Holiness, Part 1

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.” (1Pe 1:13-16 ESV)

This is a verse on our charge to be holy. We are called to be holy in all our actions. But what does that mean? The simplest definition of being holy is “Dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred. “i

The emphasis of the definition is on God, dedicated to God. As opposed to what, you may ask. As opposed to self, others, things, idols, etc. A phrase often used is “set apart”. Something that is holy is something that is set apart for God’s purposes.

Holiness is a fundamental part of being a Christian. It’s basic to Christianity. Holy in the Greek is the word hagios, and it is a major topic in the bible. It is found 665 times in the English standard version of the Bible. Again, holy means to set apart, dedicated to God’s purposes.

We are charged with being holy. The above verse compares a person living according to the passions of their former life, i.e., before they were Christian, with afterward. So the point is that we’re not supposed to live according to our old passions, but we are supposed to live in obedience to the Lord in our conduct.

So, what we have is a comparison, a before and after. That comparison is right at what the definition of the word holy tells us.

Now, before we go deeper, doesn’t that sound like works? After all, we have heard that we are saved by grace, not by works. Yes, that is true. We are not saved by our works. We are saved by grace:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(Eph 2:8-9 ESV)

But we are called to good works as the next verse after the above verses declare:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10 ESV)

Our works can never save us, but the life of the believer is doing the works that the Lord has prepared for us.

Doing works that God has set apart for us to do is how we are holy in the conduct of our daily lives.

That is a simple look at holiness. We are going to look at it in more detail in part two on this topic.


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