// Meditation on 1 Peter 1:14-15 //
4 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.[d]
Walking on a tight-rope seems to be about the most Christian exercise to practice.
The reason for that is that oftentimes, when I go in to read the Word, I find two gloriously true statements that are in tension with each other. Now, when I say tension I do not mean ‘in contradiction’. Something in tension is taut. It is something pulled from two equally strong (or more) points exerting a net similar force. The strength of the rope is shown by the fact that it can sustain the tensile pull and force*. This is much different than a contradiction.
In Paul’s letter to the church in 1 Peter we see two points in tension. We look at the verse above and see the word “children” and we rejoice! But then we see the adjective “Obedient”, and we follow the verses that culminate into a call “Be Holy”, and we wonder.
How do we reconcile the fact that we are beloved children? “A people for His own possession” (1 Pt 2:9) and the push to be holy and perfect in conduct? What if we are not holy, are we still children? And if we are always children, do we have to obey fully or just a little bit?
The age old tension is found here: how do we walk the tightrope between being a strict rule-following legalist and a disobedient rule-breaking pacifist?
As always, Tim Keller can say more than most people in a single tweet:
Today, find joy in the fact that you are a beloved child of God. Loved not because you are inherently awesome, or because you deserve it. Don’t use it to build up your self esteem. God loves you infinitely because He just wants to love you. Use that to find your most profound identity. Use that to bring you out of yourself and into external thanksgiving and freedom.
And, from that position of humility and bursting euphoric joy in being loved unconditionally, obey. God’s grace and love provides the fuel to gladly obey your loving Father.
Walk the tightrope. It will hold you up.
* My more physics-inclined friends may cringe at my poor job of explaining that.