1 Peter 1:13-16
Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober…
I. THE OBLIGATIONS WE ARE UNDER TO IMITATE THE GOD WHOM WE WORSHIP. This is an original obligation, founded in nature itself, requiring us to imitate what it necessitates us to admire. And this obligation is confirmed by the light of reason, teaching us further that imitation of God, as it is most fit in itself, so it cannot but be likewise most acceptable unto Him and agreeable to His will. For the same absolute perfection of the Divine nature which makes us certain that God must Himself be of necessity infinitely holy, just, and good, makes it equally certain that He cannot possibly approve iniquity in others. And the same beauty, the same excellency, the same importance of the rules of everlasting righteousness, with regard to which God is always pleased to make those rules the measure of all His own actions, necessarily prove that it must likewise be His will that all rational creatures should proportionately make them the measure of theirs. In the revelation which God has been pleased to make to us of Himself in Scripture, the necessity of the same duty is more expressly and more clearly enforced (Leviticus 11:44; Leviticus 19:1; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10; 2 Peter 1:4).
II. THE TRUE EXTENT AND PROPER LIMITATIONS OF THIS DUTY.
1. All imitation of God must be understood to be an imitation of His moral attributes only, and not of His natural ones.
2. Even in these moral excellencies it is evident further that it must necessarily mean an imitation of likeness only, and not of equality.
3. Yet ought we also to consider that even in the degrees of goodness it is our duty continually to improve. A perfect example is set before us that aiming always at that, we may make a perpetual progress in the ways of virtue.Conclusion:
1. If true religion consists in the imitation of God, and all imitation of God is of necessity confined to His moral perfections only, then it hence evidently follows that moral virtue is the chief end of religion, and that to place the main stress of religion in anything else besides true virtue is superstition.
2. If true religion consists in the imitation of God, and that which is imitable in God be His moral perfections, hence it follows necessarily that moral excellences, justice, goodness, truth, and the like, are of the same kind in God as in men.
3. From hence it appears of how great importance it is to men to frame to themselves right and worthy notions of God. For such as are the conceptions men have of the object of their worship, such also will proportionably be their own behaviour and practice.
(S. Clarke, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;