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Travel Directions From Peter - Scott Richardson

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March 21, 2010


Travel Directions

Peter writes a letter that he sends to the strangers (sojourners) who had left one land and are living in another (1 Peter 1:1). These are now residents of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bythinia. There are a lot of Jews in these places who are displaced from Jerusalem because of persecution, but there is a reference here that extends beyond just these individuals’ physical locations. Notice Peter also says that this letter is to the “chosen … to obey Jesus and be sprinkled with His blood.”

In 1 Peter 2:11, the terms “aliens” and “strangers” are used. This helps us see how this discussion has to do with a figurative application. It is describing Christians — those who have left the old land of sin and are traveling to a city which has different foundations (Hebrews 11:9-13).

Peter, after introducing the idea of pilgrims, spends some time talking about the hope Christians have (1 Peter 1:312). Then he gives instructions as to how Christians ought to travel (1 Peter 1:13-17). This “how” is the direction that Peter gives for the Christian’s travel through a strange and alien land. The directions are given by inspiration in a clear fashion.

Travel with your minds prepared (1 Peter 1:13).

This “girding” refers to the custom of the Israelites girding up the long flowing outer garments in making ready to travel (Exodus 12:11). When traveling, one can’t afford to be slowed down or caused to fall by something extraneous. Christians are to gather up improper thoughts, illegal feelings, forbidden activities, and everything else over which we might stumble as we travel. We would be wise to think on these things (Philippians 4:8). The writer of Hebrews reminds us to look to Jesus and remember faith as we remove anything from our lives that hinders us in our forward progress (Hebrews 12:1–3).

Travel with a sober spirit (1 Peter 1:13).

This journey is a serious one. It is not just a sight-seeing trip. It is necessary to have self-control (1 Peter 1:13). This is what being sober means. Our destination is so important that we cannot be frivolous or take the journey in a light-hearted way. Neither can we dare to show over-interest in every passing thing (1 Peter 1:24). We know the word “diligence” — careful and persistent work or effort. Diligence is the thing which Peter tells Christians to apply so that we may add virtues (2 Peter 1:5-11).

Travel with your hope fixed (1 Peter 1:13).

The American Heritage Dictionary gives the definition of “fix” — to implant firmly in one’s mind. The believer has a hope (1 Peter 1:3-12). It is this hope which must be implanted in the mind of a Christian. This hope must be maintained to the end (1 Peter 1:13). Why must hope remain until the end? The inheritance is at the end (1 Peter 1:3-5). The journey must be completed.

Travel as obedient children (1 Peter 1:14).

On a trip, children should not determine the route or set the rules. How awful to be “cooped up” in an automobile with boisterous and disobedient children while on a long trip. Peter tells us, of course, that Christians are children of God — one becomes a child of God through obeying the truth (1 Peter 1:22,23). A child of God must remain faithful, that is, obedient — a follower of God’s rules and route — if he is to be an acceptable child (1 Peter 1:14; Matt. 7:21; Luke 6:46). God expects us to be obedient children.

Travel as holy in all your behavior (1 Peter 1:14,15).

To be holy is to be set apart, sanctified. Some things are involved in being holy. Not fashioning ourselves according to our former lusts is one of them (1 Peter 1:14). As Christians, we are different to those in the world (1 Peter 2:11,12). We have the greatest of motivations — we are to be holy because the One who calls us is holy (1 Peter 1:15,16). Furthermore, look at what has been done to enable us to travel in holiness — we are redeemed “with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18,19).

Travel conducting yourselves in fear (1 Peter 1:17).

The word “fear” is used in several different ways in the Bible. Sometimes, it is from the word which means reverence or awe as in Ecclesiastes 12:13. Sometimes, it is from the word which means timidity as in Revelation 21:8. But here it is from the word which means to be terrified as in Matthew 27:54 and in Galatians 2:12. As we travel, we are to travel carefully with the fear of displeasing the God we serve lest we incur his wrath.

What kind of a traveler are you?

Have you begun your travel for the Lord? Won’t you begin if you have not? You can by obedience to His word. If you have begun, but are stuck in the mud and mire of sin and have ceased to go forward, won’t you get rid of your sins as God has provided and then get on with the journey? Are you following His travel directions?

— -S. Scott Richardson

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