Summary: Peter outlines three steps to move toward holy living.
Today, we are going to think about holiness. In our text, we are commanded to be holy because the One who has saved us is holy.
“It is reasonable to expect that children will resemble their father.” - Anonymous
Likewise, it is reasonable to expect children of God to resemble their heavenly Father. That’s why Peter tells us what he does here.
Jerry Bridges, in his book, Transforming Grace, explains holiness:
“Scripture speaks of both a holiness we already possess in Christ before God and a holiness in which we are to grow more and more. The first is the result of the work of Christ for us; the second is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in us. The first is perfect and complete and is ours the moment we trust Christ; the second is progressive and incomplete as long as we are in this life. The objective holiness we have in Christ and the subjective holiness produced by the Holy Spirit are both gifts of God’s grace and are both appropriated by faith. - Jerry Bridges in Transforming Grace
It seems clear that the holiness that Peter is speaking of here is holiness that relates to our daily life and our witness for Christ. Through faith in Christ, we have been declared to be holy, and thus, acceptable to God; now, through yielding to the Holy Spirit’s influence, we can display holiness in our daily life; and that is what Peter is talking about in our passage. A committed Christian aspires to holy living. Holy living is something we must grow in.
“Holiness…consists of that internal change or renovation of our souls whereby our minds, affections and wills are brought into harmony with God.” - A.W. Pink
So, how does the committed Christian seek to grow more and more to reflect the character of His Father in his daily living?
1. He daily dedicates his attitudes to God – v. 13a
Peter tells us to “prepare your minds for action.” He tells us three things: First, our thoughts are important; second, our thinking needs to be changed; third, these changes should be reflected in our actions.
Paul tells us that the renewal of one’s thinking is essential to growing toward holiness and living in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.
“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God - truly righteous and holy.” - Ephesians 4:23-24 (NLT)
The objective of the committed Christian should be to understand things from God’s perspective. How might he do this? By daily yielding to the Holy Spirit and daily feeding on the Word of God.
“Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” - John 17:17 (NLT)
A Christian can either live his life conformed to the world or transformed by the Word.
“Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind.” - Romans 12:2 (The Voice)
The word Paul uses for “transformed” means “to change into another form.” We get our English word metamorphosis from it.
Metamorphosis is a process by which an animal physically develops after birth, involving a conspicuous change.
Transformation is a process by which a believer spiritually develops after new birth, involving a conspicuous change.
God wants us to undergo a complete metamorphosis of inward character which finds expression in a different kind of outward conduct, much as a caterpillar is transformed into a beautiful butterfly.
And the tense here indicates a continuous process. Day after day we are to be experiencing continual changes that bring us progressively into the likeness of Christ. The lives of Christians are to be different! And one of those differences is that our lives are to be marked by increasing obedience to the Word of God.
“Discipline toward holiness begins then with the Scriptures – with a disciplined plan for regular intake of the Scriptures and a disciplined plan for applying them to our daily lives.” - Jerry Bridges
“Mark it down – your progress in holiness will never exceed your relationship with the Word of God.” - Nancy Leigh DeMoss
2. He daily dedicates his activities to God – v. 13b
By daily spending time in God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will be able to lead a believer to live a life of self control. The more the Holy Spirit is in control of our lives, the more self is under control.
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” - Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
As a result of having his mind renewed by the Holy Spirit through the Word, the committed Christian thinks differently; and as a result, will choose differently.