Are you wholly holy? (Part 1)

1 Peter 1v13-21

Now often when we think of someone who is Holy, we think of the three persons of the Trinity – the holiness of the Father, Son and Spirit.   It’s something way up there beyond us.  Maybe we think of the saints of old, the one’s that we see who have their heads in a yellow dome as they are depicted in a painting or in a stained glass window.

When I was looking for a video clip to use last Sunday evening when we we talking about evangelism, I came across a video clip promoting the ‘christian bubble’.  The advertising slogan was – are you tired of having to avoid all the sinners you come in contact with every day?  Are you disgusted by all the non-christians around you?  If only there was something that could keep the unclean heathens away from you… and what it was as a product called – the christian bubble -and it was a product like a big ballon or ball that you then put it over your head.  The video said that it allowed christians to ignore the world around them and live in their own world of holiness.  It was specially designed to deflect the sights, sounds and smells of a world  that they are simply too good for.  It was poking fun…

But Maybe that’s your view of holiness, being separate from the world completely.  After all the phrase to be holy, means to be set apart. 

Maybe you think holiness is walking round with a halo round your head.  I’m not sure if the phrase ‘holy joe’ is still used, but there was a time that it was used by those who perceived Christians to be the eternal party pooper or the judgemental person telling everyone that what they are doing is wrong.

There are lots of perceptions about what it means to be holy. 

So far, in 1 Peter 1 we have have been talking about battles and blessings, how we will need the blessing of abundant grace and peace from Jesus to help us through battles that we face in life.  We talked about the great salvation in Jesus, accomplished through His death and resurrection, and the hope that gives us when we accept Jesus as Saviour, and how that hope in Jesus, can see us through the suffering and grief and trials of many kinds that we face.

And now as we come into verse 13, this word, ‘therefore’ appears – I’m sure you all know the cliche that says where you see the word therefore in the bible you have ask what is it there for.

And verse 13 tells us very clearly what it is there for – 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

In other words there is something that we have to do.  And that is clearly articulated by Peter in verses 14-16 when he says, like obedient children to God, be holy as God is holy.  Don’t be conformed to evil desires like you used to have, but live your lives as those that are holy, to be holy as God is holy. 

Eh, ok….. how am I supposed to do that?

1 Samuel 2v2 says  “There is no one, no one, holy like the LORD..”

God’s holiness is like way up there… I’m like down here…. God is like, perfect, I am like, not perfect.  How on earth am I supposed to reach that standard after all the bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, so what’s the point in even trying.

But if that is our view point then we miss the point of what Peter is encouraging us do.  

Ok, we have battles and blessings, we have suffering now and glory to follow.  The hope that Jesus gives through this great salvation that we have received through trusting in Him, helps me  through through trials, but Peter is also encouraging us to live as those who want to receive the grace to be brought to us when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming

You know for those of us who have accepted Jesus as saviour, we acknowledge that we were not good enough.  We could not meet the standard of God, we were sinners who fell short, but God showed his love to us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us, and when we repent and turn to Christ and put our trust in his redeeming work, believing He paid the price for our sin, then we know the grace of the Lord Jesus.  We know God riches of salvation achieved for us at Christ’s expense.  We know the favour of God, of forgiven sin, of being made new, of being a child of God, not because we deserved it, but because we did not deserve it – that’s what grace is – being given what we don’t deserve and we glory in it. We glory in the Cross. Hallelujah for the cross. 

And as those of us who have accepted Jesus as saviour, we have received grace.  But Peter here is telling us – verse 13 – that there is a grace to be given to us when Jesus Christ is revealed.  There is something else to be given to us that we don’t deserve.  That inheritance, that can never spoil or perish or fade, kept in heaven for us, the goal of our faith in Jesus;  through the battles and suffering and the blessings of this life, this hope what we have that results in praise, glory and honour. There is a grace that is still to be given to us that we do not deserve, but will be give to us when Jesus Christ is revealed.

And that hope that holds the future in the present because it is anchored in the past, Peter says, ought to motivate us to living to God’s standards.  And there are two reasons he gives to motivate us.  The first one is judgement. Ooo scarey….

Verse 17 says, since we call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers, here, in reverent fear.

Now the reality and finality of God’s judgement are often affirmed.  We are taught that Christ will be Judge on that day –  Acts 10v42 says that Jesus is the one that God appointed judge of the living and the dead; Romans 2v16 says God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ.  Christ will be Judge on that day.

