A New Fixation

Heavenly nature of our calling– 13-16 – When God calls his elect to Himself, he does so with the intent and the effectual power to loose them , not only from the chains of death and condemnation, but from the destructive power of Sin. The call to holiness is not a call to a narrowed, restricted, and miserable life. Instead, it is a call to the richness and unlimited potential for joy of the heavenly life. The pursuit of holiness consists of a life lived in the presence of a holy God, the one true God who made the world for his glory. Intrinsic to that divine pursuit is his preparation of created image-bearers for participation with him in the dynamic interpersonal relations of joy, communication, beauty, knowledge, and unalloyed fulfillment that resides within God as essential to his nature.


In light of the fact that “this salvation” [10] is a state of being into which angels long to look, we should not be distracted by lesser things, but should refocus all our energies and affection on the completion of “this salvation.” Notice the determination and energy in the imperatives.

Gird up, prepare – The word is a participle [thus ESV “preparing your minds for action.”] that gains its imperative force through the subsequent imperative, “set your hope.” This is an image that envisions the mind as a runner about to start a race, and the lengthy robe that could cause the runner to stumble must be tied up to keep it away from the feet. “Gird up the loins of your mind.” In the perception of revealed truth, nothing must be allowed to hinder the mind. Peter used a word that intensifies the word for mind, noos, giving it the thrust of seeing all the way through a thing in order to grasp its outcome. Nothing will enter the affection or alter the will that does not enter as truth through the mind purposefully employed for spiritual discernment. Paul said in Romans 12, “Be transformed by the renewing of your minds,” using just the word noos, without the intensifying effect of dia. If we are to live worthily of the calling of such a pure and blessed gospel, and train our minds for rational, well-considered service, we must have a constant influx of the word of God shaping our thought patterns so that we can bring every thought captive to Christ.

Keep sober [perhaps perfectly sober if ‘fully’ is to be connected with this instead of with ‘hope’] – Another participle [thus ESV “and being sober-minded] There can be no lapse in the seriousness with which we take our business before God. This does not mean that we are never to exhibit joy (for Peter has already described the Christian experience of saving knowledge of Christ as “joy inexpressible and filled with glory”), but that the constant pursuit of transformation must not be an airy or weightless matter. When we recognize the danger and subtlety of our propensity to make idols of frivolous activities we will be on our guard against using the limited time of our lives in pursuit of things that cannot be turned to edification.. Because we are redeemed by precious blood through a gospel planted in out hearts by the Holy Spirit, we must always be conscious of the seriousness of this call.

Fix your hope – This in the imperative that governs the participles since the participles describe the way in which one must fix his hope. The tense of the imperative means that it can be translated, “Once and for all set your hope.” The word translated “fully” means “as an end in itself.” This should be the purpose of our lives on this earth, in this time, to pursue this end—that is, the hope is the grace that is yet to come. The object of faith is the good news of Christ’s redeeming work. Christ has died for sinners and has been raised again [object of faith] and we await the future “revelation of Jesus Christ” [hope]. Note that our hope is not in this world, even the most pleasant contemplations of it, but only in the previously mentioned “inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven”

Reject the corruption of your former desires that arose from sinful ignorance—“The passions of your former ignorance.”

Scripture represents one’s ignorance of God as purposeful in that one’s passions govern the mind to repress the knowledge of God. “By their unrighteousness suppress the truth” Romans 1:18; “Although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God,” Romans 1:21; “they exchanged the truth about God for a lie,” Romans 1:25; “They did not see fit to acknowledge God,” Romans 1:28; “Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them,” Romans 1:32

Scripture represents God as justified in condemning those that are thus ignorant and justifies God even in sending further delusion. Satanic deceit is founded upon the willing compliance of our governing passions. “Perishing, because they refused to love the truth . . . God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thess 2:10

Look at the holiness of the “Caller”  He who called you is holy and has not, therefore, called us in such a way as to allow us to remain antagonistic to his Being [15, 16]. In Scripture, a call that results in salvation is an effectual operation of God that carries with it the very nature of God himself. To be called necessarily entails having a seed of holiness implanted within us [cf. 1 John 3:9, 10]

With the removal of ignorance his attributes take on a compelling and lovely attraction.

Holiness is the summation of the moral beauty of God.

For another commandment not to be conformed to worldly things, or those ephemeral values of the past that had nothing of the knowledge of God in them, see 1 John 2:15-17.  This, combined with John’s continued argument through the second chapter, also focuses on the character of our hope: “We know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:2, 3 ESV).

Fearsome character of our redemption – 17-21

Our time remaining on earth, before the actualization of the hope to which Peter points us, must be spent with a deep sense of respect, worship, and reverence for the God who has condescended to save and adopt such willfully ignorant sinners as we were. This reverent fear involves

An acknowledgement of God as Father is an acknowledgement, not only of his care and concern for us, but of his authority over us and his right to discipline cf. Hebrews 12:5-11];

God’s favor to his children does not come because he has no regard for righteousness, but in complete harmony with his standing as a God who is impartial in judgment and will act with absolute justice. This makes the reality of salvation ineffably impressive because it is done without any compromise of his absolutely impartial justice.

