Charles Simeon Commentary - 1 Peter 1:13 - 1:13

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Charles Simeon Commentary - 1 Peter 1:13 - 1:13

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1Pe_1:13. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

THE truths of God deserve our attention on account of their own excellence; but they are principally to be valued for the effects they produce on our lives. The Apostles never rest satisfied with stating a mere system of doctrines, they invariably proceed to make a practical application of them to the soul. St. Peter had briefly opened the blessed state of true believers. He had represented them as begotten to a glorious inheritance, of which their joy in Christ was an earnest, and to which, through their present trials, they would be advanced. He then urged the near approach of that glory, as a reason for exerting themselves more diligently in their Christian calling—“Wherefore,” &c.

The words of the text lead us to consider,

I.       The great object of a Christian’s pursuit—

There are in Scripture many beautiful descriptions of heaven, but none more interesting than that contained in the words before us.

The day of judgment is here called “the revelation of Jesus Christ”—

[Jesus Christ was revealed in the first promise that was made to man [Note: Gen_3:15.]. He was also exhibited in the sacrifices which Abel offered [Note: Heb_11:4; Heb_12:24.]. In successive ages he was made known in clearer prophecies [Note: Gen_22:18 and Isa_53:4-5; Isa_53:11.], and typified by various ordinances of the Jewish ritual [Note: Compare Exo_12:5. with 1Pe_1:19.]. In process of time he was personally “manifested in human flesh,” and shewed himself to be the Son of God by most irrefragable proofs [Note: Act_2:22. Rom_1:4.]. In the preaching of his Gospel he was yet more fully revealed. The glory of God as shining in his face is most transcendently displayed [Note: 2Co_4:6.]; still however “we see him as yet only through a glass darkly [Note: 1Co_13:12.].” But in the last day he will appear in all his majesty and glory [Note: Mat_25:31.]: he will “be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire [Note: 2Th_1:7-8.].” His enemies, no less than his friends, will then see him to be “King of kings, and Lord of lords.”]

In that day, “grace will be brought unto us”—

[Grace and glory are sometimes used as synonymous terms in Scripture [Note: 2Co_3:18. compared with the text.]; indeed, grace is glory begun, and glory is grace consummated. The spiritual blessings which God bestows, appear now to be the gifts of grace [Note: Eph_2:7-8.]; but how much more shall we acknowledge the glories of heaven to be so! How shall we marvel at the goodness of God in all his dealings towards us! How shall we adore his wisdom, even in the darkest of his dispensations. How shall we stand amazed that we were saved, while so many others were lost! Surely, “when the top-stone is brought forth, we shall cry, Grace, grace, unto it [Note: Zec_4:7.].” All this felicity “shall be brought unto us” openly, and in rich abundance. Now, the grace imparted to us is small, though “sufficient for us;” and the consolations vouchsafed unto us, are known only to ourselves. But in that day the kingdom will be given us in the presence of the whole universe [Note: Mat_25:32; Mat_25:34.]; and our happiness shall be commensurate with our capacities and desires. What we partake of now, we obtain by diligent pursuit. What we receive then, shall be “brought unto us” freely by the hand of Jesus himself.]

In the meantime it becomes us to seek it with all earnestness.

II.      In what manner we ought to seek it—

The directions given by the Apostle are very suitable and instructive—

He recommends to us three things:

1.       Activity of mind—

[The Jews were accustomed to wear long garments; these they girded about their loins, when it was needful to use expedition [Note: Luk_12:35-37.]. By this figure, familiar to them, the Apostle represents our duty. Our minds are dissipated by ten thousand vanities, and our affections, for the most part, flow loosely round us, but our thoughts and desires should be carefully gathered in. We should pray, like David, “Unite my heart to fear thy name [Note: Psa_86:11.].” Heaven is not to be sought with a divided heart. Earthly affections would impede our progress, as flowing garments in a race: the prophet compares them to an incumbrance of thick clay upon the feet [Note: Hab_2:6.]. We should therefore “gird up the loins of our mind,” and “give all diligence to make our calling and election sure.”]

2.       Sobriety of manners—

[Sobriety, in the scripture use of the term, means moderation. Excessive cares, and inordinate attachments, are very unfavourable to the soul: they so engross the mind with present things, as to draw it away from those which are eternal. We cannot therefore too carefully watch against these evils. We should endeavour to be “dying daily” to the world. We should be as one crucified to it; and it, as one crucified to us [Note: Gal_6:14.]. This is the state and character of every true Christian [Note: Gal_5:24.]; and we must attain it, if we would successfully pursue the one thing needful.]

3.       Steadfastness of faith—

[Faith respects the certainty of the promises; and hope, the accomplishment. Now, our faith is apt to waver, and our hope, to languish. Temptations often allure us to forego our interest in heavenly things, and unbelief would often persuade us that we have no part or lot in them. But we must be careful never to be moved away from the hope of the Gospel [Note: Col_1:23.]. Hope is the very anchor of the soul, that must keep us steadfast in this tempestuous world [Note: Heb_6:19.]. We must “therefore hold fast our confidence and the rejoicing of our hope firm to the end [Note: Heb_3:6.].” The nearer we come to the prize, the more earnest should be our expectation of it. If our conflicts be many, we should, even against hope, believe in hope [Note: Rom_4:18.]. The proper disposition of our souls is well described by the Apostles [Note: 2Pe_3:12.]—; and it is to persons of this description only, that Christ’s appearance will be a source of joy [Note: Heb_9:28.].]


1.       Those who are only nominal Christians—

[Your loins indeed are girt, but it is for the pursuit of earthly objects. Instead of having your souls engrossed with heavenly things, you are perfectly indifferent towards them. As for your hopes they extend to nothing but what relates to this present life. Alas! what an awful contrast is there between you and the true Christian! What then, suppose ye, shall he brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ? The Apostle, in a fore-cited passage, tells you, it will be “vengeance [Note: 2Th_1:7-8.];” yes, and Jesus will bring it with his own hand. It is in vain to think that your portion will be the same with that of a diligent, self-denying Christian. But, blessed be God, grace is now brought to you by the Gospel; yea, all the glory of heaven is now offered you by God himself [Note: Act_2:38-39.]. Only repent, and go unto God as reconciled in Christ Jesus, then shall you “pass from death to life,” and from hell to heaven.]

2.       Those who are Christians indeed—

[There are some, who “shine as lights in a dark world:” some, who, while living on earth, “have their conversation in heaven.” Doubtless, ye meet with many conflicts and troubles in your way. To you then in particular is the text addressed: for persons circumstanced like you these words were written [Note: 1Pe_1:1; 1Pe_1:6.]. Survey that grace which is now speedily to be brought unto you. Take a view of all the glory and felicity of the heavenly world; compare with that your light and momentary afflictions: you will then soon form the same estimate as St. Paul before you did [Note: Rom_8:18.]. Be not then diverted from the great object of your pursuit. Remember the solemn caution which God himself has given you [Note: Heb_10:38.]—; and take for your encouragement that faithful promise [Note: Mat_24:13.]—]