Summary: God calls us to many things, but it always include the call to be holy. God is holy and He calls us to be holy.
1 Peter 1:13–16
One man described his observations of the concept of holiness like this: There is a simple yet profound word which occurs nine hundred times in the Bible. You see it first in Genesis, as we are told how God created heaven and earth. You see it last in the closing chapter of Revelation where we are told about God’s creation of a new heaven and a new earth. But except for a few grand old hymns of the faith, you do not see this word much today … This word is “Holy.” We get our words “saint,” “sanctify,” and “sanctification” from the same root words. All these terms carry the idea of being “set apart.…” (1)
We are called, as followers of Christ to be Holy. The Bible calls us “Saints.” The word saint has in its Greek roots the word holy. Saints are the Holy ones of God
A.W. Tozer: The holy man is not one who cannot sin. A holy man is one who will not sin.(2)
Only after we find new life in Christ does sinning becomes a choice. Before Christ, we were slaves to sin. Sinning is what we did. Sinning is what sinners do. A Christian who sins, does so by choice.
We excuse ourselves by the fact we all frequently compare ourselves favorably with someone else. We all think of someone we consider to be less mature, less competent, or less able than we are. That person is a great comfort to us because he or she enables us to keep our self-image intact by us saying, “Well, at least I’m not like so-and-so.” The only problem with determining our self-worth by comparing ourselves with others is that we are using the wrong measuring stick.
A little boy came up to his mother one day and said to her, “Mother, guess what! I’m eight feet, four inches tall!” His mother, greatly surprised, inquired into the matter and found he was using a six-inch ruler to measure a “foot.” The boy was actually only a few inches over four feet.
This is exactly what we do, we measure ourselves by one another, an imperfect prototype, rather than by the standard of the Word of God.(3)
One of my favorite books is The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer. In that book, he writes these insightful words about God’s holiness:
"God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered…Holy is the way God is. To be holy He does not conform to a standard. He is that standard… Because He is holy, His attributes are holy, that is, whatever we think of as belonging to God must be thought of as holy." (4)
Do we belong to God? Are we in Christ? If we belong to God, then we are holy. Isn’t it about time we start acting that way?
A driver’s license examiner told about a teenager who had just driven an almost perfect test. “He made his only mistake,” said the examiner, “when he stopped to let me out of the car. After breathing a sigh of relief, the boy exclaimed, ‘I’m sure glad I don’t have to drive like that all the time!’”
That young man is not all that different from a lot of people who call themselves Christians. For an hour or two on Sunday mornings they look, talk and act in a manner that leads others to believe they are genuine disciples of Jesus. But for the other 166 hours in the week, there is really very little in their lives to distinguish them from the unbelieving world around them. It’s almost like when they walk out the doors of the church on Sunday morning they think, “I’m sure glad I don’t have to behave like that all the time.” (5)
The call to be holy is a 24/7 call. It is a call in which a true Christian aspire to do all the days God gives us. It is not a one-time event. Let us examine that call to be holy as God gives to us through the writings of Peter. Peter was spelling it out for his audience, who had come to faith in Christ.
1 Peter 1:13 (NKJV) Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ
A real key to these verses is what was said before as illustrated by that simple word “Therefore” – "dia" in the Greek, which can be just as easily translated “for this reason” In the following verses the readers are exhorted to live a godly life. But all these exhortations are grounded in God’s saving work as explained in vv. 1–12.