Our knowledge of God in this way, recued from our futility of life, is controlled by the nature of His redeeming purpose. This is emphasized especially by the cost of our redemption.

The most pure and costly things on earth cannot purchase it. It is of no merely earthly power, or goodness or any other source whatever.

Must be the death of one who owes nothing (for he is without blemish or spot) but nevertheless pays the price of his own “precious blood.” This death as an atoning sacrifice is purposely inflicted, immediately by the hands of unrighteous men as an execution, but exacted ultimately by God in the display of his Son as a propitiation.

 The redeemer must be a person with infinite value to God. Jesus as Messiah who would save his people from their sins was “Foreknown before the foundation of the World.” The Son of God as loved eternally was not foreknown. The love for the Son is naturally eternal, coexistent with the eternality of God and constituting an essential aspect of the singularity of God’s essence. The human nature of Christ, however, is not eternally existent but was purposed and loved before it actually came into being at the moment of the conception of Jesus, Messiah, the Redeemer. That is, God was eternally pleased to deliver his Son into the world by means of an incarnation, a human nature to be generated at a specified moment in time in the womb of a virgin by the Holy Spirit of God and embraced at that precise moment by the eternally generated Son of God. This person, Jesus the Messiah, was chosen and loved in the eternal counsel of God for the purpose of redemption.

His redemption act must be purposeful, specifically designed to give redemption with the full honor of God in tact, “For the sake of you who through him are believers in God.”

Our redemption by mercy is nevertheless consistent with the impartial judgment of God  17, 21

“Raised him from the dead” – God raised him because he had paid the price of sin and thus could overcome the penalty of sin, that is death. “It was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” Peter’s preaching in Acts 2:24.

“Gave him glory” – Not only was he raised from death, but he was taken into heaven in a glorified state. Nothing now inhibits the granting of eternal life in a glorified state in the presence of the Father for the one that was obedient in all things and has rendered the consequences of sin null and void for those for whom he died.

Both our faith and our hope now are in God. Our faith, that is a loving and submissive trust, has as its object the resurrection consequent on the substitutionary death. Our hope centers on the glorification for his glorification means that we too shall be glorified. All of this is bound up in the “sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories” revealed in part to the prophets (1:11).

Heart Changing Power of the New Birth  22-25 – Peter in these verses shows the connections between the word of God, the operation of the Spirit of God, the purification of the heart through truth, and obedience to that truth [faith], all manifest in the new birth.

The new birth captured our hearts for truth and love—22. Whereas before we were deceived by our passions to believe lies, now the work of the Spirit has purified us from those deadly deceitful passions and brought us to believe the truth, not reject it, and to love the brethren, not hold malice and envy toward them. The way of death has been overcome, and the way of life has been introduced. Notice that we do love the brethren, but we are to pursue and engender an ever purer manifestation of that brotherly love. The seed planted in the new birth will grow and mature in transformation of life.

As the price of our redemption must be infinitely lovely and efficacious so the power of our new birth must be. The imperishable seed in this case is a way of describing the operation of the Holy Spirit. We were born “out of” [ek] the Spirit’s work, and “through” [dia] the word of God. The life giving power is the Spirit himself who “is life” (Romans 8:9, 10).

The truth to which we are drawn must be certain and unchanging  23b – 24 , According to Hebrews 4:12, “The word of God is living and active;” it lives peculiarly in giving eternal life when made effectual by the Spirit and it abides in its ongoing impact on the Christian’s life (23).

Peter shows that his position on the word of God is based on the description that the Word gives of itself. The text quoted seems specifically related to that word of God sent forth in his purpose to accomplish his will. In this case in Isaiah 40, the word of the Lord, represented by God’s breath, withers temporal things where they stand – it is effectual in its purpose and its power cannot be resisted. In this case in Peter, that same word that withers flesh like grass gives life when so energized by God’s purpose.

It is found in the apostolic preaching –(25). Peter identifies the preaching of the Apostles as well as the words that they write as having identical authority and power with that of the Old Testament prophets. By its place in the history of redemption, moreover, it is fuller, a complete, more clearly and thoroughly executed, revelation. [2 Peter 3:1, 2]


Shake your mind loose from corruption – We have indwelling sin, but the Spirit of God uses the truth of God to sanctify us and move us to willing and energetic compliance in putting to death the works of the flesh.

Stop believing a lie – The mind must now be transformed by truth.

Find motivation for holiness and security in acceptance by contemplating how the preciousness of Christ exactly fits the holiness of God.

Tom has most recently served as the Professor of Historical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He previously taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he was Professor of Church History and Chair of the Department of Church History. Prior to that, he taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Along with numerous journal articles and scholarly papers, Dr. Nettles is the author and editor of fifteen books. Among his books are By His Grace and For His Glory; Baptists and the Bible, James Petigru Boyce: A Southern Baptist Statesman, and Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles H. Spurgeon.
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