1 Peter 1,10-20
Holy isn’t a word that one hears too much these days. When it is used it is often in regard to the exotic, a personal special place or object. It is defined by the individual, a cricket fan might call the Lords pitch their holy ground. Sometimes it is linked to a personal aspiration and is termed their holy grail meaning the goal at the end of a quest. Historically holiness has been linked to pilgrimage and it still is for some Christians, particularly Orthodox and Catholic traditions but is now perhaps more associated with other world faiths. The idea that it is God who determines what is holy is central to the Christian faith and other theistic religions but is at odds with common western world views that are rooted in materialism or relativism that emphasize individual independence.
Peter makes holiness a main theme in his letter. He repeats God’s command in Leviticus 19.44, ‘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”. 1 Pet 1.15,16 Holiness is defined by the nature of God himself. But is that realistic and how do we go about being holy? Wouldn’t that make one into some kind of oddball? How can one possibly live a normal life and be holy? It does sound rather medieval and completely out of touch with modern life. It is a big topic but Peter in the second half of the first chapter does provide some starting points that are not odd but have a lot to do with one’s mindset.
The believer has always been in the mind of God as he prepared salvation. The Spirit of Christ inspired the Old Testament prophets to point to the coming of Jesus as Messiah. 1 Pet 1.10 A key understanding to start the walk of holiness is grasping that one has always been in the mind of God but more than that, each one of us is so valued and loved that it was always his intention that Jesus would through suffering bring about salvation. Jesus’ death and resurrection followed by his return to glory was never a spontaneous event, it was a matter of pure deliberate love. As post resurrection Christians we have been in the privileged position of having the good news (or gospel) explained to us. The wonder of it is so great, Peter says, ‘Even Angels long to look into these things.’ 1 Pet 1.12 Closely associated with holiness is awe, as we increasingly grasp the depth of God’s love for us then awe of God will grow.
Peter says in the light of this, prepare your minds for action, be sober minded and, ‘set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.’ 1 Pet 1.13 Being holy then is a deliberate thing, one must be resolute and determined, crucially in being like Jesus in one’s attitudes involves positively embracing godliness and rejecting passions that once controlled one’s life. As Peter goes on to say, ‘As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.’ 1 Pet 1.15 This is not a colourless drab life, it is filled with love, joy, good relations, peace of mind and fulfilling deeds that are aimed at bringing the good news of the gospel to all in your sphere. As a disciple of Christ one becomes part of a loving, generous community with a common goal.
Disciples of Jesus are in the combined position of being able to know and address Almighty God as Father and at the same time understand that he also is the one who judges impartially. 1 Pet 1.17 That combination of what might feel contradictory understandings makes sense in the light of Jesus’ sacrifice. As we deliberately choose to walk the path of holiness we do so knowing it was Jesus who ransomed us, not a matter of, we pass God’s judgement based upon our own good deeds. Peter reminds us that we were not ransomed with material wealth but, ‘with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.’ 1 Pet 1.19 Carrying that knowledge with us helps us to soberly prepare our minds for holiness.
What is your passion?
Holiness – Micah Stampley