Among the comforts that Peter gives to his readers (readers who are Christians struggling to live under persecution) there is that comfort of personal holiness. Holiness is little spoken of in many Christian Circles these days. When it is, we are often reminded that, “We are not under the Law!” as if there is no holiness in the context of the Gospel. Peter would heartily disagree with that idea.On the contrary, to him, it is a vital element of the Christian’s walk in this world. It is one of the way that God assures us that we are no longer the rebels we once were. Verse 13 of 1 Peter begins with a “Therefore.” That is, it is the proper response to God for the many wonderful gifts that He gives to His people, as outlined in the previous verses.
1 Peter 1:13-16 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.”
Be Holy – SERMON AUDIO
As he comforts these struggling Christians with the Gospel concepts of:
- God’s sovereign election of them(1 Peter 1:2),
- their status as Pilgrims, or citizens of heaven (1 Peter 1:1),
- The New Birth which God has accomplished by His Spirit (1 Peter 1:3),
- The convenant relationship He has entered into with them through the Spirit who has applied Christ’s Blood to them (1 Peter 1:2),
- Their irrevocable inheritance, (1Peter 1:4)
- Their being kep by His power (1 Peter 1:5),
- And even that their trials are God, demonstrating the reality of their faith (1 Peter 1:6-7).
- Finally, that God had been preaching that Gospel to His people, through His prophets from the beginning of human history (1 Peter 1:10-12). Its antiquity, reinforcing its authority.
All of these things should be sources of strength and comfort to the Christian, throughout his pilgrimage on this earth, through his trials and struggles and the difficulties of life. After all of these, Peter comes to this idea that, Holiness in the Christian life is a comfort to us when times are hard.
1 Peter 1:14 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.”
As those who have been chosen, have become citizens of Heaven, have been begotten again and entered into a covenant relationship with God. As those who have been given an inheritance by Him and are kept by His power. As those who have heard the authoritative preaching of the Gospel and been saved by it. Though life is hard (by the grace of God, to give us assurance about where our faith really lies). We become children of God through all of this. The best evidence of our relationship to God is that we begin to reflect His character in our lives. He is Holy and so, as His children, we too need to reflect His holiness. We cannot continue to live like the heathens we were before He set His love upon us. If we do, it is evidence that we have not received that love.
Jesus makes this distinction as He engages the Pharisees in John 8. They are making the claim that they belong to God becasue they are physical descendants of Abraham. Jesus answers them very sharply, saying;
John 8:42-44 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
So, what is the evidence that you are a child of God? Is there holiness in your life, or do you still act like the person you were before you heard about the Love of God as revealed in His Gospel? Holiness is to live above the world and separate from sin. Not to think you are better than the world, but to actually be unattached to the sin that the world lives in. This is well illustrated in the first part of Ephesians 2.
Ephesians 2:1-10 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Walking in Good works is the evidence that you have received the grace of God. You are not saved by them, but they are evidence of the reality of your salvation. Do you reflect the nature of the One you claim to be your Father? I encourage you to listen to the audio of the sermon and consider the level of your personal holiness. Not so that you can get the “holier that thou” attitude of so much of Christendom, rather so that you can realize where you fall short and come back to God again for Grace and Help in time of need. So that your humility will be increased and therefore your holiness.
Be Holy – SERMON AUDIO