After he describes the wonderful salvation that is ours in Christ, Peter does not then lay his pen down and rest satisfied. Instead, he proceeds to make practical application of the truths to our souls. Too often, Christianity is characterized by only the indicatives of what God has done for us and not enough attention is given to the imperatives of what God expects of us. However, there are necessary implications of God’s graciousness in our lives. What Peter calls us to is a proper response to God’s work in us and for us—i.e., because we have been given hope, we are called to live in that hope.
“Hope” is a promise believed. It is turning on a light in the midst of darkness and bringing joy to a sorrow-filled situation. Hope is introducing life into a scene of death. In describing the plight of lost humanity in Ephesians 2:12, Paul says they are “separate from Christ…strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” Supreme misery is to have all your hope wrapped up in this life only, rather than in Christ. One of the major mistakes of humanity is allowing our souls to be steered away from God in order to look for inferior comforts. Peter writes in order to instruct us in untangling our hearts from the world in order to turn our lives toward God as our only lasting comfort and rest. Peter is not encouraging us to cultivate a certain attitude as much as he is commanding us to recognize the hopeful reality in which we live.
Peter exhorts us to fix our hope “completely” on the coming grace at Christ’s return. The word “completely” makes clear that our hope is to be both very confident and eagerly expectant. There are more undeserved blessings still ahead for us in Christ! The present joys of our salvation are inexplicable, yet still incomparable to what we will have when our hope becomes our reality. The greatest aspects and elements of our salvation are unrealized in this life. It is good to know and experience the forgiveness of sins, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the privilege of prayer, the fellowship of Christ, corporate worship, and service to Christ. None of these, however, compares to what we will have when our hope is fully realized.
“Prepare Your Minds”
As we fix our hope on coming grace, we are to do so by “preparing our minds” and “keeping sober in spirit.” The original phrase for “preparing your minds for action” is literally translated as “girding the loins of your mind.” We could understand it today as “rolling up your sleeves.” We should gather them up, reign them in, so that they do not hang down and get in the way or hamper the hope of finishing and competing well. We must be ready to think hard about His works and prepared to obey His words. Hope will not ultimately be realized if we are not committed to intentional, disciplined, concentrated thinking with our minds (c.f., Luke 12:35-36, 45-46).
“Keep Sober in Spirit”
“Keeping sober” is also an issue of the mind. Someone who us not sober in spirit is the one who is “a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). An unsettled, wavering mind that is tossed like the surf of the sea and driven by the wind is the opposite of a sober mind. Moderation encapsulates the idea of a sober mind. We are to do nothing to the degree that it distracts us from Christ. Excessive cares and seemingly tiny little attachments are so unfavorable to the soul. They engross our minds and consume our hearts with earthly things, drawing us away from those things which are eternal.
- What are you fixing your hope on? How do you respond to disappointments in this life? Do your responses reflect a hope that is fixed completely on the grace of Christ to be brought to you? In what ways are you striving to prepare your mind for action and keep sober in spirit? What are the things that distract you from Christ? Take time to think about and prayerfully consider the certain hope that belongs to those who are in Christ through faith.