An Appeal for Holiness
1 Peter 1:14 – 16 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
We talked about the three commands given by the Lord in verse 13, but we put more emphasis on the word “hope”. This morning we would be dealing with more commands but the most important is the command “Be ye Holy” . It is a command which is absolutely imperative and must be followed at all cost.
I. As obedient children
A. Peter now addresses us as “obedient children”
B. Formerly when we are not yet saved we were called children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2).
C. Obedience means willingness to do what is required by law, obligation, or social convention. Dutifully complying with the commands, orders, or instructions of one in authority.
D. An obedient child of God will listen to God and obey.
E. To obey is better than sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22).
F. The most supreme example of obedience is found in Phil. 2: 5-8 in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ
II. Not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts
A. The word “fashioning” is the same word as “conforming” or conform to the same pattern.
B. “Conforming” here refers to the acts of a child of God shown by habits, mannerisms, dress, speech and behavior from which God saved him.
1. Christians should not conform to the popular fashions like, miniskirts, tight fitting jeans, bikinis, etc. that will cause fleshy desires for men.
2. We should also avoid foul languages and expressions commonly spoken by indecent people.
3. The word “Praise the Lord” now is being spoken by unbelievers smoking and drinking alcohol in the streets without realizing they are committing a big sin against the Holy God.
4. Sad to say also that even born again Christians are living together outside marriage and some are even divorcing their spouse.
C. The other time the New Testament uses “conforming” is in Romans 12:2, which says “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
D. In this verse being outwardly conformed to the things of this age is contrasted with being transformed inwardly by the renewal of the thoughts through the Holy Spirit’s power.
Illustration: Against all the World
Athanasius, early bishop of Alexandria, stoutly opposed the teachings of Arius, who declared that Christ was not the eternal Son of God, but a subordinate being. Hounded through five exiles, he was finally summoned before emperor Theodosius, who demanded he cease his opposition to Arius.
The emperor reproved him and asked, “Do you not realize that all the world is against you?”
Athanasius quickly answered, “Then I am against all the world.”
Athanasius would rather standalone than conform the wrong and unscriptural belief of the world.
E. Lust means to strongly desire to have what belongs to someone else. It carries the idea of engaging in desires that are morally wrong — to covet, (Acts 20.33; Matthew 5.28; Galatians 5.16; 1 Timothy 6.9; 2 Timothy 2.22).
F. Former lusts means a longing especially for what is forbidden before we were saved.
III. Be Holy
A. The terms “holy,” “sanctify,” “consecrate,” “dedicate,” and “saint” are translated from the same Hebrew and Greek words in the Bible. The basic meaning of these is to be set apart for God’s purposes (Lev. 20:26).
B. God is our pattern of holiness. Although we must imitate Him we cannot equal Him. God is absolute in holiness.
C. Why should we live a holy life?
1. God the Father commands it. It is written” Be ye holy for I am holy”. It is a command in which we have no choice but to follow. To live an unholy life will be disobedience to the God who created us.
2. The Lord Jesus Christ made it possible. Christ died and rose again from the dead so we can live a holy life. He died to redeem us from our old sinful life.
3. The Holy Spirit helps us and enables us to do it. Now that we are saved, the Holy Spirit indwells us to make a holy living possible. It is impossible for anyone to live a holy life apart from the Holy Spirit.
D. Two aspects of holiness in the Christian’s life:
1. Positional Holiness – the believer eternally set apart into God’s family. To be in Christ is to be holy in this sense (Eph. 1:4; Heb. 3:1). In position before God, every true believer is holy and blameless from the very day he is born again. How can this be? It is because the born again person is placed into Christ, and God no longer sees that person as a condemned sinner, but as a blessed saint. God looks at the believer through the blood of His Son and sees no sin. The Christian is not holy in this positional sense because he is good, but because Christ has put away his sin and declared him righteous. Every child of God is holy, every child of God is a saint, in this positional sense.
2. Practical Holiness – to be holy in daily living. Though Christians are holy in Christ positionally, the Bible teaches it is God’s will for them to be holy in practice also (1 Pet. 1:15-16). the two aspects of holiness are seen in one verse in Col. 3:12. This verse teaches that since Christians are holy and beloved by position in Christ, they should live up to this position by being holy in life. Every true Christian, because of his trust in Christ’s blood, is perfect and holy before God-as holy as Jesus is-but every Christian does not live a holy life day by day. The Christian is to perfect holiness (2 Cor. 7:1).(Way of Life Encyclopedia by David Cloud)
Illustration: Missionary Ordination
We must heed the memorable words written by Robert Murray McCheyne to the Rev. Dan Edwards on 2 October 1840 after his ordination as a missionary to the Jews: ‘I trust you will have a pleasant and profitable time in Germany. I know you will apply hard to German; but do not forget the culture of the inner man,—I mean of the heart. How diligently the cavalry officer keeps his sabre clean and
sharp; every stain he rubs off with the greatest care. Remember you are God’s sword,—His instrument,—I trust a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name. In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be the success. It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.’
As servant of the Lord we are live a holy life if we want to be effectively used by the Lord to serve Him.
As obedient children of God now, will you still conform to the worldly fashions and lusts of the world? Will you live holy life in obedience to the command of God the Father? The Lord Jesus Christ made it possible for us to live a holy life, will you follow Him?