Be Holy for I am Holy. Or else.

For it is written: “Be holy, for I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:16

Often we’re taught we should ‘be holy’.

God is holy, so we should be holy.

But this is impossible. No one can be as holy as God.

That was The Law.

So, what does ‘holy’ mean?

We are sometimes taught that the Hebrew word for holy – quadosh – means ‘set apart’.

But set apart from what ?

The Bible Hub website says ‘holy’ means to be set apart from human impurity.

Set apart from sin.

Amen!

But who sets us apart?

Check this out in Hebrews:

We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, once for all.

– Hebrews 10:10

It is Christ who has made us holy. Christ who has set us apart from sin.

So, what does Peter mean by “Be Holy for I am Holy.”

Is it possible for us to ‘be holy’ by demand ?

If not, why demand it of us?

Isn’t he quoting a law that was impossible to keep?

And wasn’t The Law only given to show us how much we need Christ?

Here’s something we don’t hear in church often:

Be Holy for I am Holy is NOT a command – it’s a promise!

Check out this translation from the Greek:

Holy you will be, for Holy I am.

Holy you will be, for holy I am.

That’s completely different from “Be Holy, for I am Holy.”

It’s not a command, but a promise!

And we are children of promise!

Here’s something interesting. Remember when God said to Moses:

Go and tell the Israelites I AM has sent me to you.

Exodus 3:14

Remember this verse? When Moses asks God His name and God replies: “I am who I am.”

Well, the Greek translation of God’s name I am is

ego eimi

Now, check this out: when Jesus says his seven I am statements:

I am the bread of life.

I am The Good Shepherd.

I am the Gate for the sheep.

I am the Light of the World.

I am The Way the Truth and the Life.

I am the True Vine

and

I am the Resurrection and The Life

– his words I am are translated in the Greek as ego eimi.

The name of God!

‘I AM has sent me to you.’

I am.

Like when Jesus says:

Before Abraham was, I am.

– John 8:58

The Hebrew words are –

Ehyeh asher ehyeh

– which literally translates as:

I Will Be Who I Will Be.

And just as

I am who I am

can be translated

I will be who I will be

so –

Be holy as I am holy

can be translated as

Holy you will be because holy I am.

So you see God isn’t commanding us to be holy.

He is telling us we will be holy because He is.

And God doesn’t mean we will be holy at some random point in the future.

The tense of the verb gives a sense of now and forever.

We are holy now and we will forever be holy.

Our holiness is ongoing – now and forever.

Amen!

Paul also teaches us that –

Christ Jesus is…our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

– 1 Cor 1:30

So, to sum up, Hebrews teaches us that Christ has made us holy.

Peter teaches us that we will forever be holy because God is.

And Paul teaches us that Christ is our holiness.

Being holy has nothing to do with our own effort to overcome sin.

We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all.

– Hebrews 10:10

Christ did it all.

It is finished!

So what does Peter mean when he tells us:

Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.

1 Peter 1:15

Peter’s reminding us to behave in a way that reflects who we already are.

Just as Paul said:

Let us live up to what we have already attained.

– Philippians 3:16

Christ made us holy by His sacrifice.

Christ redeemed us.

Christ paid the price.

Christ took our punishment.

Christ served our sentence.

Christ did everything for us.

“Worthy is the Lamb. Not worthy is the Lamb and me!”

(Thanks Joseph Prince for that one!)

To conclude, then, it is Christ who has made us holy.

Holy you will be for holy I am.

We could never be as holy as God so He made us holy.

What a God!

This is the amazing wonder of grace.

So, finally, Peter isn’t commanding us to be holy.

We have already attained holiness in Christ.

Check out this verse from Paul:

But The God of peace shall make all of you perfectly holy.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Who makes us holy?

God does.

Through Christ.

Because He loves us.

He loved us in the past.

He loves us now.

And He will always love us… continuous, ongoing, now and forever.

For –

God is Love

Amen!

Related posts:

Be Holy, Hyper Grace StyleHis Grace is Enough – Simon Yap 

If We’re Holy, Why Does God Call Us To Be Holy? Escape to Reality – Paul Ellis

What Does God Mean When He Asks Us To Be Holy? Christianity Today – Joel Scandrett

Steve Edwards

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Sunday Sermon: Is sin a crime or a sickness?

Been thinking a lot about a question Chloe Dudley posted on Twitter about whether sin was a crime deserving to be punished or a sickness to be healed.

Isaiah 53 says:

He was crushed for our sins.

He was pierced for our iniquities.

The punishment that brought our peace was upon Him

And by His wounds we are healed.

When I received my amazing revelation of grace last year Jesus told me that sin was a sickness and He was the Great Physician – The Healer. In fact, one of God’s names in the Old Testament in Hebrew is ‘Rapha’ – The Lord who Heals. 

However, in The Cross of Christ John Stott argues that the full force of God’s anger burned against our sin in Christ, which suggests punishment.

Jeremiah prophecies:

The LORD has given full vent to His wrath.

He has poured out His fierce anger.

Jesus has a prayer battle with his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane about drinking ‘the cup’:

Father, if it’s possible, please take this cup from me.

Isaiah 51:22 tells us what this ‘cup’ is:

From that cup, the goblet of my fury, you will never drink again.

See how Isaiah reassures The Christ? He will never have to drink it again. His sacrifice, as Hebrews says, will be once for all. 

As we know Christ’s cruxifixion fulfilled the Passover. He was our passover lamb sacrificed for us. The Last Supper was a passover meal.

At the meal four ‘cups’ of wine are drunk, each pointing to Christ and His finished work on the cross.

You can read a detailed study on Mike Ratliff’s blog.

However, here’s a brief explanation of the 4 cups and how they point to Christ and The Cross:

The first cup to drink at a Passover feast is The Cup of Freedom (Christ sets us free at The Cross.)

The second cup drunk is The Cup of Judgement (God judged our sin at The Cross).

The third cup drunk (I’d be drunk by now) is The Cup of Redemption (Christ redeemed us at The Cross).

The  fourth cup is The Cup of Restoration (Christ restores us (heals us) at The Cross).

Amazing, huh?

The Jewish people have been celebrating Christ for years in their passover celebrations!

It doesn’t stop there. Get this:

It was at the the third cup – The Cup of Redemption – that Jesus stopped, lifted the cup, and said to His disciples:

Take, drink, all of you. This is my blood of the New Covenant, shed to give the forgiveness of sins.

How amazing is that?!

It was the Cup of Redemption! This is why Christ’s blood is called ‘redeeming.’

Two definitions of the verb ‘redeem’ are:

1. to compensate for the bad aspects of someone.

2. to clear by payment.

We could say that Jesus did both. He compensated for our bad aspect by giving us His righteousness.

He also paid for our sin. He was punished for our crime.

So, I think to answer Chloe’s question we can look to the 4 cups.

At The Cross we were set free, judged righteous, our debt was paid (He was punished for us) and we were restored (divinely healed).

Isaiah, it seems, agrees:

The punishment that brought our peace was on Him.

AND

By His stripes we are healed.

Phew!

Deep question.

Thanks for asking it, Chloe.

So…what do you think? Is sin a crime or a sickness? Or both?

Grace be with you.

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