Summary: Come out of the world. You must no longer live like unbelievers.
There were once a number of beech trees which had formed a wood; they had all fallen to the ground through a storm. The fact was they leaned upon one another to a great extent, and the thickness of the wood prevented each tree from getting a firm hold of the soil. They kept each other up and also constrained each other to grow up tall and thin, to the neglect of root growth. When the tempest forced down the first few trees, the others readily followed, one after the other. Close to that same spot there was another tree in the open, bravely defying the blast, in solitary strength. The hurricane had beaten upon it but it had endured all its force unsheltered. That lone, brave tree seemed to be better rooted than before the storm. Is it not so with professors? They often hold together, and help each other to grow up, but if they have not firm personal roothold, when a storm arises they fall in rows. A minister dies, or certain leaders are taken away, and over go the members by departure from the faith and from holiness. I would have you be self-contained, growing each man into Christ for himself, rooted and grounded in love and faith and every holy grace. Then when the worst storm that ever blew on mortal man shall come, it will be said of your faith, “It could not shake it.”
If we are to live in holiness we must become firmly rooted in Christ so that the temptations, the storms, the ravages of the Devil and this world cannot uproot us.
CIT: Come out of the world.
CIS: You must no longer live like unbelievers.
Speaking to believers, the Apostle Paul says we must no longer live as the unbelieving world, the Gentiles, live. (vv.17-18) “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV84)
What is holiness? A.W. Tozer rightly defined holiness thusly: “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.”
Holiness is rightly understood as an attribute of God but there is more to holiness than merely something which God possesses or measures in accordance with His own being and His own nature.
Holiness is both a requirement for and a consequence of salvation. Holiness has a twofold operation in the life of the believer and in salvation because there are two main ways that holiness is to be properly understood and discussed for the Christian believer – the holiness of Christ and the holiness of the individual.
(1) There is at the outset and most importantly the positional holiness of the believer when he receives the holiness of Christ by faith. Holiness was a requirement for Jesus to pay the penalty of sin and that holiness is transferred to us in salvation. God’s mercy is not Him “overlooking” sin.