1 Peter – Chapter One XLI

by Ed Urzi

“but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy'” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

Unfortunately, the word “holy” is a word that people often seem to use with little concern for its meaning. For instance, it’s not unusual to hear the word “holy” employed as an exclamation or expression of surprise. Nevertheless, those who use the word “holy” in a careless or disrespectful manner should reconsider doing so, especially if they know and respect the One who is most closely associated with that term.

You see, the word “holy” expresses the qualities of moral purity and ethical perfection. This is especially true when used in relation to God. This word can also describe a person or thing that has been consecrated or “set apart” in a spiritual sense. When used appropriately, “holiness” conveys God’s moral perfection and complete separation from anything that is wrong, corrupt, immoral, or impure.

The Biblical book of Revelation also associates holiness with Jesus Himself. As Jesus stated in His own words…

“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. This is the message from the one who is holy and true. He is the one who has the key of David. He opens doors, and no one can shut them; he shuts doors, and no one can open them” (Revelation 3:7 NLT).

Of course, some may readily acknowledge Jesus’ holiness while struggling to apply this directive from 1 Peter 1:16: “Be holy, for I am holy.” As fallible human beings, the qualities of moral purity and ethical perfection may seem to be unattainable goals. Yet even though human beings are imperfect, we do possess the ability to exhibit holy, God-honoring character.

For instance, we can interact with others in a respectable and morally pure manner. We can prayerfully seek to consecrate ourselves and avoid those things that are wrong, corrupt, immoral, or impure. This does not mean that we can lead lives of sinless perfection, but it does mean that we should seek to emulate God’s character in our conduct and manner of life.

One commentator summarizes God’s agenda within this call to holiness…

“God’s will has always been that His children reflect His character (cf. Titus 2:14). The goal of Christianity is not only heaven when we die, but Christlikeness now (cf. Rom. 8:29-30; 2 Cor. 3:18; 7:1; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 1:4; 2:10; 4:13; 1 Thess. 3:13; 4:3,7; 5:23). Jesus’ task was not only remission of sin, but the restoration of the image of God in fallen mankind.” (1)

(1) Dr. Bob Utley. Free Bible Commentary, Copyright © 2014 Bible Lessons International https://www.freebiblecommentary.org/new_testament_studies/VOL02/VOL02B_01.html