What does God mean when He says to be holy? Many times our idea of holiness is not what holiness actually is.
1 Peter 1:14 – As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance…
We always hear about obedience, but we have never met the person who has mastered obedience, yet we are called to be holy in all of our behavior.
1 Peter 2:1 – Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander…
Have you ever looked at these requirements and thought “there is no way I could ever live up?”
We go through our lives believing that holiness is an unattainable, intangible standard.
Do you have a level of holiness you want to achieve, a benchmark that, if hit, would keep you ahead of the status quo? What we often do is simply try to do better than the other people we are around.
The struggle for every believer is that we genuinely want to be good people and do good things, but we still fall short of all of our behavior being holy. Who could count the number of times that any one of us falls short. Because of this, we convince ourselves that we only need to focus on outrunning the other guy.
Holiness is something hard to understand, but powerful, resulting in an attitude of ambivalence towards it. We are attracted to the idea that we can have a relationship with God, but terrified of the consequences of not measuring up.
Do you feel like there is no way that you can achieve the guidelines of holiness that Peter talks about? We all feel the inability to achieve what Peter lays out…we are all intimately aware of our failures.
The disciples understood this.
There is one thing that constantly marks the disciples lives; they never completely understand and never actually buy in until Jesus comes back.
Jesus spent His time teaching them to live a life of holiness, yet the product was that the disciples were prideful and doubtful.
John 16:7 – But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
Jesus was telling guys who had a front row seat to His life that it would actually be better for them that He leave, so that they would receive the Holy Spirit.
How could it possibly be to our advantage that He leave us? What if Jesus’ life was about more than just forgiveness of sins, redemption, and the cross?
What if His life was to serve as an example for us of what we can do through Him?
Jesus knew that if He didn’t go, their lives would remain exactly as they were, with no hope of becoming more.
John 14:12-17 – Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
He promised that they would do greater things than Jesus Himself, because Jesus was leaving to go with the Father. As long as Jesus was with them in the flesh, He couldn’t be with them in their hearts.
We are able to do greater things than even Jesus did because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us.
Jesus knew that without the Holy Spirit coming, all His life would show was the impossible standard we could never live up to. If, however, the Holy Spirit was going to come and live inside if us, we would need an example of what holiness was to look like.
Jesus give us the opportunity, through the Holy Spirit, to live the life Jesus has called us to live.
1 Peter 2:9-10 – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Through the Holy Spirit we can become the fulfillment of this verse. Holiness becomes more about our identity in Christ than simply the things we do.
Holiness has been described this way:
“Are Christians a truly holy people. or are we trying to become a holy people? As an oak tree grows, it doesn’t become ‘oakier.’ Oak is oak. It simply matures into what it is; a fully grown oak tree.”
Our job is to mature into what Christ has already made us. We become holy because He is holy. We are to become who we already are.
– Have you had a warped view of holiness, seeing it as something you do rather than who you are? Pray that God would change your mindset when it comes to this.
– What areas of your life do you need to rely on the Holy Spirit to change you?