I Peter 1:17 “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.”
II Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
Having previously dealt with the saint’s conversion, Peter moves into the sphere of the saint’s conduct. In I Peter 1:17, Peter gives two things that should constrain believers to conduct themselves in accordance to God’s preferences for His children. The saint’s should be constrained by a connection to the Father, and a courtroom in the future. Having given the motivation, Peter magnifies the method, “pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.” Within that statement there are three areas that should concern the child of God; the first being one’s activities “pass the time.” While none of us know our length of days, in most cases there is a space of time, a succession or measurement of moments that lie between conversion and completion in the Christian life. How are those moments to be spent? The Greek word Peter used for “pass” means to busy oneself. The saints are to follow the example of Christ when He said, “wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business” (Luke 2:49). We are living in a day when there is no problem being busy; the problem for most, if not all, revolves around the secular with no time for the spiritual! Most individuals spend more time in one evening watching TV, playing on their phone or computer, or attending to sports than they give to the things of God in a whole week.
The second area of concern is the believer’s alienation, “your sojourning here.” The key to understanding Peter’s emphasis is in the word, “sojourning.” It means a foreign resident such as a stranger. Peter wants to remind us that this world is not our home! In John 17, Jesus declared that those that chose to follow Him were “in the world”, but were not “of the world.” When you study the two phrases you discover that Jesus is telling us that God’s children occupy a fixed position of rest in the presence of the world, but they do not derive their origin that controls the flow of action or motion from the world. Many of the problems that the church has, can be attributed to trying to get settled in the world and fit in! Paul emphasized our relationship to the world when writing to the saints at Corinth, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ” (II Corinthians 5:20). Those to whom Peter was writing needed to be reminded that they were foreign dignitaries placed here as representatives of the King or Kings, and the Lord of Lords and they should act accordingly.
The final area of concern is the believer’s attitude, “in fear.” Peter is clear, there is to be a reverential fear and respect that constraints proper conduct when one considers the fact that the child of God will stand before one who “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Jesus declared “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). There is a day coming very soon when the redeemed will experience the second coming of the Lord. John said, “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:3).
While you may be converted, that does not mean that you are Christ-like; that will be revealed by your activities, alienation, and attitude! They are a sure sign that you’re living right!