And at the same time as affirming the reality of Gods judgement, we are also told, as those who have accepted God’s great salvation, that God’s verdict on us has already been pronounced; in Christ we are justified – just as if I had never sinned; we have passed from death to life. The Judge will be our Saviour – Romans 8v33-34 – who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.  Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus who died – more than that was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for, who?  for us!

God’s final judgement will glorify his justice; he will pronounce for all those who have received this great salvation in Jesus the satisfaction of Christ’s death and the merit of His perfect obedience.

And this is the second motivational factor Peter gives to be holy as God is holy because it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that we were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to us, but with the precious blood of Jesus, a lamb without blemish or defect.   He, Jesus, was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for us.  For our sake!  Because it is through Him that we believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him. It is because of Him, because of Jesus, that our our faith and our hope are in God.

There is a judgement but there is also a salvation, so does that mean the salvation cancels out the judgement?  No it does not..

But while have our faith and hope in God, Peter says in verse 15 that we are to live as strangers, here on this earth, in reverent fear of God because on that day of judgement, as those who know Gods great salvation, the faithfulness of the Lord’s people will also be displayed, not as the basis of their acceptance, but to show the reality of their faith in their Saviour, and there are warnings in scripture regarding those who are unfaithful.  Matthew 7v21 says that not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter he kingdom of heaven, but, listen, only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven’

1 Corinthians talks about the judgement seat of Christ – we are not judged for our sins, for we are justified in Christ, but we judged – Eric Parker put it like this – how have we walked, how have we run, what have we thought, said and done, and if those things were not the evidence of living faithfully to God’s standards then those things will be burned up and if it is burned up, scripture says he will suffer loss; yes saved; but only as one escaping the fire. That’s on the negative side, but on the positive side heavenly reward will, will be proportionate to the faithfulness of God’s people living in this world knowing that they are in this world but not of it, whose hope are in Jesus, whose lives shows the reality of their faith in Jesus.

We have to live to the standards of God because our hope is in God, that’s where our faith is, it’s in God, and while there is a grace yet to be given to us that we do not deserve because of Gods great salvation in Jesus, there is also a judgement to come that we do deserve either positively or negatively, and our judge is Jesus.

Jesus gave His all for us – his all – everything.  Are we willing to give our all to live to his standards.  To be holy as He is holy.

God is Holy and because He is holy we must be holy, for we are His people – we need to be identifiable as His people, and so I say again because of this great salvation in Jesus, because we have a hope that holds the future in the present because it is anchored in the past, because we set our hope on a grace to be given us when Jesus Christ is revealed, because He gave His all for us, because there is a judgement to come that will reward living faithfully for Him, are we motivated, will we show the reality of faith in our Saviour, are we willing to give our all and live to God’s standards – To be holy as He is holy.

And there two things that Peter tells us are required of us right at the outset to achieve this.

And the first one is we have to prepare our minds for action, or have minds that are alert.  Literally, gird up the loins of your mind.  This girding up of loins describes what a man wearing a long robe had to do had to do if he had to go into action – gather the garment up between his legs and tuck it into his belt.

There are a couple of examples in the old testament of this – When the nation of Israel were about to be rescued from their slavery in Egypt, they were told to eat the Passover, with your cloak tucked into your belt – be ready to move – be ready for the journey ahead.

After the experience on Mount Carmel, Elijah knew heavy rain was coming, so he prayed, and asked his servant to look towards the sea – he kept praying, he kept asking for his servant to look – seven times until a cloud as small as a man’s hand rose from the sea, and Elijah tucked his cloak into his belt and ran – Jeremiah at the start of his ministry was told by God to get ready! 

Peter is encouraging us to get ready! Get ready for action – get ready to move.  This faith, this hope, needs to be outworked – we are on a journey to glory, we are on a mission to go where Jesus calls us to go and on a mission to say what Jesus wants us to say because as I shared last Sunday night, we are ambassadors of Jesus on this earth and we not only represent Him where we are, but we also promote Him.  Our hope is in Jesus and we need to be ready to show the reality of faith in our saviour – in our sufferings, in our battles and in our blessings.

Are you ready?  Are you ready ready ready?  Do you hear that call of the Saviour that says, ok you’ve got this great salvation, you have this hope, now get on your marks, get set…..  are you ready for living to a new standard – not one you used to live by, not one this society says you need to live by, not a standard that you think a Christian should live by, or a church expects you to live by, but a standard that your Saviour, your hope, your faith, calls you to live by.  Are you ready! 

How does a world-class sprinter deal with the drama of a big sprint showdown?

