1 Pet 1:13
“Gird up the loins of your mind”
Now Peter turns from encouragement to exhortation. These Christians were to pass through hard trials. They may have even died for the name of Christ. The fiery trial would not so much be a physical trial as it would a spiritual trial. Persecution has a way of dividing the real and false believers in Christ. See Matthew 13:20-21. Peter’s exhortation is a call to prepare for spiritual warfare because this is where the hardest fight is taking place in our lives.
“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;”
A Prepared Mind
What does it mean to, “gird up the loins of our mind?” In order to understand this, we need to consider how people dressed in the time of Christ. In ancient times, men of the near east in Judea would have worn a tunic. This tunic was kind of like a long knee-length garment worn by men extending to the knees. The ends were loose. If you research clothing in the ancient near east, I believe you will not find pants. The girdle was a belt worn around the waist used to hold things such as tools and/or weapons. The phrase, “gird up your loins” can be found several times in the bible, see Job 38:3, Jeremiah 1:17, and Isaiah 5:27. In ancient times when a man was about to take part in physically strenuous labor or go to battle, he would tuck the hem of his tunic into his girdle to enable maximum mobility. See https://www.mbu.edu/seminary/sunesis/gird-up-your-loins/ for a nice write up of the subject. If we compare this description to what the Christians Peter was writing to were facing, we see they were being told to guard the minds and prepare for spiritual warfare.
This is applicable to all of God’s people since we have been called into a spiritual warfare. In Ephesians 6:12 Paul wrote that we are not in conflict with the physical things of this world, but we are in conflict with, “spiritual wickedness in high places.” Paul also uses the imagery of girding our loins in Ephesians 6:14, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.” Looking at 1 Peter and Ephesians we see we need to have our minds girt about with truth. So what is the truth? We have this answer in John 17:17 when Jesus was praying to the Father he said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” So we need to have our minds girt about with truth which is the word of God. So for our purposes, we need to be studying the word of God regularly. Let us be marked by that character the Psalmist spoke of when he exclaimed, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psa 1:1-2)
This leads us to the second part of Peter’s exhortation to, “be sober.” Peter is not taking up the cause of the modern temperance movement against alcohol, though we are taught not be given to much wine. He is rather stressing to the brethren they need to be free from all forms of intoxicants to the mind and spirit. John Gill comments, “to a being inebriated with the cares of this life, which choke the word, and make it unfruitful, and lead men into temptation, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, and from the faith of Christ; and likewise to a being intoxicated with errors, and false doctrine, which lull men asleep, and render them incapable of serving Christ, and his church” (Gill’s commentary 1 Peter 1:13). Gill’s commentary is actually pretty concise here, he points out the apostle is warning his readers not to beg overly concerned with the things of this life. Do not pursue too many earthly obligations, or get wrapped up in things that have no bearing on the Lord’s church. Some people, for example, have made an idol out of the news and politics. Please take careful note, I am not nor was the apostle stating we had to quit our jobs and separate ourselves from the world completely. What the apostle is saying is we need to have a sound, grave, moderated mind when it comes to our dealings within and outside the church. Peter reiterates this point in 1 Pet 5:8 when he reminds his audience that their, “adversary the devil” is walking about, “seeking whom he may devour.” How can we resist him “steadfast in the faith” (1 Pet 5:9) except we are sober and have a grave mind concerning the word of God?
Hope to the End
Having a prepared and clear mind, the apostle exhorts his readers to “hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” They were to have a perfect hope, a solid hope, and a sure hope for that grace which will be revealed through Jesus Christ. A biblical hope is not what we consider a modern hope. In our modern lexicon, the word hope is often applied when we want something to happen. It can mean also mean, “to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment.” See the following link for the definition, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hope We may say I hope to get that job, I hope to get that promotion, or I hope to win the lottery, but what we are really saying is I want to get that job, etc. This kind of hope has no foundation, but our own desires, dreams, assumptions, and plans.
The hope Peter was writing about is a living hope. This hope can mean a joyful expectation. Just like the modern hope, the common meaning of expectation exists between the two. However, there is a vast difference with a biblical hope. It is one rooted in the firm counsel, promises, and purpose of God Almighty. Look at the following for further study, Romans 8:24, Romans 15:13, Eph 1:18, 44, Php 1:20, Col 1:23. So if our hope is grounded in the faith in God’s promises, what is our hope? Is our hope for riches? Is our hope for fame? Is our hope for a long life on earth? Peter answers this question when he says we are hoping for the grace to be revealed at Christ’s revelation. Consider what Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.”
Our hope is not in this world; it is not in the things of this world. Our hope is in the grace that is delivered through Christ, without Christ Jesus there would be no grace of God toward us. There would only be the law and condemnation. Peter is reminding his audience to keep their sights set firmly on the promises of God. Promises of ultimate deliverance, even if they suffered a violent death and eternal life. This hope must be rooted and grounded in the promises of God. I pray God will keep us in his grace to hope to the end. Let us remember to pray for one another brothers and sisters.