First Peter 1:18-19 says, “You were redeemed from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers…with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, the blood of Christ.” These verses reveal that God’s chosen people were redeemed not only from sins but also from their vain manner of life handed down from their fathers. Such a manner of life was aimless and without purpose. In Ephesians 4, Paul describes that manner of life as the way that “the Gentiles also walk in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding,” and as the “former manner of life [of] the old man” (vv. 17-18, 22).
This vain manner of life that we have inherited is not always sinful and negative; on the contrary, it may have many positive and desirable aspects. Nevertheless, such a manner of life does not care for God or have God’s goal as its goal. It is a common manner of life, which involves a continual occupation with “corruptible things” as well as the “desires of the flesh and of the thoughts” (1 Pet. 1:18; Eph 2:3). In its current, men are carried further away from God into a truth-suppressing realm of vanity (Rom. 1:21-32).
But thanks be to God who has redeemed, bought back the believers at the great price of the precious blood of Christ! God through Christ’s redemption has saved us from our vain manner of life so that we may live a life as holy as He is (1 Pet. 1:16). For this reason, 2 Timothy 1:9 declares that God has “saved us and called us with a holy calling…according to His own purpose,” and 1 Peter 1:15 says, “according to the Holy One who called you, you yourselves also be holy in all your manner of life.” The holy manner of life which we are to live is a life that is full of meaning and reality in God’s purpose.
After Paul describes the Gentiles as walking in the vanity of their mind, he tells the Ephesians, “But you did not so learn Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him as the reality is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:20-21). The reality in Jesus refers to the actual condition of the life of Jesus while He was on earth, a life full of truth. As believers we should follow this pattern that the Lord established, yet, not by our natural life but by taking Him as our life (Phil. 1:21). By living this kind of life we will not be “fashioned according to the former lusts in [our] ignorance,” seeking whatever pleasure appeals to us (1 Pet. 1:14). Instead, we will deeply “know that…[we] are not [our] own…for [we] have been bought with a price,” (1 Cor 6:19-20) and we will live a life that fulfills God’s purpose.
(Most references in the Further Reading can also be viewed on www.ministrybooks.org.)