Lesson 6—Fear that Leads to Holiness
Audio Commentary by David Daniel
Scripture: 1 Peter 1:17-19
Lesson Goal: To understand how holy fear can lead the believer to live a holy life.
Believers understand the importance of the truth found in Romans 10:13, “for whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Just as calling on God is basic for salvation, Peter now instructs the believer that it is necessary to “call” on God to provide the power to live a holy life.
(Verse 17) “and if you call on the Father”
“Call”—meaning to call upon, to appeal to, to invoke
Peter presents two thoughts in this portion of his writing.
The believer may call on the Father. It is a privilege, opportunity, and blessing granted to the believer. The believer may call on the Father who is approachable.
The believer must call on the Father. That which the believer needs to live a holy life can only be provided by God’s power; and therefore the believer has been invited and urged to call upon Him.
“who without partiality judges according to each one’s work”—Peter instructs his readers that God’s judgment is absolutely impartial. This truth should protect believers against the presumed license to sin. It can be explained this way: When the believer has the mindset that “I can sin, and because God is my Father who loves me, I can get away with it,” he/she is on dangerous ground. “The truth of having God as Father leads Peter to the exact opposite conclusion. God is impartial. The fact that we are called His children testifies to this. Thus, instead of presumptuous sin, which is always the result of taking His grace for granted, Peter motivates us to live our lives in a (holy fear) because of the impending and impartial judgment” (Helm).
“Conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.”— As he sojourns through this life, the believer should live in a reverential fear of God. As believers, we are pilgrims passing through this world on our way to another world. As our Father, God allows us to call upon Him and to approach Him boldly, but not brazenly. Today there is not much focus placed on “fear of the Lord.” Perhaps this is because of a misunderstanding of the idea, concept, and meaning of “fear” of the Lord.
Salvation of the soul lends to holiness of life. It is a very good thing to have a healthy “fear” of God. Fear means reverence, awe, and respect. Peter wants believers to understand that as a result of their relationship with the heavenly Father, they need to conduct themselves in holiness. Peter does not hesitate to refer to the great holiness and justice of God who desires reverence before Him.
➢ Is the “fear” of God a healthy fear? Explain.
➢ What is the basis of the believer’s fear of God?
➢ How does this fear motivate the believer to live a life of holiness?
(Verse 17) “judges”—Let us briefly review the believer’s judgment. Paul gives the believer a sober reminder of the judgment.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:10
One day, all believers will be brought before the judgment seat of Christ to give account of their lives before God, and He will reward them accordingly. This is not a judgment of salvation; it is a judgment, without partiality, of each believer’s works, actions, attitude and motivation.
Read 1 Corinthians 3:9-15.
(1 Peter 1:18-19) Believers conduct themselves with holy lives in fear of the Lord by “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
“Knowing”—It is a wonderful thing to know.
“Knowing” what?—That we (believers) have been “redeemed.”
“Redeemed”—Greek word lytroō, to free a slave by paying a ransom.
The word “redeemed” carried special meaning to people in the first-century Roman Empire. In this empire, there were literally millions of slaves. Redemption was the cost to buy freedom. This passage deals specifically with the cost of salvation and the means by which God received payment.
To the Greeks, the word “redeemed” was also a technical term or word for paying money to buy back a prisoner of war. Peter has these meanings in mind as he writes, but one image he has burning in his heart is the picture of the first Passover recorded in Exodus 12:1-13. The lamb’s life was the price required to spare the life of each Israelite family’s firstborn child. The lamb was divinely ordained, and its sacrifice typified the sacrificial death of an innocent substitute that redeemed those in bondage. The Passover event became the symbol of substitutionary redemption (I Corinthians 5:7-8).
The Puritan Thomas Watson correctly observed that redemption was God’s greatest work: “Great was the work of creation, but greater the work of redemption; it cost more to redeem us than to make us; in the one there was but the speaking of a word, in the other the shedding of blood.” All believers were once in bondage to sin, and only Christ’s redemption broke that bondage.
See Romans 6:6 and 6:17-18. Man has nothing to offer God for his redemption.
“precious”—meaning costly, something of the highest value.
Our redemption was very costly. We were bought with a precious price—the blood of Jesus. Understanding the price that was paid for our freedom (redemption), how can we do anything less than live for Him who died for us?
Questions for Life Focus
How can a better understanding of your redemption give you a greater “fear” of the Lord? Remember the definition of fear.
How can this “fear” of the Lord lead you to a greater desire to live for Him?
What is one area of your life that you desire to be holy?
What provides your greatest motivation to live a holy life?
Discuss your answer with others in the class.
In three sentences, write what it means to you to be “redeemed.”