Focal passage: 1 Peter 1:13-25
As I am writing this lesson, the Olympic Games are going on in Rio de Jainero, Brazil. As you watch these Olympic athletes compete, one word that should come to mind is “pursuit.” There is a clear goal and an intense focus and pursuit of that goal – namely a gold medal. Those athletes know they must stay focused and give their all at all times. Distraction means disaster. Half-hearted efforts mean definite defeat.
As Christians, we are called to pursue holiness – to be holy, even as God, our Father, is holy. We will not, however, drift toward holiness any more than a car that is left in neutral will roll uphill. Furthermore, while we are pursuing holiness, our enemy is seeking to squeeze us into the world’s mold – that lifestyle that Peter describes as the “passions of [our] former ignorance.”
Now that we are children of God, our lives should no longer look like they once did, but rather should look more and more like our Father. In other words, our conduct should match our confession. Though we will never achieve sinless perfection here on earth, we are nevertheless to pursue looking more and more like our Father.
Our God has not only commanded that we be holy, as He is, but has also provided the only means by which that can happen. He, by His grace and mercy, has ransomed us at a great price – the blood of Jesus Christ, His own Son. Therefore, the overwhelming response of our lives should be pursuing holiness and living in fear (reverential awe) before the One who is both the righteous Judge and also the gracious justifier of our souls.
One of the key ways this transformation of life and growth in holiness will manifest itself is by the way we love one another.
As God changes our hearts to look more like His, we will love as He has loved us. Are you pursuing holiness, through God’s power, living with a reverential fear before Him? That is why He purchased us at so great a price. Therefore, be holy!