17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
I find it interesting that in the definitions for the word used here for “fear,” one of them is “reverence for your husband.” Afterall, are we not called as the church “the bride of Christ”? Before we get into the mission of Christ, let’s first think about the first two verses. We don’t like to think of “fearing God” as being one who scares others. I think of other uses of this word throughout the scriptures when it is accompanied by the words “and trembling.” We don’t like to admit that our God is scary…because that is too confrontational for the majority of us. Yet, whenever God shows up in the bible or when an angel (messenger) of God shows up reflecting His glory, the first words that are said to the person is “do not be afraid.” God’s presence is so magnificent, brilliant, and holy that we have no option but to fear because His Glory reveals all of our faults. As Peter says here He impartially judges us according to our works. We aren’t perfect and it shows whenever God’s glory shines upon us. Peter further explains that all the thing we try to do right and all the traditions we learned from our families that are supposedly part of living a godly life still aren’t enough. Yeah, we have reason to be afraid of the judgment of God. But, the story does not end there.
We get a description of God’s character in relation to Jesus Christ in the following 2 verses. First, we learn that because of Jesus the Christ, we no longer have to fear, because we have been given an opportunity to receive God’s Grace through His blood. His love is greater than all of our iniquities and imperfections. How can a loving God condemn us to hell? He hasn’t, He gave us a way out. How can anyone be foolish enough not to accept it? Peter is explaining here that because what we have to offer is not good enough, God made a way for us to spend forever with Him. I love when Peter says but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. Why? So that your faith and hope are in God.
We put so much faith and hope in other things and people, but they don’t satisfy. They don’t do for us what God has done for us. Listen to this clip about the process of God’s love for us.