In over a year of blogging about Peter is has been a time of many conversions. It is easy to think I can only be talking about a multitude of persons coming into their own individual conversions.
But that does not have to be the case. When you look at Peter, or ourselves, the spiritual journey of even the most ardent seeker is one of steps forward and backward, having a part of the map that seems clear but being redirected by the voice of the GPS’s in our lives (e.g. circumstances, trusted loved ones, honored mentors).
Change is always here to stay despite our self-delusions at times that we own a piece of perfection. Whether we are self-deluded by the ease of moral relativism or an experience of religion that loses center of God’s power to change, we are all called to make a crucial turn from our complacency and renew our perspective that we are made for our Creator. Over time Simon Peter matured in knowing that fact. His modern successor says that he personally is a sinner and never forgets it.
1 Peter 1:14-19
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
1 Peter 1:14-19
14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance.
You did not know what you did was wrong before, but you know now. Knowledge is power—to change.
15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Four-letter word I know. In this post-modern age we think we are called first to be happy. Just watch Joel Osteen and you will be reminded of the verse “Blessed are those who are already happy.” Oh, that’s right, it is “Blessed are those who mourn.”
Mourning turns to repentance when we are captivated by Jesus as the Lamb (more on that below). Repentance means that you call yourself on your filth (the fearless moral inventory of AA is on track) and ask for forgiveness. The forgiveness is what makes us holy.
17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile.
“But how about if I keep Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior only? I promise to think of Him highly. Questioning my own acts and motives keeps me emotionally safe and comfortable.”
Safety and comfort is the problem if your intent is to be a disciple of Jesus. Reverent fear does not deny His grace but appreciate the tenuous line of walking away from it. To start with Jesus as Lord is great, so do whatever He asks. If it is to take time to feed the homeless, serve them as if you are serving Jesus Himself, because you are. If it is to avoid even being close to temptation for your historical addiction or compulsion, then drive around the block and talk to Him. He will never just judge you by your deeds without giving you a way out.
18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.
“Oh, do you have to say blood? That is such a graphic term. Why be reminded about what was His job and not my thing?”
It always comes back to love. The average sacrificial lamb is not willing with full consent but Jesus allowed Himself to be led to the cross and was out of love. Without love, the blood is without value. And if we take from this passage a call to holiness that does not reinforce that our holy Father is our loving Father then His suffering and our working it out will be unendurable.
Paul had an understanding of this being worked out in love ultimately from the personal Lord and Savior dimension to a broader one for the journey believers share together.
Colossians 1:24 “I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.”
Let us love Jesus enough to change, repent, confess, suffer and, in times of refreshing by the Holy Spirit, rejoice!