Summary: Why do Christians need to be holy? I. BECAUSE OUR GOD COMMANDS IT (V. 14) II. BECAUSE OUR GOD IS HOLY (V.15-16) III. BECAUSE OUR WORLD IS WATCHING US(2:12)
1 Peter 1:14-16,2:12
I understand, this is the 4th Sunday that holiness is being discussed to you. So I guess, you know very well now the meaning of Holiness but please allow me to refresh you by citing some meanings as define by other Christian writers.
The most basic and literal meaning of holiness is “being set apart.” Holiness is the condition of being set apart, being removed from all that is sinful or worldly.
JI Packer puts it, “Holiness means not only desiring God, but also loving and practicing righteousness, out of a constant exercise of conscience to discern right from wrong and an ardent purpose of doing all that one can to please God.”
In other words, being holy do not stop in receiving Christ but by constantly abiding and following the footsteps of Christ.
Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Now lets start our discussion about why do we need to be holy?
I. BECAUSE OUR GOD COMMANDS IT (V. 14)
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance…”
God commands it. Over and over throughout the Word of God we are told to flee immorality, to flee wickedness, to pursue that which is righteous and good and to be holy.
Eph. 4:22-24, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
We are told the same thing in Col. 3:5, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry… since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
And then we told of the necessity of holiness in Hebrews 12:24 which says, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” I will repeat: Without holiness no one will see the Lord!
There are other passages pointing to the importance for a Christian to live a holy life. But the sad reality is that only few Christians are striving for holiness. And as a result, the church is no longer different from the world.
Ø Check out your relationship to God!
Ø Check out your relationship with your brethren!
Ø Check out how you deal and relate with non-Christians!
George Barna did a survey and wrote a book about the status of today’s church, and it was shocking. He found that the divorce rate for non-Christians was 23%, and the divorce rate for Born Again Christians was 27%. That’s right, the Christians had a higher divorce rate than the non-Christian. When the question was asked, “Have you given money to a homeless or a poor person in the past year?” The result, Born Again Christians 24%, non-Christians 34%. (SermonCentral.com)
What’s wrong, my brothers and sisters?
The church is called to stand out. Jesus said in Matt. 5:14-15 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”
We are called to shine, to give light to this world darkened by sin, but now we are not different from them.
What is lacking? Our desire to strive for holiness!!
I like this verse: without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
I hope every one of us now will desire to see God. Seeing the Lord doesn’t only mean meeting Him in person or face to face. But feeling His presence in every moment of our lives, when you are to make a decision, or even in our marriage life. Seeing the Lord is being with His presence.
II. BECAUSE OUR GOD IS HOLY (V.15-16)
“…but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY."
Because He is holy so we must be holy as well!
Our Father in heaven wants us to be identified as His children. He is holy so he wants us to be holy also.
As JI Packer puts it, “Holiness is not an option, but a requirement. God wants his children to live up to his standards and to do him credit in the eyes of the watching world….”