1 Peter 1:13-16
Called to Be Holy
God desires a people—not just any people—but a holy people. Indeed, that is the only people God will have. God will not tolerate sin in His presence. That’s not because He’s intolerant; it’s because of His own holy nature. Of course, He rejoices in His holiness, for holiness is the very essence of His being, all other attributes and activities deriving there from (including love). But His holy nature will not allow God to mingle with sin. A cynic might call that a deficit, but that’s why they’re cynics—and blind.
So God must have a holy people. He does this in two ways. The first is by sanctifying a people through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ; that is, God washes away our sins upon saving faith in His dear Son—the sinless one for the sinful one, the holy for the unholy, the Son of God for sons of men. It was God’s will to make this exchange, his prerogative and that without obligation and out of His great love and desire to obtain a people for His very own. And He has accomplished this through His Son’s death and resurrection. This is what might be called the Christian’s “stand” before God.
But there is also the Christian’s “walk” before God. This walk is less than perfectly holy, to say the least. But God, who birthed us anew through His Holy Spirit, now further sanctifies us through the Spirit to grow us in His grace so that we become less like ourselves and more like Him. This walk with God requires that we participate in this growth in grace, that we do our part, so to speak. Now, we could never grow at all if God did not provide the grace; but, given that provision, we must comply withal.
There are some who might balk at this saying that such a position robs God of His glory. I disagree. As I said, we only grow by God’s grace. But as we read these verses, it is clear that we have something to do in this process of sanctification. In fact, the Apostle mentions several things we must do: prepare our minds for action, be sober-minded, set our hope fully on the grace that will be brought to us at our Lord’s return, be not conformed to the passions of our former ignorance (i.e., before we were saved), and be holy in all our conduct. These are not suggestions but expectations; this is what people born of the Spirit do as the Spirit carries them along. Paul says the same in Romans 12:1-2 when he implores us to become “living sacrifice[s], holy and acceptable to God.” It is actually our privilege to participate in this process, to mortify the flesh, to live in the Spirit. Don’t miss out on this wonderful blessing to answer the call to live a holy life.