SCRIPTURE – 1 PETER 1:13-20
Be Holy…How is this even possible?
I have had difficulties over the years just being a decent husband and father to my three kids. How am I supposed to be as HOLY as the One True Living God? I’m just human. I make mistakes, many of them. So does HOLY mean I just need to follow a bunch of rules? A list of things I’m supposed to do and things not to do? Like, be nice to others?
I’m a good person, mostly, so does that make me HOLY? Great questions!
1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV)…
 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;  for it is written: “Be holy because I am holy.”
Peter isn’t introducing a new concept here. He’s repeating a principle laid down by God in the Covenant [See footnote].
With all that in mind, let’s see what the Bible says in Psalm 14:2-3 (AMP)…
 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any who understood, dealt wisely, and sought after God, inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him [of vital necessity].
 They are all gone aside, they have all together become filthy; there is none that does good or right, no, not one.
And in Isaiah 64:6 (NIV)…
 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind, our sins sweep us away.
Both Psalm 14 and Isaiah 64 are in the Old Testament from the time before Jesus’ birth.
But even in the New Testament, after Jesus, the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 3:1-3 (AMP)…
“O YOU poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom–right before your very eyes–Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified? Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?]. Are you so foolish and so senseless and so silly? Having begun [your new life spiritually] with the [Holy] Spirit, are you now reaching perfection [by dependence] on the flesh?”
There were believers in the early church who were trying to be HOLY; trying to be acceptable to God based on their human efforts. They believed that they had to continue living up to all the rules; the list of all the “do’s” and “don’t’s” in the Old Testament Law.
The Apostle Paul’s Reminder…that HOLINESS is not just based on our OWN EFFORTS of being good–HOLINESS is WHO WE ARE, based on our RELATIONSHIP with Christ Jesus!
We CAN’T earn God’s favor…
We CAN’T earn His love and mercy…
We CAN’T earn HOLINESS through our own efforts, it’s a FREE GIFT being offered to you right now!
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.
HOLINESS isn’t just who we are…it’s how we live.
1 Thessalonians 4:7 says…”For God did call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”
Let me go back to 1 Peter 1:17 again…
 And if you call upon Him as [your] Father Who judges each one impartially according to what he does, [then] you should conduct yourselves with true reverence throughout the time of your temporary residence [on the earth, whether long or short].
2 Corinthians 5:9 explains it more plainly by saying…“So we make it our goal to please Him. whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”
I don’t want to confuse anybody on this point. This has nothing to do with whether or not you are accepted by God. He offers you a position in His kingdom, in His family, as a “FREE GIFT”… you just need to place your faith, your acceptance, your commitment to His Son Jesus to become accepted by God.
For most of us, growing up in a loving family brings back memorable times. Our parents loved us and we loved them not for what they did for us materialistically, but because of who they were in our lives.
In appreciation of that LOVE, we, in turn, wanted to please them, respect them, honor them by our actions in response to that LOVE by our obedience.
As a child of God, we should want to please our Heavenly Father on how we live out our daily lives. But how do we do this?
I’ve already mentioned how being HOLY is not following a list of rules, a lost of do’s and don’t’s. What I did discover in reading and studying God’s Word in this passage of Scripture are THREE things that Peter gives us in helping us to live in HOLINESS:
First, we are to prepare our minds for action. Look at 1 Peter 1:13 again: “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming.”
I’ve been glued to my TV, watching every afternoon and evening of late the Winter Olympics in Pyongyang, South Korea. I particularly noticed how the athletes prepared beforehand to compete. The visualize what they are about to do…they prepare their minds to intently focus on what needs to be done.
As Christians, we are to do the same thing. In fact, the Bible says in 1 Timothy 4:7 (b) “…train yourselves to be godly.”
A lazy athlete will never perform well…neither will a lazy Christian.
When we allow our minds and hearts to be filled with the world’s garbage, then we won’t be prepared to live in HOLINESS.
We MUST prepare our minds, folks!
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” (Quote by Oscar Wilde).
I think a better way to phrase that quote would be is that God much rather us to resemble His Son, than “flatter” Him.
Then, in verse 14, Peter says…“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”
So, the SECOND thing we are to do is to be OBEDIENT.
We are to IMITATE Christ: We turn away from the temptations the world presents to us and we live in OBEDIENCE to our Heavenly Father and His Word. We won’t know how to IMITATE Jesus unless we do the first thing of preparing our minds.
When we study God’s Word (our bible), we will grow in understanding of Jesus Christ which makes the second thing possible, because the Holy Spirit develops us…makes us more mature…changes us to be more like Jesus.
But it’s still A CHOICE…
We must choose to turn away from temptation and instead turn to God.
We should ask ourselves, “Is this something God would say?” “Is this something that I would be comfortable in watching if Jesus was sitting next to me?” “If I do this, will it PLEASE my Heavenly Father?”
We IMITATE Christ in everything we think…everything we do…everything we say. And as we grow in maturity as “sanctified” (set apart, made HOLY) believers, then we will become better and better at imitating Christ and not the world.
This is the path of HOLINESS!
“you also be holy in all your conduct” – 1 Peter 1:15
KEYWORD is “ALL”- “in ALL your conduct.”
NOT some of your conduct…
NOT when you feel like it…
NOT just on Sunday when you come to church…
ALL your conduct!
WHY? Because as believers, we are CALLED TO BE LIKE HIM!
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
#3. LOVING ONE ANOTHER IN CHRIST JESUS
And the THIRD thing…living our lives in HOLINESS we must LOVE each other…regardless!
Boy, that can be hard to do sometimes. But you see, you alone can’t do it without the prompting of the Holy Spirit!!!
1 Peter 1:22 reads in the Amplified Bible…
 Since by your obedience to the Truth through the [Holy] Spirit you have purified your hearts for the sincere affection of the brethren, [see that you] love one another fervently from a pure heart.
Jesus says it Himself in the Gospel of John…
John 13:34-35 NIV)
 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
 By this [LOVE] everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Living our lives in HOLINESS isn’t easy.
There’s a story I read this week about an artist who was making a statue of an elephant out of a huge chunk of marble. Someone asked him, “How do you do it? How do you turn this piece of rock into a beautiful masterpiece?” The artist answers him and says, “I just chip away, chisel the pieces that don’t look like an elephant.”
Ephesians 2:10 (AMP)
 For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), created in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
LIVING THE “GOOD LIFE” IN HOLINESS!
CREDITS & FOOTNOTES
FOOTNOTE: Note: Also read Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2 and 1 Thess. 4:7-8.
Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV) and the Amplified Bible (AMP).
PHOTOS: Google Image Search.
Sermon Notes: “Sanctified Saints” by Jeff Strite on July 16, 2016 – Sermon Central.