In July I started to preach through the book of 1 Peter and this past Sunday we made it to verses 13-16 of chapter 1 so we are not exactly on a torrid pace. The amazing thing is that there is such depth to the Scriptures that it is never hard to come up with enough material for a sermon. Rather, the challenge is to package the material in such a way as to let God’s truth speak clearly to those who will hear it. In 1:16 Peter quotes from Leviticus by saying, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” This was an important message for Peter’s audience and it remains an important message for Christian’s today. Could it be that many Christian’s do not understand the importance of living holy and godly lives? I fear that the answer to this question is yes. A couple weeks ago I asked our Sunday school class, what are some of the goals of the Christian life? We came up with a number of different answers to that question and holiness happened to be one of them. We are called to be holy simply because our Creator is holy. But do we truly desire holiness? We seem to have such strong desires when it comes to other things – whether it’s hobbies we have, being successful in life, our toys (big and small alike), relationships and on and on the list goes. None of those things are bad in and of themselves, but they are when they become personal idols and take the place of God in our lives. They can become our consuming passion and when that happens, our desire for God and our desire for holiness take a back seat to whatever has captured us.
The holiness of God is a huge theme in Scripture. You can’t read through your Bible and miss this critical theme. But as you read through the Scriptures, another theme also emerges – God calls his people to imitate Him. So often in life we try to be like other people, but Peter gives us a new standard – God. You might be wondering, how are we to imitate God? By looking to his Son, Jesus Christ. We place our faith and trust in Jesus and then follow him for the rest of our days. It is amazing how when the Spirit of Christ comes to live in our hearts, our desires are radically transformed so that we actually want to be like Christ. Through the daily process of sanctification, holiness is realized as we set our eyes on Christ and take them off the things of the world. God has set the standard and set it very high, but He also equips us with everything we will need to follow through on that calling. May we not take this calling lightly and remember, “without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) Praise be to God and our Lord Jesus Christ.