The Exhorter

Living to be Like Him — Perfecting Holiness in Our Lives

Toward the end of his life, the apostle Peter, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, wrote these words,“but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” (I Peter 1:15,16).

Can we actually be holy? Why is it that we feel holiness is unattainable? How could Peter make such a plea? Look at Peter’s life – he was rebuked by Jesus after confessing Him to be the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16:13-23); he denied the Lord three times after saying he would die for Him (Matt 26:33-35, 69-75); and sinned concerning his treatment of the Gentiles when the Jewish leaders came around (Galatians 2:1-10).

Maybe the problem comes from our misunderstanding of holiness. We often consider it to be perfection in our actions, and that perfection to us seems impossible. Holiness means purity,  being blameless, set apart for God’s use, or sanctification (I Cor 6:11;

II Thess 2:13-17). This definition does not indicate living perfectly, but rather it describes living a life dedicated to God.

Our character and attitude are in view. Paul expressed it this way, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Corinthians 7:1). It is a Spirit guided process we endeavor to follow that brings about holiness in our lives.

Holiness is attainable. This is why Peter in all of his sins and failures could call us to be holy, as God is holy. It is a choice. I’m a vessel for God’s exclusive use, or I allow myself to be the devil’s tool. We are not created to be useless and worthless. We have been created in Christ Jesus to be God’s workmanship — people allowing themselves to be molded into holy servants of Christ (Eph 2:10).

It is our desire to glorify the God of heaven in every aspect of our lives. We are to “put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph 4:24). So, “pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14).