CALLED TO BE HOLY
March 4, 2014
Today’s reading: 1 Peter 1:10-16
We have been saved by Jesus. “Concerning this salvation” (v.10a), a fundamental call to us in the Christian life is to be holy. We have been evangelized. There have been many “things that have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you through the holy Spirit sent from heaven” (v.12b). You have been saved, you have been told of this salvation, now you are to live your life in Christ.
A Christian, made in the image and likeness of God, carrying the name of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, ought to be a holy person. Peter says it plainly and directly, “as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, ‘Be holy because I am holy.’” (v.15-16).
God instructed His people Israel through Moses, “For I, the Lord, am your God. You shall make and keep yourselves holy, because I am holy.” (Lev 11:44a). God says the same thing to us, through Peter. God is holy, and we are God’s people, and so we too should be holy.
To be holy is to be “set apart.” We are not to be like those in the world we live in, a world dominated by the evil one. We are to live not in the flesh but in the Spirit. We are to live counter-culturally to the world.
How do we make and keep ourselves holy?
First, “gird up the loins of your mind” (v.13a). Much of wrongdoing comes through the senses, are nurtured in the mind, and go to the heart. While we cannot shield our senses from what is all around us, we protect our heart by protecting our mind. To “gird up the loins” means to be vigilant, to always be ready to act in the right way. We can try to avoid, as much as we can, looking at provocative pictures and images. We resist and reject the temptation that such images bring. We must be careful and discerning about what we read in newspapers and magazines, watch on TV and the movies, surf in the Internet. More importantly, we must focus our minds on loftier things. We must pray often, read and study the scriptures, engage in wholesome entertainment, interact with other committed Christians. We need to put on the mind of Christ.
Second, “live soberly” (v.13b). The opposite of sober is “drunk.” When one is drunk, one acts mindlessly, and often does stupid things. To be sober is to be right-thinking, to be clear-minded, to be self-controlled.
Third, “set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (v.13c). We put our entire hope in Jesus, not on anything of this world. We look to eternity. Whenever we are discerning whether one action is good or bad, ask yourself, will this bring me closer to or farther away from Jesus? Will this bring me to heaven?
Fourth, be “obedient children” (v.14a). We are children of God and our Father knows best. So we simply obey. God has revealed enough of Himself and of His ways, especially in the Bible, to be able to guide us. How do we become holy? By obeying and living the commandments.
Fifth, “do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance” (v.14b). Before we did not really know God, not having had a personal encounter with Jesus, thus leading us into godless conduct. But now we know God. We then should shed everything that is not of God, everything we ever learned as we grew up that is not in accordance with the ways of God. The enemy will still try to tempt us, focusing on the weaknesses of our former lives. But now we know better. We resist. We suppress unruly desires. We crucify the flesh, as we look to the power of Jesus’ cross.
In a word, be holy. Be a saint.
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God bless you.
“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21)