1 Peter 3:15-16: Be holy


The Verse of the Day for January 10, 2014 comes from 1 Peter 1:15-16:

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (King James Version)

Exactly what does it mean to be holy? To be holy is to be separated, set apart, sanctified, and dedicated to the glory of God.  In the Old Testament the animals that were to be sacrificed and the vessels that were to be used were separated and set apart for the service of God in the Temple. In a similar manner, as believers we separate ourselves and make a commitment to be holy in our conduct and manner of living, in everything we do. We are to live our lives in holiness that we might be pleasing unto God who commands that we be holy.

Paul speaks of the believer’s former position prior to Christ in light of how one should conduct oneself after accepting Christ as savior:

Romans 6:19

Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy (New Living Translation).

A similar exhortation is found in 2 Corinthians 7:1:

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we endeavor to follow the way of wisdom and pursue the path of holiness. We seek to please God, and God is pleased when we strive to live in holiness, separating ourselves from evil, from the uncleanliness that infects the world. We are reminded of our desire to be vessels that are set apart for the glory of God.

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work (2 Timothy 2:20-21).

The New Living Translation expresses the ultimate desire of God, the Father, that believers by their freedom of will choose to become a “living and holy sacrifice” unto God:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you,which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)

Romans 12:2 brings to mind the process of metamorphosis that butterflies and other organisms undergo, reminding us of a similar spiritual process called “renewing the mind.” Christians are instructed not to be conformed but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:2). The New Testament phrase is translated from the Greek word metamorphoo, from which the English word metamorphosis is derived. The phrase is also used to express that as believers strive to manifest more of Christ in their lives, they are also “changed” into the same image

Butterflies as they undergo metamorphosis are transformed from egg to larva or caterpillar to chrysalis (cocoon) to butterfly (adult). Christian believers also continually undergo a similar spiritual transformation as they mature in Christ. All of this can be viewed as a conscious effort to be holy, as the Verse of the Day commands us.

An old familiar hymn reminds us of the commitment that it takes to live in holiness: we must “Take Time to be Holy”:

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