Studies in Hebrews, 1 & 2 Peter

33. 1 Peter 1:17-23 - Born Again Through the Word of God

“Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as strangers here in reverent fear” (verse 17). We should respect and honor our Father, not the changing standards around us. Why?

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (verses 18-19). The values of this world will pass away, but we were purchased with something of much greater value: the blood of Christ.

When we realize what a sacrifice Jesus made for us, we will also begin to understand what a tremendous reward awaits us, for Jesus didn’t pay his huge price just for a small benefit. When we see the price that was paid, we will value the result even more, and that encourages us to live holy lives.

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (verses 22-23). Our new life is based on permanence, not temporary pleasures. So we obey the truth, and follow Christ’s way of life — love.

Why? Because “all people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever” (verses 24-25, quoting Isaiah 40:6-8). Things of this world are temporary, but the things of God last forever, and we live for eternity. We see our identity and importance from that perspective, not the temporary values of this world.

Things to think about

  • Do I have “reverent fear” for God as the Judge? (verse 17)
  • Does Peter mean that we can purify ourselves by obedience? (verse 22)

Author: Michael Morrison, PhD, 2005, 2011