1 Peter 1:17-23 (NRSV)
Verse 17If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. Verse 18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, Verse 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. Verse 20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. Verse 21Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God. Verse 22Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. Verse 23You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
Obedience to the truth is liberation from fear. The fear of being unworthy of God’s love can either push people to work to exhaustion to prove they are worthy of salvation or push people away from God because they feel it is impossible to please God. The truth liberates us from that fear, for anyone who repents and is obedient to God’s call to love one another deeply from the heart has already received the gift of grace, the forgiveness and love of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ lived the life of a true human being, suffered the death of a criminal, and rose from the dead to destroy death. Those who believe in the risen Christ may rejoice in the gift of grace and—as Martin Luther wrote in the Small Catechism—confidently live and serve God in eternal righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.
Lord God, we give thanks for the gift of grace that, even in our brokenness, you redeemed us and freed us from fear so we may love you, love ourselves, and love our neighbors. Amen.