Summary: Being holy as God is holy means living as a stranger in a strange world
A California 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.”
I doubt very much that any of you here this morning would go nearly that far. But at the same time, I think all of us would admit that it is really hard to live consistently as a disciple of Jesus in this world, which is exactly why we’re studying 1 Peter together.
As we come to verse 13 of chapter 1, there is a noticeable shift in Peter’s focus. In the first 12 verses of his letter, the verbs are almost all in what is known as the indicative mode. That’s just a fancy way of saying that they state facts. But beginning in verse 13, we’ll see that Peter begins to use a lot of imperative verbs which give us commands. In other words, Peter began his letter by explaining the reality of our salvation. Now he is going to describe the duty of those who have received that salvation.
With that in mind go ahead and open up your Bibles to 1 Peter chapter 1 and follow along as I read beginning in verse 13:
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
(1 Peter 1:13-25 ESV)
Once again, there is so much in this passage that all I’m going to be able to do in this message is to barely scratch the surface. That’s why I encourage you to stay for the “Connections” time when we’ll have time to go into some more detail on some aspects of this passage that I won’t be able to cover in the message.
So with the limited time we have, I’m going to concentrate primarily on verses 14-16, which I believe are the heart of Peter’s message in this section. So let’s go ahead and read those verses again:
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Peter quotes from the Old Testament to give credence to the idea that as children of God, we are to be obedient children whose conduct is holy in every single area of our lives. That means that our holiness is not to be limited to a couple hours on Sunday morning. It is not, as we’ll see this morning, even to be limited to only our “religious” life. In fact, this verse, along with many others in the Bible, makes it clear that there is to be no distinction in our lives between the “sacred” and the “secular”. God never intended for us to compartmentalize our lives like that.