This passage begins with the word therefore, which basically means, "because of what was just said". So following my old pastor's instruction, whenever you see the word therefore, look back and see what it is there for. What came before this was a collection of verses which expounded on how we are saved and kept by God, by His grace and mercy and mercy alone, not our own works, and how God has given to His church greater revelation, grace, and mercy than has been extended to the prophets of old or even to the angels in heaven. (See Who Hold's Us and Keeps Us and Mysteries Even Angels Wish to See.)13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, (1 Peter 1:13-23, New King James Version)
So it is because of that awesome grace which saves us without works, and because of that incredible revelation given us in Scripture that we should be sober and put our hope fully in Jesus. It is because of God's grace that we should be obedient and not conform ourselves to our former lusts, it is because we know how good God has been to us that we should walk in holy conduct.
What motivates us to be obedient and to live righteously is knowing how much God has given to us, knowing that He loves, has saved us, and will keep us irregardless of our works, this should be our motivation. We should be motivated out of love and thankfulness to not want to tread upon such awesome mercy and grace, but rather to serve Him with a whole heart.
No longer motivated out of fear of hell, but out of thankfulness for our sure deliverance from it, we are free to obey and do the work God calls us to do. The only fear (vs 17) which now has any part in our motivation is the fear of defaming our Lord, fear of our conduct driving others away from Him, fear that others will see us who claim to have Christ inside us, and will wrongly judge Christ based on the wrong they see in our lives. For indeed, the world does judge Christ, and the credibility of His word, based on what they see in us. The fear of causing others to think that Christ is not true. That is the only kind of fear which has place in a heart transformed by love.
We know how precious and incorruptible is Christ's blood which has redeemed us, and we should fear making it look like a common, unholy thing in the eyes of those who watch us to find out what Christ is like. But even that fear is grounded in love and in knowledge that our salvation is sure no matter what, knowing that we have been born again of incorruptible seed, knowing that we have God's word telling us that our salvation is sure in Him and that He will keep us in His hand, and knowing that despite all the weaknesses of our flesh, God's word will stand forever.
“ All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
25 But the word of the LORD endures forever.”
Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:24-25, New King James Version)
Lord, I thank you and I praise you that you have saved me, and that my salvation is not dependent upon me, but upon You. I praise you Lord that Your perfect love casts out fear, and that now I can serve You out of thankfulness for what You have done, rather than out of fear of what You might do. I pray Lord that I will not defame Your holy name today. That I will walk as You would have me, that when others look at me, they may not see me, but may see You through me. I ask this in Your precious name Jesus. Amen.