Ezekiel 45:13-46:3; 1 Peter 1:13-35; Psalms 119:17-24; Proverbs 25:16
NT: “Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. If you appeal to the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in reverence during your time living as strangers. For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for you. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Since you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth, so that you show sincere brotherly love for each other, from a pure heart love one another constantly, because you have been born again — not of perishable seed but of imperishable — through the living and enduring word of God.” (1 Peter 1:13-23 CSB)
Earlier in this chapter, Peter wrote to the persecuted and suffering Christians in Asia Minor about the living hope that they had in Jesus Christ. That living hope was the joy set before them that would enable them to not only endure the present pain and suffering of their trials, but to experience inexpressible joy in the midst of their suffering. In this last section of chapter one, Peter wrote that not only should the living hope of Christ bring you joy, but it should also compel you to live your lives differently.
All who are in Christ by faith have been redeemed from their former empty ways of living. The redemption price was not paid with perishable money, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Before the foundations of the world were set in place, God, by His foreknowledge, knew that the blood of His Son would be needed to redeem mankind from sin. When the time was right, the Lamb of God was provided – and we now get to walk in and benefit from all that Christ has accomplished. All who are in Christ by faith died to their former lives of sin and have been born again by the work of the Holy Spirit through the living, enduring, and powerful word of God which is the gospel.
Because we have been redeemed from our former ways… because we have died to sin and have been made alive in Christ… because we have been adopted into the family of God and made citizens of a heavenly kingdom, we should conduct our lives differently. We should be holy, just as God is holy. Holy means consecrated, set apart and different from the rest of the culture. A holy person is not an odd or weird person – but a peculiarly and compellingly different person that does not live according to the ways of the world, but the ways of God. The sure and living hope of our eternal destiny should compel us to be holy while on earth. When a couple becomes engaged, their entire way of life changes. Instead of living for themselves, the couple orders their life around that day when they become married. Their plans change, the ways they spend their money changes, the way they look at life changes… everything changes because their future has a new destination. The same should be true of us. Everything about how we live and conduct our lives should be informed by that future day when we are united with our heavenly Bridegroom to live forever with Him in the place that He has prepared for us. No longer should we be living for us, but living to honor and glorify God and our Lord, Jesus Christ.
How do we live holy lives? We do so by being obedient children. Instead of obeying our desires, we obey the word, will, and ways of God by the grace that has been brought to us through our faith in the now glorified Jesus Christ. Through our faith-filled and grace-enabled obedience to the truth, we are purified and made holy. As we live holy lives, even though we will go through various trials and sufferings, we will bring glory to God and lead other to Christ through our peculiar and compelling holy conduct.
Psalms: “Deal generously with your servant so that I might live; then I will keep your word. Open my eyes so that I may contemplate wondrous things from your instruction. I am a resident alien on earth; do not hide your commands from me. I am continually overcome with longing for your judgments. You rebuke the arrogant, the ones under a curse, who wander from your commands. Take insult and contempt away from me, for I have kept your decrees. Though princes sit together speaking against me, your servant will think about your statutes; your decrees are my delight and my counselors.” (Psalms 119:17-24 CSB)
The writer of Psalm 119 knew that his dedication to and love for the law of God set him apart from those around him. He felt like an alien – not just in his community or nation, but in the earth. Because he longed to live by the commands and judgements of the world, he was different from everyone else, drawing insults and contempt from those around him. When we choose to live a holy life according to the word, will, and ways of God, those who are opposed to the ways of God will be opposed to us as well. But as we keep our eyes on the faithfulness of God and the hope He gives us, and stay true to His word, will, and ways; God will deal generously with us, rebuke those who rebuke us, and take the insults and contempt away.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for redeeming me from my past empty and sinful life and providing a way for me to be born again by the work of Your Holy Spirit and the power of Your word. Help me now, to live according to the new life that I have and the life that I will live with You for eternity. Grace me to walk in holiness as I look to You, follow You, and obey Your word, will and ways. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.