Summary: Telling us to be holy is fine, but how do we live a holy life?
I Peter 1:13-21 “Be Holy For I AM Holy”
Intro—For the last couple of weeks, as we’ve been looking at the first 12 verses of the Book of First Peter, we’ve seen that Peter has been discussing the future of the Christian—in verse 3 he talks about our living hope through the resurrection of Christ; in verse 4, he tells us that we have an incorruptible inheritance reserved in heaven; in verse 7, we’re told that though we may suffer in this life, we shall receive praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Now, in verse 13, Peter begins the next section of the letter with the word “therefore”...now it’s a tired old saying, but it’s true, that when you see the word “therefore” you should figure out what it’s there for! In this instance, Peter is going to make a transition from the future hope of the Christian to the present...Peter wants Christians to understand that, since God has given them a living hope and an incorruptible inheritance, and has promised praise, honor and glory to them, there is a certain way He expects the Christian to conduct himself or herself in this life. In verse 15, Peter says “as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” So Peter in essence is saying, as Jesus said in Luke 12:48, “For everyone to whom much is given, much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.”
But how do we live a holy life? How can we live up to the expectations of a holy God? Peter gives us three keys to holy living in this passage, and we want to look at them this morning to see how we can live the life we are called to by God.
I. The first key to holy living is to have a prepared mind. In verse 13, Peter says “gird up the loins of your mind.” What in the world does he mean by that? Well, in biblical times we know that robes were usually worn—and robes tend to get in the way if you’re doing certain kinds of work or if you need to travel quickly...so girding up the loins of your mind is a metaphor for being prepared in your mind...being alert.
I believe that “girding up the loins of our minds” means that we see and process the information in the world around us in a different way because of the understanding we have through the Holy Spirit. Things that others see as the normal way of doing things, or at least as an acceptable way of doing things, are not so acceptable when you have a prepared mind and are seeing things through the power of the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 2:14-16 says this READ...If there are spiritual things that the natural man finds foolish, so there are natural things that the spiritual man will find foolish...
This week there has been a great deal of hullabaloo in the media because some school children have been taught about Islam in the public schools under the guise of “multiculturalism, tolerance, diversity, peaceful understanding,” and so forth. The children have had to read the Koran, and even dress up in Arab garb so that they can “understand” the Islamic mind better. Now, I don’t want you to misunderstand—I believe that this is misguided, that it’s wrong, that there is no possible benefit to the children or to their community in doing this nonsense...but I also recognize that as I have girded up my mind, and as I have set my mind on the things of God rather than the things of this world, that I have so little in common with the minds that would devise such a plan that it would be difficult for us to have any kind of a discussion about it. They would find my spiritual arguments foolish, just as I would find their multiculturalism arguments foolish. Girding up our minds means being ready and able to recognize and reject the worldly influences around us.
II. The second key to holy living is to live a changed life. In verse 14, Peter tells us to be “obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance.” Peter is telling us that, even though before we knew the Lord we considered it alright to do certain things, it is no longer acceptable for us to do those things once our ignorance concerning spiritual things has been removed.
I Corinthians 6:9-11 says this—READ—So Paul gives a whole list of things that ought not to be found in the life of a Christian...but I find most interesting in that passage is the second sentence—do not be deceived—don’t kid yourself...if your lifestyle is a lifestyle that is displeasing to God, and you have no desire or intent to change it, you are probably kidding yourself if you call yourself a Christian. Let me say this—I don’t require a certain lifestyle—Bill Nowak doesn’t make any of the rules for living, and neither do the deacons of this church, and neither does any particular member, and anyone who confesses Christ as savior and has been baptized can join this church fellowship—but if you don’t feel the call of God to change from your former way of life to the life of an obedient child of God, you need to see if that confession of Christ as savior in your life is a genuine one.