1 Peter 1:13-16
Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober…
We take grace as denoting in our text precisely what it ordinarily denotes in God's dealing with a sinner, and wish to show you that grace thus understood may become, or rather, produce glory. We will briefly examine into the twofold achievement of grace — deliverance from sin, and consignment to God's service.
1. As to deliverance from sin, shall not we be borne out by the experience of every believer, when we declare that it is his happiness to overcome sin, and his misery to be exposed to its assaults? If this corruption were wholly eradicated, he might continually walk in the shinings of the countenance of his Maker, and feel, so to speak, the fresh and free air of a better land circulating around him, as he passed on in his pilgrimage. So that all the interruptions of happiness are to be referred to sinfulness, and happiness becomes uniform, or rather, advances uniformly towards perfection, just in proportion as the sinfulness is subdued, and the whole man given over to a holy dominion. And if this be a correct account of a believer's experience, it will show us that grace and glory are one and the same. It is to the operations of grace that we must ascribe all the progress I have made in overcoming sinfulness; and if this progress b¢ the same as progress in happiness, we proclaim that to the operations of grace must be ascribed all the happiness which a believer attains. And if it would thus be perfect happiness to realise to the full the renewing power of grace, how can we better describe perfect happiness than by supposing grace given without measure, and acting without rival? And if, yet further, perfect happiness be one ingredient of future glory, is not the gift of grace the gift of glory, and does not St. Peter address himself to the highest and most rapturous imagination when he bids us "hope for grace at the revelation of Jesus Christ?" This will be yet clearer if you observe the period at which the grace will be received. The second advent of our Lord was unquestionably present to St. Peter's mind. It is on this grand consummation that apostles and holy men of old delight to linger, and from this that they fetch their motives and consolations. They well knew that whatever the happiness of separate spirits, however deep and beautiful their repose after the clang and din of warfare, there can be no perfection of felicity until the widowhood be over, and the soul dwell once more in the body. They looked for grace "at the revelation of Jesus Christ," because they knew with that revelation would come the resurrection of the saints, the body and soul both redeemed, both purified, both endowed with eternity. If, therefore, this consummation be glory, what is glory but grace completed?
2. We have thus far only treated of grace as producing deliverance from sin; but this is not the only achievement of grace; yet further we must consider it as consignment to the service of God. There are none but true Christians who at all fulfil the great end of their being, that of promoting the glory of their Maker; and it is not through the workings of any human principle that they propose to themselves so sublime an honour; there must have been an alienation of the affections, and a withdrawment of the heart from temporary interests. We know, indeed, that all things, wickedness as well as righteousness, one way or another, promote God's glory; but while the Almighty, in the exercise of His sovereignty, compels a tribute from the rebellious, that tribute is offered by none but the believer. It is, therefore, to grace, the principle imparted by God, that we ascribe every effort to promote God's glory; nothing can be presented to God which has not first been received from Him; according to the words of David — "All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee"; and if it be the direct result of the workings of grace that we are led to consecrate ourselves to the service of God, then let grace have unrestrained operation, and, dust and ashes though we be, should we not become ineffably glorious? It will not be the robe of light which shall make us glorious, though brighter threads than sunbeams shall be woven into its texture; it will not be the palm and the harp that shall make us glorious, though the one shall have grown on the trees of Paradise, and the other have been strung by the Mediator's hands; we shall be glorious as ministering to God's glory glorious as the servants of the Almighty — glorious with more than an angel's glory, because entrusted with more than an angel's commission. And, if this be our glory, poetry may give her music to what she counts more beautiful, anti painting its tints on more sparkling and captivating things, but Christianity, the scheme of human restoration, recognises no glory but the living to the glory of God. If this be glory, then where is the word which could describe glory so emphatically as grace? Grace is that which produces consecration to God's service, and therefore grace is nothing less than incipient glory.
(H. Melvill, B. 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;