Focal passage: 1 Pet. 1:13-25
The words “be holy, for I am holy” can be terribly unsettling to the Christian when considering “the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy” as Isaiah asserts. By declaring that God is holy, we proclaim that He is utterly set apart from all things as perfect and pure.
And we as Christians recognize that we are radically sinful and depraved. So the command to be holy seems to be an inexorable demand on us, completely impossible for us to accomplish. And it is. As C.S. Lewis is quoted in A Severe Mercy, we are “hopeless if this is to be done on our own … God must do it.”
This is the good news and the paradox of holiness! God acts to judge everything that is unholy and yet provides a way of cleansing for sinners.
Simply put, in Christ one is made holy before God.
Once one has truly experienced the grace of God in the gospel they are released from the slavery to ignorant passions and set free to live in a way that is pleasing to God. Yet we all struggle with sin.
We will not experience holiness in its fullness until Christ comes and makes all things new.
So, when I struggle with sin in my own life I have found it valuable to adopt Peter’s method in this passage of looking to Christ:
First, reflect on the love of Christ, namely, that he shed his precious blood to cleanse us from sin.
Second, consider the holiness of God as the beautiful pattern to mirror in a shattered world.
Lastly, the imminent coming of Christ and the judgment of the Father should spur us on to pursue what is good, and we do so knowing that the Spirit purifies us through the living Word.
The call to be holy is terribly comforting.