It might sometimes be over in less than 10 seconds. That doesn’t mean it happens by accident – they think about the race – how they want their start to be, how the execution of the rest will be.  They get focused. 

They are ready with a towel – a pair of running spikes

They get their fuel, their energy – water, sports drink and a few sweets for the sugar burst.

15 minutes before the gun goes, they will go down to the track and start some warm-up. They do some drills, some strides and then some mental preparation.

They get nervous before the race, everyone does.  They say it’s good for you. You’ve got to have a little bit of that you get you in the right state to race.

Called to the line by the starter, on the blocks they don’t try to think of anything apart from just run. Just run to the line.

Are you ready?  Am I ready?  Have we prepared our minds for action.

Have we got before our Saviour and brought before Him our race today. Have we got focused.  Have we got our fuel – have we read from His word, got our daily bread, have we drunk from his fountain of his love,  asked Him to fill us with His Spirit. 

Have we warmed up – have we worshipped him, prayed about what’s ahead today

Are we nervous about what is ahead – good – means we need to depend on Him

So we’re called to the starting line.  Are we ready?  Are we ready to show the reality of our faith in Jesus today.

The second things we need to have is to be fully sober, or sober minded as some versions put it

In Luke 12, Jesus tells the story about being servants being ready for their master coming. He says that those who say to themselves, oh well, he’s taking a long time to come back, so let’s just eat, drink and be merry and live in the now will miss out.

And maybe Peter is thinking of this when we writes  these words in verse 13 to be fully sober because Jesus was contrasting the watchful expectancy of a faithful servant with drunken indifference to the return of the Lord.  Drunkenness is a refuge for those who have no hope, but we have a hope in Jesus.  Being sober minded means having our minds alert to the voice of Jesus.

Peter is saying there is marked difference from what we were because we  know this great salvation, through knowing Jesus – drunken-ness is a picture of what people in this world revel in – I hear so often in the office about a great night out someone had where much alcohol was consumed.  A great night can’t be had without getting drunk – what a shame that is. But we revel in Jesus – in His great salvation.

Again Peter is calling us not only to be ready, but to have an attitude that says – I’m living for Jesus, and it’s not a joyless gloom, it’s a living hope expressed as we live out the reality of our faith in Jesus with an alert wisdom that seizes the opportunities to represent Him and promote Him. In other words have an attitude that is ready to go. Ready to live for Him.

Conclusion

Are you wholly holy? In other words are you fully holy, or is there a hole in your holiness.  We will delve a little bit deeper into that next time but for now, there is a call to action, there is a call to determine that you and I are going to live to God’s standards – to be holy as God is holy. 

To be “holy” means that we are, first of all, “set apart for honorable use.”   The Lord took the initiative to pull us out of our former lifestyles. He saved us, cleansed us, and set us apart for righteousness. He has made us holy, that’s our position in Christ.

However, the pursuit of holiness does not end when we come to Christ.

In fact, it just begins! Yes there is a positional holiness that we inherit when we are in Christ but there is also a practical holiness which we must actively pursue. God expects us to cultivate a lifestyle of holiness – to be holy as he is holy – and that’s what Peter is promoting in the verses we read this morning and encourages us to live our lives for God here with a reverence for Him because he’s saved us through his son Jesus and he will judge us for how we have lived for him.

God’s ultimate desire for His people is that we be holy—conformed into the image of His Son, Jesus. Holiness is the will of God for our lives.  It’s living for Jesus to become like Jesus.

Are you determined to live for Jesus.  Are you determined to be wholly holy, to be fully holy.  Its not a suggestion, it’s not a optional extra – it’s actually a command, it’s a requirement.  But it’s a requirement that I gladly accept because my hope is in Jesus and my faith is in Jesus, so I want to live for Jesus.

Lord help us to people that prepare our minds for action every day, to be people that are sober minded – living in the reality of a hope in You that holds the future in the present because it is anchored in the past.  Help us Lord to be children of obedience that seek your will; to live by your standards, and help be ready to serve you as your ambassadors, ready for your voice, your call to go and represent you and promote you.

Lord help us to be good servants, faithful servants so that we will know the well done of you, our master. And its all because you have saved us, you have purchased us with the precious blood of Jesus. Oh Lord help us we pray to live for you, to become like you. Help us to do our part for we want our lives to be to the praise, glory and honour of Jesus, for he has given us this great salvation.  Help us to determine to be Holy, as you are holy. To live for Jesus to become like Jesus.

Amen