Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Tuesday, 07 March 2017
1 Peter 1:17
17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
2 Corinthians 7:1
1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
n the preceding passage (1:13-16), Peter taught us that hope and holiness are the fruits of the great salvation in Jesus Christ. The new passage is connected to the preceding by means of the word "and" which appears at the beginning of verse 17. Thus we understand that holiness is inevitably connected to fearing God, a challenge that Peter gives to all Christians at the end of verse 17.
Peter identifies those who will live holy lives as "ye (who) call on the Father" (v.17a). Like a child who is totally reliant on his father, a Christian constantly ‘calls upon’ his heavenly ‘Father’. No one can live as a Christian without calling upon the Lord constantly. As Paul said Christians must "pray without ceasing." Prayer and holy living are like ‘the two sides of a coin.’ A desire to be holy leads to prayer; and prayer channels the will and strength to be holy. That's why Paul reminded the church at Corinth that they "are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours" (1 Corinthians 1:2; Cf. 2 Timothy 2:22).
Apostle Peter then teaches in verse 17 that fear of God is the first godly virtue that characterizes the holy people who call on the heavenly Father. He wrote, "If ye call on the Father . . . pass the time of your sojourning here in fear." What virtues does the term "Father" bring to your mind? Your answer may be, "Love, patience, mercy, care, etc." However, do not use those terms with any notion of laxity or permissiveness in them. Our heavenly Father is a righteous Judge. His love and mercy do not immunize or inactivate His holiness and justice. Hence Peter's words, "if ye call on the Father who. . . judgeth."
In verse 17 Peter is referring to the accountability of Christians before God’s judgment seat. Though the punishments of our sins are already borne by Christ, we still be held responsible for our attitudes and actions. Being God’s children, we are responsible for proper behaviour that is consistent with our Father's holy nature. How will God judge us? First of all He will judge us individually based on each one’s ‘work.’ There is no way we can blame someone else for our deeds. Each one of us will be judged according to our actions. Secondly, He will judge us impartially. There will not be any discrimination, prejudice or inequity in God’s judgment. He is fully capable of bringing every believer to His rightful judgment.
The fear of God is necessary to help us to cultivate the right attitude in our life on earth.
Father, Teach me to fear Thee that I may have no fear of Thy judgment. Amen.