This passage in 1 Peter greatly encouraged my heart this morning, highlighting our holiness through the work of the Holy Spirit, our faith purified by God in the midst of great trials, and our sinless, spotless Lamb of God whose precious lifeblood has made us forever clean in God’s sight.
“God the Father chose you long ago, and the Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Jesus Christ and are cleansed by his blood. May you have more and more of God’s special favor and wonderful peace.
All honor to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is by his boundless mercy that God has given us the privilege of being born again. Now we live with a wonderful expectation because Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And God, in his mighty power, will protect you until you receive this salvation, because you are trusting him. It will be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure trials for a while.
These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus is reveled to the whole world…
So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the special blessings that will come to you at the return of Jesus Christ. Obey God because you are his children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of doing evil; you didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God—who chose you to be his children—is holy. For he himself has said, ‘You must be holy because I am holy.’
And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites when he judges. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as foreigners here on earth. For you know God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless spotless Lamb of God. God chose him for this purpose long before the world began, but now in these final days, he was sent to earth for all to see. And he did this for you.
Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And because God raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory, your faith and hope can be placed confidently in God. Now you can have sincere love for your brothers and sisters because you were cleansed from your sins when you accepted the truth of the Good News. So see to it that you really do love each other intensely with all your hearts.” (1 Peter 1:2-7, 13-22)