God is looking to train a generation of un-intoxicated men to lead and model Christ’s righteousness in an intoxicated world. God wants men who do not succumb to the intoxicating influences that dull their mind. Any desire, unrestrained by God’s grace can become an intoxicating idol. Things like: sober: comfort, convenience, security, work, sports, and amusements can be as deadly and powerful as addictions to alcohol, drugs, and sex.
That is exactly where Peter was when he used the very same word Paul used in Titus 2:2 when he called for grace-energized men of temperance. We are looking at the first word used by God to describe the grace-energized older men of the faith in Titus 2:2—temperate.
Peter, writing near the end of his earthly ministry explained that we as God’s people, are called to be separate in mind from those who are not God’s, holy-minded in an unholy thinking world, living in each generation of Christ’s Church–according to the standards of our High and only King Jesus.
Living the Balanced Life According to Peter
To explain the grace-energized life of balance in an unbalanced world, Peter surrounds this word temperate (nephalios) with a series of commands we must heed if we love the Lord and want to be useful to Him (1 Peter 1:13-2:11).
Grace-energized Men Understand that they are Pilgrims
Look back at that last verse we read (I Peter 2:11). The grace-energized man never gets intoxicated by the error of the world that this world is my home and this is what I live for. Rather his life is anchored in God’s promises to which he clings (as we saw last time) and his heart has an anchor stretching into Heaven (Hebrews 6:19-20) that tugs him daily toward setting his affections on things above not here on the Earth.
Peter explains for us the balanced-mind that God wants and that Paul instructs Titus to train up. Peter uses five, very targeted exhortations, in I Peter 1:13-16.
This passage as it was written by Peter has 5 exhortations in the form of 2 imperative commands surrounded by three participles. The “sober mind” or “temperate mind” that we are examining is a mind that is governed by these truths.
“gird up the loins of your mind” (NKJV) or “Prepare your minds for action” (NIV). In Bible times men often wore long, flowing robes. When strenuous work or running was required they would pull up and cinch into their belt that robe to make what we would call shorts. Obedience is a conscious act of the will. Christians in conflict need tough-minded holiness that is ready for action. The ancient practice of gathering up one’s robes when needing to move in a hurry; here, it is metaphorically applied to one’s thought process. The meaning is to pull in all the loose ends of one’s thinking, by rejecting the hindrances of the world and focusing on the future grace of God (cf. Eph. 6:14; Col. 3:2).
“be sober” (NKJV) or “Be self-controlled” (NIV) Is our word from Titus 2:2 is word from Titus 2:2 via the verb neµphoµ (“be sober”) which is always used figuratively in the New Testament. This word describes a person free from every form of mental and spiritual “drunkenness” or excess; and one who resists the control of outside circumstances. God wants believers to be directed from within.
“The opposite of “be sober-minded” is “frenzy, madness.” It is the Greek word mania, which has come into our English vocabulary via psychology. If we are sober-minded, we will be intellectually sound and not off on a tangent because of some “new” interpretation of the Scriptures.
We will also face things realistically and be free from delusions. The sober-minded saint will have a purposeful life and not be drifting, and he will exercise restraint and not be impulsive. He will have “sound judgment” not only about doctrinal matters, but also about the practical affairs of life.
“rest your hope fully” (NKJV) or “Set your hope fully” (NIV). This balanced mind and holy life demand great determination. A believer’s hope is to be set completely, unwaveringly, and without reservation solely by faith upon God’s grace. Only His grace can energize an anchored mind.
“not conforming yourselves to” (NKJV) or “do not conform to” (NIV). Here we see Peter using that famous word from Romans 12:1 (suschematidzo “not squeezed into the mold of”) the evil desires of their past sinful lives. Rather as obedient children (lit., “children of obedience”) they were to mold their characters to God’s Word and the renewed mind’s desires implanted through the Spirit of God.
“be holy in all your conduct” (NKJV) or “all you do” (NIV). Grace-energized living brings a denial of the old life (their former ignorance), and a new walk in the Spirit that is set apart to the desires and wishes of God who gave us new birth and called us to be His own.
For more of Dr. John Barnett’s Bible teaching messages go to: https://discoverthebook.org/