Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 1 Peter 1:17
Three takeaways from today's passage:
God is the final judge. Jesus tells us that every man will give an account before God (Matthew 12:26). Paul says that "each of us will give an account of himself to God" (Romans 14:12) and that believers will stand before the "judgment seat of Christ" to receive what is due us (1 Corinthians 5:10). The writer of the Hebrews reminds us, "everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13). And just in case they missed it the first time, Peter reminded his readers later in his letter that they would have to give an account to One who stands ready to "judge the living and the dead" (1 Peter 4:5).
We are to live in reverent fear. God calls us to an intimate relationship and an appropriate dread of sinning against Him, the Holy God.
We are to live as strangers. I love the way J.N.D. Kelly translates this verse in his commentary on 1 Peter: "And since you invoke as Father, One who judges impartially in the light of what each has done, conduct yourselves with fear for the rest of your temporary stay."* We can never forget this truth. Our stay is temporary and every day is one day closer to when it's time to pack up and head home.
Father, may the understanding that my stay on this earth is temporary motivate me to live in consistent obedience. Help me to live with eternity in mind. One day I will stand before You, the final Judge. In Jesus' name. Amen.
*J.N.D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Epistles of Peter and Jude (Baker Book House, 1982), 71.