From Peter’s first letter we read,
“Therefore . . . as obedient children . . . as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” (I Peter 1:13-16 – NKJV)
The serpent of old entered into the garden and tempted the unaccompanied wife of Adam, Eve. As he weaved his wicked plan to get Eve to listen to him and thus disobey God, he said something within his dialogue that we take note of here,
“. . . you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5 – NKJV)
That has been a lie for the ages! One, that after the fall of man into sin, has been a pursuit of mankind in every age; to “be like God.”
So many religions and cults and movements propagate this message in our particular day-in-time even to the point where so-called Christian ministries are also proclaiming to their parishioners . . . “you (can be) like God.” They even go so far as to set certain criteria that once embraced and achieved can lead one to a point of self-realization . . . a realization that they are a “God.”
Again, the serpent lied to Eve and said,
“. . . you will be like God”
Eve heard this and desired it . . . and she moved to fulfill her desire. Only, she did not become “like God,” but rather became estranged from Him, her act of disobedience leading her and Adam to be separated from “God.” We know that this separation has left man being anything but “like God.” For the Scriptures make it abundantly clear that man is “dead in trespasses and sins . . . sons of disobedience . . . children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3), while “God” is “holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). The separation is of such a magnitude that one can hardly believe it could ever know repair.
Much has taken place since that initial fall into sin, that initial embracing of the concept to “be like God.” The Bible takes us from the Old Testament to the teachings of the New and with that comes a knowledge of a great reconciliation that has taken place. “God,” who is “holy, holy, holy,” has reconciled us to Himself through the work of His Son. And a new age exists, a new period of time, one in which “God” is building what is known as “the church.” These are called-out ones, the “elect” (I Peter 1:2). In a totally different ministry then the one He had in the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit now indwells those who make up “the church,” those who have placed their faith in Jesus as God’s sacrifice for their sin. And with that in mind I would have us consider our text from I Peter. For now, empowered with divine power (cf. Ephesians 3:20-21), it is most interesting that, the reconciled believer is instructed to,
“. . . be holy”
. . . and how is that “holy” defined for us?
“. . . as He who called you is holy”
What a miraculous thing has taken place! Do you see it? Do you realize it? What a tremendous calling to we who are believers in Christ as Lord and Savior! And oh that we would understand it and chase after it with all our being . . .
“. . . as He who called you is holy, you also be holy”
I would think that in embracing this instruction from Peter two very important things would be that which we endeavor to pursue: (1) That we might understand the holiness of our God (Help: The Holiness of God, by R. C. Sproul) . . . and (2) Correctly understand what it means to be “holy” (Help: The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges) . . . so that we can “be” just that which we are “called” to “be.”
Kenneth Wuest, the great Greek teacher, in his expanded translation based on the Greek text of I Peter 1:15, writes,
“. . . but after the pattern of the One who called you, the Holy One, also yourselves become holy persons . . .”
“Like God?” The answer is, “Yes! Most certainly!” No better “pattern” can the “called” follow after . . . and do so . . .
“. . . because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.'” (I Peter 1:16 – NKJV)
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