“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1: 15-16 KJV
Peter serves here the second of a two-part explanation of the term, ‘sanctification.’ The first described the believer’s sanctification as evidenced by what is avoided (v. 14). Here (v. 15, 16), Peter makes an all-inclusive statement revealing what the believer does. He instructs his readers, “In every thing you do… be holy!”
My natural reaction to this word is to immediately envision Isaiah seeing the Lord on His throne, high and lifted up (ch. 6). There before the Throne of God, worships angelic beings crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”
And Peter says, “Be holy.” This renamed apostle of our Lord couldn’t have set a higher mark or standard. There is nothing and there is no one remotely as Holy as God. So what can Peter be instructing? Are we to achieve a status among angels as that of God? Will they bow in our presence and cry Holy, Holy, Holy?
Pastor Rick Roehm, one of the authors here at ChristianBlessings, rightly distinguishes between the Holiness of God and the holiness of man. He asks, “Would you believe the holiness of man is mentioned more (in the Bible) than the Holiness of God? It is.”
He of course references the acknowledgement that no one can achieve God’s Holiness unless it is given by the possessor of that Holiness. Yes, I know… at this point, someone will chime in with an explanation of the believer’s position in Christ. And they will be right. In Christ Jesus, we are robed with His Holiness. But Peter is instructing his readers to flee from their former lusts and then walk in holiness; be holy. He’s giving them practical information for guidance.
As Peter unfolds an understanding of the term, sanctification, he is leaning upon an illustration that his hearers would have grasped easily. No one reading his words in that day would have concluded Peter was telling them to usurp an attribute that God alone possesses.
Throughout the Bible, there is another use of the term, holy. It is distinctly related to God’s holiness. It is those things that are assigned to, and set apart for devotion to God. Consider the articles of the Temple. When something became consecrated for Temple worship, it held a special place in the sanctuary of God, and it was prohibited from common use. It was deemed, ‘holy.’ Simply put, a frying pan assigned to the Temple could no longer be used to cook lamb-chops for supper. To rein this thought in, read a few verses by Paul [Ephesians 1:4; 5:27; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:12.] In all of these verses, the Bible concludes that holiness is not an optional attribute for believers, but will fundamentally be a controlling feature of their new life in Christ.
Pastor Rick has nailed this truth down much better than I’ve managed as he states, “Holiness of heart is the product of Salvation that flows into the believing heart, from Calvary. Holiness of conduct is simply a life of “minding” the Holy Spirit after Justification takes place. Nothing can hinder the God-given holy heart because it is based on the authority and power of a resurrected Christ. Man cannot achieve holiness but holiness can be granted to a believer in Christ. Simply put, “Greater is He”. The greater is the holiness of God that rids man of natural unholiness. God calls us to holiness of heart and conduct. Not uncleanness!“
Peter is encouraging believers to be holy in every aspect of their lives. This, by the way, goes much deeper than religious activity. A Puritan writer once observed, “What a man is in private, that is what a man really is in the sight of God.” The motive behind each action is equal in importance. Peter said, “Be holy in all your conduct.” Whether in thought, word, or deed, do everything as one who has been set apart for God’s purposes. And His purpose is clear; the transforming work of His people into the image of His Son.
In Christ, we are instructed “you are not your own for you have been bought with a price.” No different than the Temple artifacts, believers are no longer eligible for common worldly pleasures and fleshly lusts. As new creatures we exist for one purpose only; our Father’s glory.
Holiness is God’s goal for every believer’s life (2 Corinthians 3:18). It should be the goal for every believer also. I’m very encouraged by Pastor Rick’s thoughts, “Holiness of heart and conduct is nothing to be ashamed of but everything that keeps us in right-standing with Christ.”
A special nod of gratitude to my good friend Pastor Rick for the borrowed quotes and the great encouragement.