Putting God's Word into Practice…

1 Peter 1:13-2:3 Holiness

on October 23, 2013

One of the most difficult commands in Scripture is God telling us in 1 Peter 1:15-16, “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in ALL your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

What does it mean to be holy?  Simply put, it means to be like God in our character, actions, reactions, and interactions; to be pure and undefiled by sin; to be like-minded with God in passions and desires.

Yesterday, I was thinking about why God the Father has the authority to require such a high expectation of moral character for His “children.”  It is because we belong to Him and He pays for everything–including our salvation with the precious blood of Jesus.  As a parent, I expect my boys to give me their very best in everything they do.   They will fail to fulfill my expectations, and I know it.  But the expectations don’t change, and neither does my love for them.  It is probably that way with God the Father, too.

God is not just our Father, He is also the impartial Judge who corrects and rewards us based on our deeds.  This knowledge should put the fear of the Lord in us, a healthy reverence and respect for the one who holds our lives in His hands.

The people Peter was writing this letter to were exiles in foreign lands.  He also reminds them that they are not to blend in to their culture, but remember that they belong to God and live for Him.  This was the most convicting for me.  Even when I think no one will notice, when I try to be like everyone around me instead of living as a child of God, God sees!  He is the judge and ransomer of my soul.  How could I disgrace the precious blood of Jesus by wanting to fit in comfortably with the world around me!  I am called to be separate from this world, and to be holy!

Believing the good news about Jesus Christ coming to earth to die and rise again to save mankind from our state of sinfulness and separation from God changes everything about who we are and how we behave.  Part of working towards holiness is putting away the passions, plans, and sinful habits.  Listed in chapter 2 specifically are: malice (ill-will, spite, vengefulness), deceit (deception, dishonesty, trickery, slyness, pretense, misrepresenting truth), hypocrisy (behavior that doesn’t match beliefs, false virtue), envy (jealousy, covetousness, discontent, resentful longing), and slander (gossip, character assassination, bad-mouthing others, false/damaging statements about others).  I am nearly 7 months pregnant now, and my closet has been overflowing with pre-maternity clothes.  Yesterday, I decided it was time to pack them all away.  It took time and effort, but the result was freedom and joy.  It also opened up room for new, good, useful things!  It’s the same way with putting away our old ways of living that just don’t fit our new selves in Christ!

Holiness is a good thing that God expects of us–it brings freedom and joy to our lives.  It eliminates shame and hypocrisy.  It magnifies His character to the watching world!

So where do we start!?

  1. Remember the eternal hope and inheritance that belong to us who believe in Jesus Christ!  Verse 13 starts with, “Therefore,” linking the two portions of Scripture.
  2. Prepare your minds for action, be sober-minded, and set your hope fully on the grace that will be given when we see Jesus face-to-face.  The battle for holiness starts in our minds! (1:13)
  3. Long for spiritual nourishment, just like a baby longs for milk!  Cry out to God to fill and satisfy you.  When we are satisfied in Him, holiness is the by-product. (2:2-3)
  4. Focus your heart on the goodness of the Lord.  (2:3)

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