1 Peter 1:14–19, 22–25 comment (0)
July 17, 2014
By Kenneth B.E. Roxburgh, Ph.D.
Related Scripture: 1 Peter 1:14–19, 22–25
Bible Studies for Life
Chair and Armstrong Professor of Religion, Samford University
1 Peter 1:14–19, 22–25
Holiness, at its root, has the idea of difference. God is holy; He is altogether different, highly exalted. When the Bible speaks about being holy, it means how we are set apart for sacred service. A person is holy if they are set apart for God’s will and purpose, a purpose in which our lives are made pure by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we talk about someone being a “cut above the rest.” This is ultimately true of God. He is above us, beyond our grasping as we only comprehend a little of who He is and what He is like. Every aspect of His character is holy. It is a part of everything He is and does. God’s power is a holy power. God’s love is, as P.T. Forsyth commented, a holy love. God’s wisdom is a holy wisdom. Holiness is not an aspect of God’s personality; it is one characteristic of His entire being. In the presence of God, people like Isaiah are overwhelmed with a sense of God’s glory and majesty for He is “high and lifted up.”
Be Holy Because God is Holy (14–16)
As God’s people we are called to be characterized by holiness. We are urged to “be holy as He is holy” in all our conduct. We are to be “set apart” as unique and holy people.
My mother had to the very end of her life, even when she entered into a nursing facility in Scotland, a display cabinet where she displayed her wedding china from 1939. In all of my life, I don’t think I ever remember her actually using it to have a cup of English breakfast tea. It was too special — it was set apart for special use — perhaps just in case her majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited us one day. Holy is to be seen in our daily conduct, in the way we live in relationship with others at work, college as well as in the home. There is a distinctive lifestyle that should characterize our attitudes and actions.
Be Holy in a Life Characterized With Fear and Reverence (17–19)
One particular attitude that should mark our lives is that of “reverent fear.” This does not refer to being frightened of God but to an attitude of reverence, respect and awe. Knowing that our Father in heaven is defined by holy love ought to influence the way we act. God is not to be trifled with or His love presumed upon for one day we will give an account of our lives to Him. Peter reminds us that our lives on this planet are temporary. We are foreigners on this earth because our real citizenship is in heaven. This reverential awe is based also on a sense of deep gratitude and wonder at what God has done for us. The cost of our redemption was the precious blood of Christ, shed freely for our salvation.
Be Holy in a Life Manifesting Love and Obedience (22–25)
Peter moves on to speak about what it means to be holy in our daily living. We must not think of holiness in terms of separation from but of separation to. Separation from is a function of survival, but sadly the result is the cutting off of the people of God from the reality of life in the world, a world that God loves and gave Himself to redeem. Jesus expressed holiness that was earthed in daily living. His holiness was grounded in life and was approachable, demonstrating love to people in need. In a similar way, Peter urges us to show our obedience to God by living a life of genuine mutual love for one another. True holiness will not keep us from the world but drive us into the world.