1 Peter 1:14,15 – As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written: “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

There are certain words that set off preconceived ideas, especially in the Christian world. One of those words is holiness. In my early days of my Christian experience this word would set off arguments and debates among Christians. One group of people were determined holiness had to do with a certain type of clothes and physical appearance. Others would throw out holiness altogether and their dress and physical appearance was no different from the lost people in the world. Still others would talk about modesty and presenting yourself in a more modest way embracing the culture and style of the day. This argument has no winners. My view is that holiness is the work of Christ in our hearts. We are won over by His mercy and grace and transformed by His Spirit so that we want to be holy as He is holy. Here is how Brian Simmons describes this in his comments on today’s verses.

“Everything about God is holy. True holiness includes justice, mercy, truth, and righteousness. To be holy is to be absolutely devoted to God in all that we do, demonstrating who he is to the world. Holiness surrounds God’s throne and we are seated with him in heavenly places. The Hebraic concept of holiness is “set apart”; that is, we are a people set apart for God, even as God is “set apart” from all gods. Grace has imbedded holiness into our lives, yet we are to make right choices and to yield to Christ and God’s Word as the Holy Spirit lives in us. Holiness is not merely actions we perform, but what we absorb and manifest as we live our lives in God’s presence. Christ is our holiness.”

I like that, we are set apart by the Holy Spirit and holiness has been “imbedded” into our lives. We are different by nature than what we used to be. Our new nature is holy. The way we live and present ourselves is radically changed by this new nature that is now indwelling us. Holiness is not a yoke of bondage but a display of God’s grace and purity shown in our lives.

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