Be holy as I am holy
…just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
1Peter 1:15-16 (NIV)
What does holiness look like? How do we recognise it? More important: how do we know if we have attained it?
The answer is both simple and complex at the same time. In the scripture quoted above Peter refers to Leviticus 11:44-45 which tells us that the Lord God is holy. If holiness is God’s nature, if it is at the core of his very being, the answer to our question is quite straightforward: holiness looks like God. To be holy is to be godly, to value what he values, speak as he speaks, live as he lives – in other words to reflect God’s very being.
But this is where we move from simplicity to complexity, for who can truly know what God is like? Doesn’t Philip’s statement resonate with all humanity: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” (John.14:8)
Thankfully we are not left clueless. The Father sent the Son who reveals to us who God is and what holiness looks like. Hence Jesus was able to say, “…Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father…” (John 14:9). Holiness then looks like Jesus; he reveals the ultimate example of holiness for us to see.
What do we see when we look at Jesus? Holiness is to give ourselves over completely to the Father, as he did, wherever that leads. Holiness seeks to avoid all that is sinful, destructive, limiting or self-centred – it seeks the welfare of others.
Human pursuit of holiness: the seeking by grace to become more like God, actually means seeking to become more fully human, as divinely intended. Such an understanding of humanity is at the heart of what it means for humanity to be created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26).
How is this possible? In Jesus’ reply to Philip he said, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?…it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (John.14:10). He went on to say, “…whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these…” (v.12). This is only possible because the Spirit of truth, along with the Father and the Son will be in us (v.16-17, 23).
We are only truly able to be holy because it is the holy triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – living in and through us, hence we can be holy as he is holy.
Holy Father, loving Son and Holy Spirit, as you live in us may we fulfill our destiny: to be holy as you are holy, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Study by Barry Robinson
About the writer:
Barry Robinson is a Minister in Grace Communion International and is Regional Pastor for Southern England.
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