Sunday 14 February
Called to be HOLY
1 Peter chapter 1 verses 10-16
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Last week we began to investigate the 1st letter of Peter, named after the fisherman who is attributed with the writing of it. Yes, once a fisherman, always a fisher of men, called to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and after serving as an apprentice who had both spectacularly good and bad moments, went on to become:
We learned that his life was transformed through salvation and what that means. But it is worth saying again that it is the Holy Spirit that makes our belief in God much more than just a belief.
The theme of salvation continues into our verses for today. Verse 10 aims to magnify our understanding and perception of this salvation.
The prophets searched intently but also penned scripture that they could not fully understand concerning this salvation. We are at an advantage since the process and blessings of it are much more attainable and comprehendible now. It has been long in the plans of God filtering out until the right moments in history. Of course, even more significant is that salvation leads us on into eternity too.
The prophets were inspired by the same Holy Spirit that was in them verse 11, and which through salvation is in all true believers, no matter what sufferings they experience in life. Just as Christ’s sufferings were predicted, the glory of His death, resurrection and ascension were also being explained right up to the actual events and beyond. Indeed, one of the wonders of the living faith is that our predecessors did things for us to help us. Therefore, in turn we should be doing things for the spiritual wellbeing of future generations too.
It is a real blessing to lead someone to Christ, but people did all kinds of things to help each individual to become a Christian and grow in their faith. Many of those who played a part will not know the full extent of the part they played, but it counts as treasure in heaven. Notice too that preaching by the Holy Spirit is noted as having significance, verse 12. True preaching is not a lecture or simply teaching. Instead, it is true to God’s word, not selectively, but wholly, and it is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Its purpose is to teach, correct, reprove and instruct in righteousness, in order that Christians may become complete, and thoroughly equipped for service in God’s Kingdom. 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 16 and 17 states that instructing us in righteousness is designed to enable us to become holy, godly people. Preaching is utilised by God to bring about salvation for those who believe and have faith in God’s word/Word (1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 21) With this foundational wisdom now laid, an important theme of holiness is now explored in verse 13. Salvation is designed to lead to holy living.
The benefits of holiness are phenomenal, but we need to engage in the process. Our minds need preparation, our choices need to learn self-controlled, or dare I say we listen to the Spirit in our conscience, and we need to focus fully on the gift of grace that we have been given. We can deduct from these verses that it is possible not to engage fully. Let us remember too that the helmet of salvation covers our minds (Ephesians chapter 6 verse 17) but if we are metaphorically not wearing it, our minds can be busy with lesser, debased thoughts.
It seems totally in order that we ask ourselves and God where we are personally in this process. What things do we want to retain or do that are clearly bad for us? Are we willing to change and fully focus?
Peter is positive and encouraging though as he delights to urge us to set your hope fully, not partly, as it requires a deliberate action promising glorious rewards. Remember our witness is designed for, and our call is to go and make disciples. Just as we are saved, we delight to help the lost find their purpose and saviour. Our witness becomes less effective if we are hypocrites, but becomes powerful when we are led by the Spirit and living holy lives. Let’s remember Jesus said, 'If you love me, you will keep my commandments' (John 14:15)
George Philips wrote concerning this “But in subjection to Christ, having been born anew by His Spirit (1 Peter chapter 1 verse 23) and being guided now by the objective standards of God's own law rather than by the changing whims of our subjective experience, we head for life. Don't ever sell the healthy life of God for the sickly 'pleasures of sin for a season' Moses got it right as (Hebrews chapter 11 verses 24-27) asserts.
Let’s further see in verses 15 and 16 that God’s standards are the highest but not impossible for us. We are to be perfect like our Father (Matthew chapter 5 verse 48)
God intends for us to be holy like Him. Since the Spirit of God dwells in our hearts and we have been made partakers of His divine nature, 2 Peter chapter 1 verse 4 tells us, “by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world”
I hope I am wrong, but I suspect that many people hear the call to be holy and don’t believe they can attain it – so give themselves excuses. It seems impossible – and we are human after all. I do hope however, that we are encouraged not to rely on our own understand or strength, but on God’s.
Salvation is no small matter, and by it we are journeying towards the very holy nature of our God. That journey is designed for us to grow more holy on route too. Let us aim high and grow more holy. Will being called to be holy be something that we work on for the rest of our lives? I do hope so. Will you pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ to become more holy too? With the Spirit’s help and guidance, and our will submitted to our God, we will attain it we hope in the God who gives us salvation by grace; the God who aids us in our spiritual growth; The God who calls us to be holy because He is holy.