“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance.” (1 Peter 1:14)
Peter wrote these words to believers in the churches of northern Asia Minor (Turkey). Apparently, there was a significant Christian population there at one time. These believers faced persecutions and pressures that were, in fact, causing some believers to consider reverting to their “former ignorance.”
There is a negative admonition here – do not be conformed. Peter is encouraging these believers not to give in to the social, cultural, and religious pressures that were being exerted against them by family, friends, and community. No one likes to be negative, of course, but this is a “positive negative,” so to speak. The former ignorance of these folks was idolatry, promiscuity, and evil, but they had exited that life through their faith in Christ. So, Peter admonishes them to resist, not to be conformed again to such a life.
The positive admonition is obedience. With a childlike faith (a thought Peter learned from Jesus) they were to obey the truth that is found in Jesus Christ. This is how someone can resist evil: obedience to the truth. The word of the gospel leads to a new birth, into a new life full of the light of truth. This word of the Lord endures forever. Thus, we must look beyond any immediate pressures that would lead to conformity, to the standards of the world around us, and instead follow after the Lord’s truth. Once we did not know the truth. We were ignorant of it. Now we do know God’s truth, and God’s call is that we faithfully obey His truths.
Lord, Help us today to follow You faithfully as we live out Your truths. Amen.