Posts Tagged ‘Holiness


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.

A Stern Warning For False Teachers (And Us)

The apostle Peter warned false teachers about the consequences of turning back to worldly ways. These are believers who turned away from the world and turned to Jesus for salvation. Now, he says, they were turning their backs on the way of righteousness. Peter wrote:

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. – 2 Peter 2:20-21 (NIV)

This warning goes for all believers and not just false teachers. It can be so easy to return to old ways of living like the world. We are all easily entangled by sin and we turn our backs on holiness. Spend time with Jesus daily and reflect upon His goodness and love. Take a moment now to thank Him for saving you from the corruption of this world and from your sins. Dedicate yourself to living for the One who died for you today by taking up your cross and following Him.

Living Godly Lives In A Godless World

It can be tempting to stoop the level of those around you. We may use the excuse, “Everybody’s doing it” when it comes to sin and temptation. The world around us is a dark and seemingly Godless place. We may want to just go with the flow instead of going against the grain. Peter says that this shouldn’t be the case. It’s not what we should do. He wrote:

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. – 1 Peter 2:12 (NIV)

We who follow Jesus are called by God to a higher standard. No matter what others are doing, we need to live up to God’s standards instead of stooping to the world’s ways. We may be falsely accused or persecuted for our faith. We may be mocked and made to look like fools. It doesn’t matter what the world does. We, as followers of Jesus, have to look like Jesus. If we do this, the world will take notice of us in a good way instead of seeing us as hypocrites.

Just Like Our Father

When we think about our Heavenly Father, we think about His love and grace and mercy and forgiveness. Do we ever think about His holiness? Do we think about the fact that God is holy? God is holy, meaning that He is set apart and far from ordinary. God is so pure and holy and He wants His children to be holy, just as He is holy. Peter wrote:

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:14-16 (NIV)

Instead of sinning with little regard for what it cost Jesus, we need to be holy. Instead of looking like the world in its blatant disregard for God’s expectations, we need to be different and set apart. We need to be holy, just like our Heavenly Father is holy. While we will not attain perfect holiness, it should be our aim. Salvation is God’s gift to us. Holiness is our response.

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