Whatever a person is like on the inside or in his thought life will be reflected in his behavior. A sincere follower of Christ who addresses God as his Father must know that He is the impartial judge of everyone’s individual works.
The notion of calling God your Father recalls Jesus’s teaching of how to pray—-“Our Father” (Matt 6:9). This is continued in Peter’s metaphor of us as “born again to a living hope” (1 Pet 1:3). He then presents the image of us as “obedient children” (1:14) born of an imperishable seed (1:23). The conditional clause “if you address” could also be translated as “since you address,” which would indicate an ongoing relationship between the reader and God.
However, we should not presume the grace of God’s mercy, treating it as a license to sin with impunity. The believer is to be conscious of the fact that God judges him “impartially”—-he has no special exceptions for His children. God is a Father–Judge, not a Santa Claus–-type person who gives “goodies” and closes His eyes to our evildoings. Don’t be deceived. If we are His children, then we must expect His chastisement when we are disobedient (Heb 12:4–-6).
The phrase “in reverence” (or “in fear,”NKJ “reverent fear”NIV, NLT) is in the emphatic position to indicate that Someone is watching, and He has no favoritism to blink at our sins without teaching us a lesson to despise sin as He does. If He promises to do this, then we had better “fear” He will discipline us; thus we should live to avoid such punishment.
Other than fear of punishment, another motivator for us to be released from the addiction to sinful habits is the fact that we “were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from [our] fathers” (Heb 1:18). It cost a horrible suffering for God to be just in forgiving undeserving sinners.
Salvation is primarily an inward work of the Spirit (“believe with all your heart,” Acts 8:37,NAS, NKJ compare Rom 10:9). Paul is calling us to “immediately decide to live out from now on” what the Spirit has worked into the believer. If we trust Him inwardly, then we must trust Him externally in how we obey Him. The transformed mind (Rom 12:2) motivates a transformed life.
“Lord, help me show how much You mean to me. I am so thankful for what You have done for me and for the joy of Your peace in my life. Help me make Your presence in my life evident to others.”
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