Be Holy Like God Is Holy—Say what?! (Part 2)
Let’s talk some more about being holy, picking up in 1 Peter 1:16, “because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.”
Being a good Jew, Peter knew the Torah and knew God had spoken these very words, recorded in Leviticus 11:46, 19:2, and 20:7. Now after years of struggling to keep the Law, Peter had the answer to holiness and was passionately sharing the Good News with others—the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This doesn’t mean we’ll never falter and sin again. We still have human weaknesses and will commit sins along the way. But as followers of Jesus, we have the indwelling Holy Spirit. He helps us discern right from wrong and gives us strength and courage to choose to do God’s will.
When we do sin, He helps us know we’ve done wrong and encourages repentance. We need to be quick to repent, receive God’s forgiveness and move on, allowing those episodes to be growing experiences.
With that in mind, let’s back up to verse 14. “As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:14-16).
Consider “former lusts.” Old habits die hard. Having victory over sins we hate to love is an important aspect of maturing in faith.
As Peter said, “in your ignorance: these former fleshly desires were a part of your life—maybe even a part of your identity. People don’t instantly loose the desire for sinful habits when they get saved. And many times we’re involved in activities that we don’t even realize are sinful or we just don’t realize they interfere with our spiritual growth. This is ignorance—it is not knowing or lack of understanding.
Once we know what’s right in God’s eyes we’re then responsible to do it. That knowing what’s right comes from reading and studying God’s Word and from sitting under sound Bible preaching and teaching. Some people avoid Bible study because they don’t want to know all God’s truth. One needn’t think this will slip by our omniscient Heavenly Father, who knows the thoughts, desires, motives, and intents of the heart of every person. We’ll all be held accountable for what we do and should do.
Don’t think this teaching isn’t getting my attention. I’m studying this for myself as much as for anyone else. Typing and posting it causes pause for me as much as anyone else.
This all sounds a bit harsh—like God is a big ogre, standing over, watching our every move, ready to clobber us when we commit an infraction. (An ogre, according to folklore, is a man-eating giant.)
That’s truly not the case. He’s a loving Father who wants the best for each of His children. He desires to correct us and steer us onto the right path. Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b).
We cannot do this in our own power. The reality is we must be daily—minute-by-minute—connected to our Savior, Jesus, if we want our best outcome. His Holy Spirit comes to reside in each of us when we get saved—that is, born-again. We’re given superpowers. That’s not to say we can fly or leap over buildings or pick up a house.
But with the Holy Spirit in us we can have the mind of Christ, our desires can be changed from self-focused to God pleasing desires, and we can overcome sin by allowing Holy Spirit to direct our thoughts, words, and actions. It’s our choice. We have free will to do things God’s way or our own way. Our own way is typically selfish, likely unwise, and very possibly influenced by demonic entities.
When we are born-again, in that moment we’re made clean—purified from all sins we’ve ever committed. Yes, all. Take a deep breath and think about that for a moment.
The shed blood of Jesus washes over and through us, removing all past sins. It’s an amazing supernatural work of God. Sin must be punished and Jesus took on the punishment for all mankind.
We each have a choice then—to believe in Jesus and receive His gift of grace and forgiveness or to reject His offer. Free will...it’s our choice.
Those of us who say, “Yes,” to Jesus are then washed clean and are given His pure robe of righteousness and sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30). We are made holy, as He is holy.
We therefore are at peace with God, through Christ. As we reach for Christ-like holiness, we must be mindful that Jesus is our example of holiness, never looking to another person to emulate. I recommend we all read through the Gospels and learn Jesus.
As we learn of Him, trust Him more each day, depend on His Holy Spirit indwelling us, and pray we can live beyond the limitations of our humanness. And we can be confident that when we do falter and commit a sin, He stands ready and quick to forgive when we repent.
I want to end with this thought: we can never pray too much. Prayer is key in all things. We must talk to God continuously and listen for Him to speak back through His Word, through His Spirit to our spirit, and through other people. Pray without ceasing and remember God has made a way for us to be holy.
Your comments are welcome.
©Copyright 2017 Connie Wohlford