blessing is assured to our faith; we love Him Who first loved us, and He with a love above all measure; whilst the prospect before us is glorious beyond all comparison.
The Apostle's phrase “the loins of your mind” renders inexcusable the notion of such fathers as interpreted it of chastity; for this would require another expression of quite distinct form. It seems strange that Calvin should characterize a turn so unintelligent in itself, and unsuitable to the context, as philosophizing refinedly about the loins. It is a wholly baseless importation of prurient ideas, natural perhaps to those who piqued themselves on a fair show in the flesh, which soon betrays its hollowness by falling into all manner of uncleanness. He himself however had no doubt of its quite different meaning, in the disentanglement of the Christian from all hindrance to devotedness.
There is another term which immediately follows, of great practical moment, “being sober.” It is expressly from its form a continuous habit; which is the more emphatic, because the form of the phrase before, with which we have been occupied, implies no less precisely the act done and settled; and such is the force of the hope which immediately follows. They had once for all girt up the loins of their mind; their hope was set with equal decision upon the grace to be brought to them at Christ's appearing. The nature of the case called for and explained these being accomplished facts in their souls. But the sobriety in question calls for unceasing diligence.
For there is much in the gospel and in the truth now fully revealed, which might naturally lead to the utmost enthusiasm. We see how it affected outside observers on the day of the church's birth. All were amazed and in perplexity when they heard Galileans speaking in the various tongues of the Gentiles the great things of God. Some mocking said, They are full of new wine. Apart from the striking phenomenon of grace which was thus ungraciously maligned, how much there is in Christianity if realized to fill the heart and lips to overflowing. Even the eminently wise Paul could say, “whether we are beside ourselves, it is to God; or we are sober, it is for you” (2 Cor. 5:1313For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. (2 Corinthians 5:13)). Here no doubt it is the kindred thought of discretion that is expressed; but it is at bottom the same truth. Before God and to Him, the heart may rightly go forth in ecstasy; but when we think of men and even the saints, a more guarded feeling is well on our part.
Hence the same apostle exhorts the saints that were in Ephesus to guard against exciting causes. “Be not drunk with wine whereby is dissoluteness, but be filled with the Spirit.” Where He becomes the source and power of all within us, acts outward should be according to God's mind. Our singing even is meant to be so characterized that it may please Him Whom we praise, in no way carried away by sweet sound, but with the spirit and with the understanding also.
Hence then “being sober” is laid on us as a continuous duty. It is a figure naturally drawn, as all admit, from keeping clear of all intoxication, which for the Christian means the avoidance of everything apt to excite the flesh or spirit. Young Thessalonian believers are thus exhorted, “So then let us not sleep as do the rest, but let us watch, and be sober [the same word as here]. For they that sleep, sleep by night, and they that drink, drink by night; but let us, being of the day, be sober, having put on a breastplate of faith and love, and hope of salvation as helmet.” In 1 Peter 4:77But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. (1 Peter 4:7) the word, in view of the end of all things having drawn nigh, is “Be of sound mind therefore, and be sober unto prayers.” (So also in 1 Pet. 5:88Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8)). Here it is not constant habit that is involved in the form of the phrase, but the soul's attitude due to so solemn a fact. Both appeals have their importance. The call in our 1 Pet. 1:1313Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; (1 Peter 1:13) is grounded on known redemption as our portion, whilst we journey through a wilderness world, with an expectation worthy of what God has already given us in Christ.
Of this he proceeds to speak in the next words, “hope perfectly for the grace that is to be brought to you at Jesus Christ's revelation.” One cannot doubt that it is the glory about to be revealed unto us, as it is put in the Epistle to the Romans (Rom. 8:18-1918For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:18‑19)), the revelation of the sons of God. Nor does our Apostle treat of anything beyond that supreme bliss, which he describes as “the grace that is to be brought” in that day. For he does not open out, as Paul did in 1 Thess. 4, the preliminary stage and the special action of the Lord, in Himself descending from heaven with that shout which shall assemble His own whether dead or alive to meet Him in the air. Our Epistle dwells on the manifestation of the saints with Christ in glory without telling us how the wondrous issue effected.
It is so intrinsically blessed, and so efficacious even now for the well-being of the soul, that he bids the saints “hope perfectly” for the grace to be brought then and thus. “To the end,” as in the A. V. and so understood by many, seems short of what is intended by the adverb; nor does any sufficient reason appear to make us swerve from the simple meaning. It is likely that translators shrank from connecting perfection with a hope which too often fluctuates, if it be not also rather indefinite and feeble. They took it as “to the end.”
But it is the aim of the Spirit apparently to reveal it in its power, grandeur, and blessedness, so that the coming glory should be regarded as part of that grace which we have known in Christ's death and resurrection for our souls, and the rest we are awaiting for our bodies. Then indeed we shall be conformed to the image of God's Son, the Firstborn among many brethren. The grace that is to be brought in that day is a meet object for our hope to have once for all and perfectly; just as in Heb. 10 we are now called to approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, sprinkled as to our hearts from a wicked conscience, and washed as to our body with pure water. For the veil is rent; and we who believe have boldness to enter into the holies by the blood of Jesus. It may be that none of those addressed by Peter did “perfectly” hope for that grace to come, as sure as the grace which had already appeared; but the aim of this scripture was to invite, yea, to urge it. Why should the saints not cherish the hope fully and without a waver? He Who has promised will assuredly perform. Let us treat all shortcoming in hope as a wrong done to His grace and truth.
It may seem strange that our Apostle writes here of the grace to be brought at Christ's revelation only to those who now believe. Prophets do speak of this, as may be seen with especial plainness in Isa. 8:13-1813Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 14And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. 16Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples. 17And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. 18Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion. (Isaiah 8:13‑18). To this throughout is the Epistle directed, rather than to the far more common witness which prophecy bears to the manifest and wide-spread blessing when Christ comes in His kingdom with power and glory. Then all Israel shall be saved; and their receiving and fullness shall be “life from the dead” to the world at large. But this would not have been meat in due season to the believing remnant whom Peter here addresses. Hence he stops short of any development on that head which fills the prophets, and he dwells simply on their own Christian portion at the revelation of Christ. This is what they needed, and what the Holy Spirit gave him to minister. Compare the preceding ver. 4. What will be by-and-by for Israel and the nations on earth the prophets fully declare from Isaiah (we might add from Moses) to Malachi.