"As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you in holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.' And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot."
1 Peter 1: 14-19
In this passage, Peter is calling his readers to godly obedience and holy living. He sets the bar pretty high, calling his readers to a holiness that parallels that of God. This leaves me wondering, "how in the heck could I ever be that obedient and that holy?" If you know yourself, you will know that being obedient to God's perfect standard is more than difficult.
I love this passage because it sets this radical call to be holy in context. What is the means by which we are able to be holy and obey God? How do we break away from our sinful patterns in which we once lived? Peter starts the passage off by saying, "As obedient children". We obey because we are children. Our identity shift from spiritual orphans to beloved children of God.
My college football coach used to always say, "Rules without relationship equals rebellion. Rules with relationship equals results."I think there is a lot of truth to that. Without a proper relationship with God, our default will always be rebellion. In the gospel, we are able to obey because of our new relationship with God. We obey, because,as God's children, He loves us. In fact, he couldn't possibly love us, or be more delighted in us that he already is. The reason is because we were ransomed in Christ. Not only did this act of ransom (Jesus dying on the cross as the ransom penalty for our sins) demonstrate God's love towards us, it also connects us and brings us into a relationship with him. It secures our place as his children. We now have the right to adopted as God's children. Further, the same way the Father views the Son (Jesus), he now views us.
So, this is why Peter starts by saying, "As obedient children." It's as if he is saying, "because you have been made God's children, because you are united to Him, because God is your perfect Father who loves you, because Christ has ransomed you, go and obey. Because you are in God's family, you are now able to resemble the holiness of your Father."
This is good news for someone like me who constantly falls on my face. This is good news for someone who tends to view my obedience before God as a try out to be on God's team. The truth is, I'm already God's child. I already made the team. And me making the team wasn't contingent upon my performance, but because Jesus picked me and ransomed me so that I could be participate.