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” (I Peter 1:17).
God is holy (Isaiah 6:1-7; Leviticus 11:44; I Peter 1:16). This means that He is absolutely different or apart from His creation and that He is absolutely pure. As Dr. R.C Sproul comments, “The saints of Scripture were called saints not because they were already pure but because they were people who were set apart and called to purity.”
While it is true that God is our heavenly Father (I John 1:12-13) and that He has adopted us as His children (2 Corinthians 6:18; Psalm 68:5-6; Galatians 4:4-5; Romans 8:14-17), believers will still be judged and rewarded for their good works before God (Romans 14:10-12; I Corinthians 3:12-15). Augustine called this “God crowning His own gifts.”
Therefore, we conduct ourselves while we live on this earth in fear. We must still approach God with humble reverence (Psalm 34:11). We must not approach Him in worship, in prayer, or in service with a flippant or casual attitude of indifference. We serve Him, and not the other way around.
Recalling I Peter 1:1, Peter once again refers to the believer’s time here on earth as one of exile. Our status in this fallen world is that of aliens, strangers and pilgrims. We do not seek to be like the world, but rather to be distinct from it, as befitting our status as belonging to God’s kingdom. To his first century audience, this took on not only a spiritual meaning, but also a physical one. It may also for many today.
Man’s chief end, according to the Westminster Catechism, is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. May we do so today!
Soli deo Gloria!