Posts Tagged ‘Holiness


Without Holiness…

When someone comes to Christ and experiences God’s saving grace, there has to be a response. Jesus calls us to live a holy life. It is the job of preachers and teachers to remind followers of Christ to live differently. When preachers and teachers don’t do their job, people can lose their way. They may return to their former way of life and Peter says that this is tragic. He wrote in 2 Peter 2:21-22 (NLT):

It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. 22 They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”

Hebrews 12:14 (NIV) says:

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

The author of Hebrews says that we have to live holy lives or else we will not see the Lord. What is holiness? It is living differently and set apart for God. It means to live a lifestyle that is markedly different than the one you were living before you knew Christ. Don’t go back to former habits and past sins. Instead, live a life of holiness and righteousness. When you inevitably fall short, return to your Father and not your former ways. He is waiting to forgive you with His amazing grace.


Holy Living

We have an unholy obsession with the word, “holy.” We say holy cow, holy moly, holy buckets and even holy crap or worse! What does the word “holy” really mean? It means special and set apart. It’s kind of like your great-grandmother’s fine china. You never use it for everyday dining and you keep it somewhere safe and protected so it doesn’t get damaged. We treat it as special because it IS special.
God says that you are special and you should live in a special way. Here’s what the apostle Peter said in 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT):
But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
God has called us out of the darkness of sin into the light of His grace. He has chosen believers in Jesus to be saved and forgiven. We are adopted into His family and made a part of His church. As children of God, we are to be anything but ordinary. We are to live lives that are far from mediocre or mundane. We are to be holy because God is holy. We are to behave differently because we are different. We are to talk differently because we belong to a holy family. We are to think differently because we are the children of a holy Father. Keep this thought in the forefront of your mind today – I am a child of a holy God and He wants me to be just like Him.

Obedience Is Hard

We’re pretty rebellious as people, aren’t we? We want to do what we want to do and when we want to do it. It seems like we have less and less use for authority. We don’t like to submit and we don’t like to obey. We want to do things our way. Obedience is hard. The apostle Peter tells Christians that it isn’t optional. 1 Peter 1:14 (NLT) says:

So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.

Because Jesus is coming again, we need to live as obedient children. That means doing away with the old ways of living. The habits, addictions, sins and struggles of our past need to be left behind. Pride, lust, losing our tempers in a rage, stealing and living without integrity, sexual immorality and every other sin imaginable are not appropriate for God’s children. As we grow and mature in faith, it means letting go of those old ways of living. It means that we need to obey our Heavenly Father because He is God. As His children, we are called to a life of obedience and holiness. It’s not easy and we still mess up. God is still good and His grace still covers our sins. Let’s take it one day at a time. Let’s start today and focus on obeying our Father in Heaven and being a little less rebellious. We’ll work on tomorrow tomorrow.


Falling Away

One of the issues that Christians fight about is whether or not one can lose one’s salvation. Are we “once saved, always saved”? Or can we fall from grace? It’s a very touchy and complicated issue. Peter warned his readers that by listening to false teachers who were encouraging unholy lives that they could “fall from” their “secure position.” Peter wrote:

Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. – 2 Peter 3:17 (NIV)

There were false teachers who were teaching unholy living. A holy God expects holiness from His people and lives that are different from the world around us. I believe that Peter is saying that when we persist in unholiness that we are in danger of jumping out of His hand. When we willfully live lives marked by disobedience and sin without care for what our salvation cost Jesus, we are in danger of falling away. God will never dump you, but be careful that you don’t fall away from Him by following the lies of false teachers.

Our Motivation

Motivation is so important in the life of a follower of Jesus. Some motivations are better than others. Why do we live the way that we live? Do we obey God out of respect and reverence? Do we live for Jesus out of fear and terror? Do we live for Jesus because He loves us and we love Him? Peter wrote:

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. – 2 Peter 3:14 (NIV)

Since we are looking forward to the day of Christ’s return, we should live differently. We need to be spotless or pure and holy. We need to be blameless, which is free from accusation. We need to be at peace with Him, which means that we need to be reconciled to Him by grace through faith. Our motivation is knowing that Jesus has saved us and is returning to take us home. This is something we who follow Him are looking forward to. Jesus loves us and will take us to be with Him forever. Until that day, let us live with the expectation of Heaven in our hearts.

How Should We Live?

Peter, in talking about the return of Christ and the Day of the Lord, asks a very important question. He wants us to think about how we live our lives. Knowing that Judgment Day is coming, how should we live? He wrote:

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. ​- 2 Peter 3:11-12 (NIV)​

He says that we should live holy and godly lives. Since we don’t know when Jesus will return, we should live every single day in the expectation of this glorious event. We need to be ready for Him to come back at any given moment. That means living lives that resemble Jesus’ life. We should live lives of holiness, which means pure, and godly and that means marked by godliness or striving to look like God. This will not only please God, but will also present a consistent witness to a world of doubters who may yet believe in Christ.

Remembering What Jesus Said

Peter says that he wrote two letters, but for the same purpose. He wrote:

Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. – 2 Peter 3:1-2 (NIV)

First, Peter wrote to stimulate wholesome thinking. This has to do with pure and uncontaminated thinking. The false teachers of his day were polluting the minds of those to whom Peter was writing. Second, Peter wrote to bring to mind the words of the past. He was reminding them of what the Old Testament prophets had written and what Jesus had commanded, too. What was Jesus’ command? There are many possibilities as to the command Peter had in mind. It could be to love one another. It could be to believe in Him. It could be to live lives of holiness as the day of His return approaches. In any case, as we look ahead, we’ll see that Peter’s emphasis is on obeying God as the day of the Lord draws near.

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