14th June 2013


When they see the purity and reverence of your lives…
1 Peter 3:2 (NIV UK)

The word “reverence” is one of those terms that can be difficult to understand.

The context of the verse above is quite specific. It is explaining how the wives of unbelievers might win their husbands over through exemplary behaviour.

There is also a broader context. Peter has been contrasting the Christ-less life to the Christ-filled life. He has been emphasizing that, with the freedom that comes from knowing Christ and being known by him, comes the responsibility of being holy just as God himself is holy. “Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all that you do” (1:15). The word “holy” has its origin in the ideas of separation and difference. Peter’s view is that we should be seen to be different because we have been separated by the grace given to us in Christ. “Therefore”, says Peter, “prepare your minds for action” (1:13).

How do we do this? How do we prepare our minds for spiritual, holy action?  This is where the idea of reverence comes in, according to Peter. “Live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear” (1:17), he explains: but what does he mean?

One of the best definitions I have come across for “reverence” is from William Barclay’s The Letters of James and Peter, which was published in 1958 and re-printed by Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh in 1976 and 2003. On page 217 Barclay writes, “Reverence is the attitude of mind of those who are always aware that they are in the presence of God”. Such people are holy because they are different from others who reject or are ignorant of God’s presence.

Are we aware that we are always in the presence of God? And, being aware of his presence within us and around us, do we let this moderate our behaviour and approach to everything?

If we have that attitude of mind, as Peter says, people will see the purity and reverence of our lives.

Help me, Father, through the abiding Holy Spirit, to be holy in all that I do. Let your eternal presence change me daily as I live Christ’s life in me.
In Jesus’ name

Study by James Henderson


About the Author:
James Henderson is the National Ministry Leader for Grace Communion International in the UK and Ireland.  This weekend James is in our Watford and Northampton churches, where the guest speaker is Kalengule Kaoma, our Mission Developer for East, West and Central Africa.  You are welcome to attend any of our Church congregations located throughout the UK.  For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email:  admin@daybyday.org.uk

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