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You: Be Holy

Published: Wednesday, 12 March 2014 Written by Carlton L. Arnold

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. Obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”  1 Peter 1:13-16

These verses are clear about the goals of living a Christian life.  However, as you read this, you will probably have a “so what” reaction to what I say.  I hope this will not be the case as all Christians should understand God’s expectations for us.  It’s only after we realize what God has done for us and His expectations of us can we go about living the Christian life that will have an impact on this world.


Overall, these verses are saying, “Be holy because I am holy.”  This statement is also said by God to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament in Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:26.  The statement also occurs in the New Testament in Matthew 5:43 .  Actually, the word for holy in Matthew 5:43 is the word “perfect.”  WOW!  That’s a very bold statement for Jesus to make, but He said it to all Christian. Obviously, God says it is possible and He expects those who know Him to live a holy life.  The reason God is so confident about you being holy is that He is the one who makes you holy.  You cannot make yourself holy.   It seems that we consider ourselves unholy and never take into account the work of God that makes us holy.

Many times I have asked Christians if they were as righteous as Jesus.  Most Christians have a difficult time acknowledging this fact.  Your self-righteousness is unholy, but the righteousness that you receive from God is holy.  I think God wants us to concentrate on His holiness and not your unholiness. As an exercise, count how many times the word holy is used in Leviticus 19-24.  God wants to make the point that human beings are as holy as He is, and should be living that holy life for God here on this earth.  I hope this truth rocks your boat.  You are to live a holy life in the here and now not by your own strength but by what God has given you.

However, Christians today have taken the word holy and made it something beyond the reach of most people.  A Christian could say that Billy Graham or Mother Theresa are holy.  Can you think for a minute why you would call them holy?   Is it their reputation?  Is it their way of living?  Is it their accomplishments for the Kingdom of God.  This is the point of this discussion.  How could you or me ever be considered holy by a holy God?  Listen carefully to this: He has made you holy through His Son.  To doubt this holiness from God is to deny the truth coming from God.  You are sinning against Him.

Look at what appears before this statement, and we should have a good idea about holiness.  Our minds should be alert and fully sober.  There’s a lot to this simple statement.  If you are to be alert, you have to be rested and focused.  What keeps you from being rested and focused…the world?  The world that is dominated by Satan desires to have you fatigued, worn out, dreading another Monday, etc.  The world will wear you out with all the stuff that is going on in this world.  If you try to listen to the latest news about politics, murders, movie stars, or sports stars, your view of your own life will be jaundiced toward what the world is calling success.  You will feel lacking, you will feel ugly, you will feel incomplete, and you will feel like the “low-life” of this world.  You will think that all those people have it made.  This will not give you rest, and it certainly will not let you feel holy.

Your mind should also be fully sober.  The word sober means to have a clear mind.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are drunk.  It means that you do not have a lot of worries and thoughts that are stealing your ability to think clearly.

To be holy, we need to have alert and clear minds.  We also need to intentionally, methodically, without hesitation, and with conviction set our hope on the future salvation that we will receive at the coming of Christ.  Most Christians consider themselves saved in the present and they are.  However, from God’s point of view, you have not received that salvation until Jesus returns. This makes sense if you consider what you are saved from…the wrath of God that will occur in the end times.  God is asking you to start thinking a lot about that future day when you will realize that you have been fully saved and will be living with Him in eternity.


From all of the above, being holy means we become obedient to what God has told us.  We learn of the gentle behavior of Christ toward others, and we desire to have that same attitude.  We deny ourselves in every possible situation so that God can work through our death to self.  By doing these things, we demonstrate that we love God first and we are willing to serve others in any way they need.  These are the two greatest commandments for a Christian – love God and serve others. We truly become more Christ-like in all of our thoughts, actions, and decisions.  Every Christian reading this should want “to be holy as He is holy.”

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