Summary: 1 Peter 1:15-16 expresses a non-negotiable call to holiness, involving a change of heart and life.
HOLINESS: THE DIVINE IMPERATIVE.
1 Peter 1:15-16 expresses a non-negotiable call to holiness, involving a change of heart and life. Holy means that you separate from its common use and you dedicate it for a particular purpose. Holy is the way God is. To be holy he does not conform to a standard. He is that standard. He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is. Because he is holy, all his attributes are holy; that is, whatever we think of as belonging to God must be thought of as holy.
In both Old and New Testaments the term is applied to things, persons, and pre-eminently to God Himself. Bible is the true source of all authority in questions of doctrine and practice. The Word of God is truly awesome. It is a book that never gets out of date. It is a book that is full of everything you could possibly imagine. History is in this book. Prophecy is in this book. Poetry is in this book. Law is in this book. The Greatest Love Story ever is in this book and everything else for life and godliness is in this book. Every time you read it you get something new out of it. It is a mirror to the soul of man and truly a love letter from God himself. This is why it says “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Now, in the most basic meaning of the word “holy,” “sanctify” “means to separate from the world and to consecrate or dedicate to God. So, if something is sanctified or holy, it is separated from the world and dedicated to God. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 says “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” So it has to do with the behavior. But the problem is that many people start with the behavior but do not understand where the behavior is coming from. The behavior is coming from the relationship that the person has because he is dedicated to and belongs to Christ Jesus. Because of the awareness of the dedication of who he belongs to, who he has been given to, who he has been bought and paid for by, because the communion is there, with Christ, the behavior of Christ is produced. It is the pursuit of a life so fully surrendered to fellowship with Christ, day by day, that the inner spirit and outward expression are ruled by the spirit of Christ.
The holy man is not one who cannot sin. A holy man is one who will not sin. William James said “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” Our disciplines will determine our destiny. God is far more interested in who you are than what you do. We are human beings, not human doings. God is much more concerned about our character than our career, because we will take our character into eternity but not our career. Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like himself before he takes us to Heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility, and our ultimate destiny.
The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy. The whole purpose of God in redemption is to make us holy and to restore us to the image of God. Becoming a holy person requires change. Holiness is a deliberate choice to seek wholeness in the world. We must remove old habits and develop new ones. When a person understands the truth about Biblical Holiness, it becomes the most desirable possibility in all of human experiences. There is nothing so beautiful, so satisfying and so natural in all of human life. The very reason for your creation, the purpose for which God made you and the most complete life, is found in Biblical holiness. Therefore “Pursue holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).