Read 1 Peter 1:13–2:3
So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.”
(1 Peter 1:13-17)
The apostle Peter wrote this epistle to encourage the scattered believers who would likely face trials and persecution under Emperor Nero. Peter wrote to remind them of basic truths and to emphasize the characteristics of the Christian life. Holiness is one of them.
The God of Israel and of the Christian church is holy—he sets the standard for morality. Unlike the Roman gods, he is not warlike, adulterous, or spiteful. Unlike the gods of the pagan cults popular in the first century, he is not bloodthirsty or promiscuous. He is a God of mercy and justice who cares personally for each of his followers.
We are to be like our heavenly Father—holy in everything we do. Holiness means being totally devoted or dedicated to God, set aside for his special use and set apart from sin and its influence. We’re to be set apart and different, not blending in with the crowd, yet not being different just for the sake of being different. What makes us different are God’s qualities in our lives. Our focus and priorities must be his—a direct contrast to our old ways (1 Peter 1:14). We cannot become holy on our own, but God gives us his Holy Spirit to help us obey and to give us power to overcome sin.
Sometimes the concept of holiness is seen in a negative, limited light, with everything boiling down to what you can’t do, rather than what you can. What does the admonition to be holy mean to you? How can being holy serve as a protective measure?
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