Holy Is As Holy Does

“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.'”  1 Peter 1: 15-16 KJV

Peter now serves the second of a two-part explanation of the term, ‘sanctification.’ The first described the believer’s sanctification as evidenced by what is avoided (v. 14). Here (v. 15, 16), Peter makes an all-inclusive statement revealing what the believer does. He instructs his readers, “In every thing you do… be holy!”

I hope I’m not the only one who recoils ever so slightly (okay, a whole lot!) when that word is used to imply my instructed conduct. Peter could have made life a lot easier for me if he had simply said, “Be almost holy,” or “Hey, try to resemble Jesus’ holiness to the best of your ability.” But he didn’t. He said, “Be holy, as God is holy!”

My natural reaction to this word is to immediately envision Isaiah seeing the Lord on His throne, high and lifted up (ch. 6). There before the Throne of God, worships angelic beings crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”

And Peter says, “Be holy.” Peter couldn’t have set a higher mark or standard. There is nothing and there is no one remotely holy as God. So what can Peter be instructing?

Yes, I know… at this point, someone will chime in with an explanation of the believer’s position in Christ. And they will be right. In Christ Jesus, we are robed with His holiness. But Peter is instructing his readers to flee from their former lusts and then walk in holiness; be holy. He’s giving them practical information for guidance.

As Peter unfolds an understanding of the term, sanctification, he is leaning upon an illustration that his hearers would have grasped easily. No one reading his words in that day would have concluded Peter was telling them to usurp an attribute that God alone possesses.

Throughout the Bible, there is another use of the term, holy. It is distinctly related to God’s holiness. It is those things that are assigned to, and set apart for, devotion to God. Consider the articles of the Temple. When something became consecrated for Temple worship, it held a special place in the sanctuary of God, and it was prohibited from common use. It was deemed, ‘holy.’ Simply put, a frying pan assigned to the Temple could no longer be used to cook pork chops for supper (I know, that’s lame). To rein this thought in, read a few verses by Paul. Ephesians 1:4; 5:27; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:12 (Yes, you have to open your Bible and turn to these)

Peter is encouraging believers to be holy in every aspect of their lives. This, by the way, goes much deeper than religious activity. A Puritan writer once observed, “What a man is in private, that is what a man really is in the sight of God.” The motive behind each action is equal in importance. Peter said, “Be holy in all your conduct.” Whether in thought, word, or deed, do everything as one who has been set apart for God’s purposes. And His purpose is clear; the transforming work of His people into the image of His Son.

Christ likeness is God’s goal for every believer’s life (2 Corinthians 3:18). It should be the goal for the believer also.

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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12 Responses to Holy Is As Holy Does

  1. singingsinglev4 says:

    This is really deep stuff. When I think about the prospect of holiness and sanctification – I am troubled by my surroundings like if the house is not spotless I feel like if somehow I have failed God. But when it comes to issues of the heart, we have been learning in church that the we don’t automatically become a new creation over night, and it is a process where the Bible says, we “begin” to live out a holy life and that this work is being perfected in us. We cannot do this on our own strength, but through the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I find in my life when I absolutely have heard from God and I don’t listen or obey, then I am soon not if immediately, pruned, or chastened for disobedience. It takes a lot of wisdom to learn how to live a holy and God-sanctified life.

  2. Freedomborn says:

    Wonderful message Mike, it has blessed me greatly just to read it and when I asked God how… He said we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us, He is my greatest Gift to mankind, to my Children whom I Love…Jesus my beloved Son has set you free so we could walk together in Holiness.

    Christian Love Anne

  3. Great message. It is so hard to understand that as a believer that Christ actually lives in us!. By putting to death our flesh, we allow the power of Christ and his holiness to work in us and through us. As we are told in Scripture, “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you?” Remember what happened to Uzzah when he tried to steady the Ark of the Covenant when it started to fall. He was struck down because that wooden Ark was made holy because God dwelled there. Imagine now that a Holy God lives in us. How much more are we made holy than was the box that the Spirit of God resided in.

  4. Jeff says:

    Good words. Hard words. But good words. I fall so far short of that goal…

  5. Lady Deidre says:

    Awesome post! Now to live up to this sermon — I can only hope and pray!
    God Bless You,
    Lady D

  6. mrsdkmiller says:

    Wonderful, thank you. Horatius Bonar says of the work of both Christ and the Spirit in holiness, “On the right receiving and entertaining of this heavenly Guest, much of a holy life depends. Let us bid Him welcome–not vexing, nor resisting, nor grieving, nor quenching Him, but loving Him and delighting in His love (“the love of the Spirit,” Rom 15:30), that our life may be a living in the Spirit (Gal 5:25), a walking in the Spirit (Gal 5:16), a praying in the Spirit (Jude 20). While distinguishing Christ’s work for us and the Spirit’s work in us, and so preserving our conscious pardon unbroken, yet let us not separate the two by any interval; but allowing both to do their work, let us “follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb 12:14), keeping our hearts in “the fellowship of the Spirit” (Phil 2:1), and delighting ourselves in “the communion of the Holy Ghost” (2 Cor 13:14).” (God’s Way of Holiness)

    • mtsweat says:

      Thanks, mrsdkmiller. Your response is magnificent (Go Bonar!). Also, I’m very impressed with the material over at your site. God bless.

  7. lambskinny says:

    The best! A wonderful feast! Thanks, Michael. Carley

    • mtsweat says:

      Thanks, Carley. My continued effort to work verse by verse through a book of the Bible (1 Peter) has proven rewarding. It doesn’t allow me to pick and choose, but to write what the next verse teaches. I felt compelled to try this some time ago (it’s been slow-moving), but I think I have now written seven or eight posts on this letter from Peter as of present. God bless.

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