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.”

1 Peter 1:13-16

Being holy is the bedrock of living a grace-filled life. I think most people think of “holiness” from simply a moral, purity component. That certainly is not wrong but it might be insufficient. If you notice verse 14-16 is that holiness is a key element in “not conforming to the passions of our former life in ignorance.” Purity is a reflection and evidence that one is living a holy life. Negatively stated, being holy means that I will not be moved to live according to the passions of the flesh. Positively, holiness deals with a mindset and obedience. Holiness embraces God’s grace so that I surrender to doing things God’s way. I am not trying to impress God with short-cuts, personal innovation, or trying to show God that we have a way He hasn’t thought about that gains me points in God’s redemptive plan; I can show God how valuable I can be in his kingdom work.


Holiness is a mindset. The “therefore” flows out of the previous context speaking about our salvation (v. 10). The basis for living a holy life is that God has redeemed us from this mode of existence where we are, for all intents and purposes, anchored to a life driven by our own impulses and the passions of the flesh. We may not have known any differently so we thought that was normal. Whatever works for you is great; whatever works for me is fine with me. The problem of course is everything becomes relative and always changing and flesh always wins. But here Peter says very clearly, “prepare your minds for action” which means that the Christian life is the furthest thing from a mindless crutch to keep us stable. “Set your hope (funny that comes up right after last Sunday’s message on hope) fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Christ Jesus. The basic and foremost idea of “holy” is to be set apart, chosen for a specific purpose. It is like being picked by a coach for a baseball team. The coach chooses those who will be baseball players. God says I am choosing you to be holy; to be set apart as those who are related to the One who is holy and He is calling us to live a whole mode of existence with the mindset that we are on God’s team and we need to be holy.


Holiness is about obedience. One of the key differences is that we are no longer to operate (make choices) based on the impulses of how we feel. We are to make decisions based on faith – we exchange our former beliefs to embrace those truths God wants us to embrace. We adopt God’s values and abandon values we have built through our own experiences (good or bad). We realign our priorities to align with God’s values. That is our obedience – we live lives that are holy, set apart for God’s pleasure. That means we need to learn how to do things the way God wants them done, not how we think things work. The faith part is learning to trust that God knows better than we do and so we will operate according to His desire not our flesh.


Being holy results in living holy. If we don’t get the “being like God” as a new mode of existence FIRST, then we will never figure out what being holy looks like in our behavior. Again, and I apologize for the redundancy, this is not about being perfectly pure and sinless. It is about seeing that God has chosen me to be part of his family and learning that I belong to a new family and need to learn to reflect the family name and values is our whole way of life. Holiness is not (just) about avoiding bad stuff. It is living in a way that honors our Father. For example, being holy is about accepting and embracing God’s love. We only learn to love others because he first loved us. But if you refuse to accept God’s love (being holy) then you will have a terrible time loving others the way God loves them (living holy). I need to learn to operate the way God operates even if everything in my flesh pushes against it. That is living by faith not my feelings; that is being holy because God is holy.


Pastor Brad Little