Clip: John Piper on 1 Peter 1 (Vancouver)
New passions, new affections, produce new conduct. And if you try to turn it around, you don’t have Christianity any more.
I am a Christian Hedonist for theological reasons. I am after people’s affections — their hearts, their emotions, their feelings — because all of our behaviors come from this. There may be a few behaviors that you do by dint of willpower against your passions. Very few. Ninety-nine-percent of what you do is: “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” and the arms move, and you live (Matthew 12:34).
Therefore, the number one issue in life is having new passions.
“As obedient children” — and that is what we want to be, children of God — “As obedient children, do not be conformed [or formed] to the passions of your former ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14).
“Increase in knowledge. Feel new passions. Walk in new life. That’s Christianity.”
So we are just looking at five hours together trying to banish ignorance, increase knowledge, awaken passions, new conduct. Vancouver sees and gives glory to God. That’s 1 Peter. I just said it. We can all go home now. That was the summary.
Hope totally replacing all the passions that drive you into sin according to ignorance. New passions, new hopes, new joy inexpressible, overflowing, full of glory, producing: “holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:15–16).
God does not come to you and say: “Okay, holiness is what I want from you, all right? And here are some things that are going to be holy. You don’t sleep with her anymore until you are married. And you are not going to get drunk on the weekends. And you are just going to stop stealing. And you are not going to lie anymore. Okay, let’s get about it.” That is just totally not Christianity.
He comes to you and spends twelve verses (1 Peter 1:1–12), saying, “Do you see the hope that you have? Do you see the inheritance? Do you see how it is imperishable and undefiled? Do you see how God is keeping you for it? Do you see how he is putting you through fire in order to make it precious so that you receive glory and praise and honor? Do you see that? Do you have knowledge now? If you do, you have got some new passions. And these old ones are not going to govern you anymore. Therefore, your conduct will be holy.”
Holiness is three steps out.
Knowledge — gird up the loins of your mind. Be sober. See the world as it really is. See eternity. See the value of the hope. Feel new passions. Do new conduct. That’s Christianity.