A Call to Holy Living
Open Your Bible
1 Peter 1:13-25, Isaiah 53:7-9, Ephesians 1:3-10
BY Erin Davis
The list of things I know for certain is short, but I know this: I am not holy.
I hear Peter’s charge to “be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15) as he echoes the Lord’s words to “be holy, because I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44), and I feel the gravitational pull of defeat. Because it doesn’t seem to matter how much I want to be holy. (And trust me—I really, really want to be holy). There aren’t twelve steps I can take to become holy. There aren’t bootstraps big enough to pull me up toward the perfection of God. There’s no self-help guide to blamelessness. If personal holiness is up to me, it begins to feel like an impossible equation.
There are times when I get fed up with chronically missing the mark. I want to be holy because God is holy, but instead find myself broken because the world is broken. I was having one of these fed-up moments while driving down the highway recently. In my frustration I cried out to the Lord, praying, “How long, Lord, until I become like you?!”
This phrase came to mind; “In a moment.”
For a nanosecond I worried I was about to hit a semi head on, because I know I will not fully become like Christ this side of heaven. But no collision came. My heart was simply recalling the gospel hope I cling to. Scripture tells us that when Christ returns, we will be changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” (1 Corinthians 15:52).
Peter isn’t tasking us with a moral standard our broken selves can never attain. He’s preaching the gospel. We can’t hear it too often. He reminds us of what’s truest about us as Christ-followers:
For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your fathers,
not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ,
like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb (1 Peter 1:18–19).
Yes, I am broken as my parents were broken.
My children are broken, as I am broken.
You are broken, as all people are broken.
But that is not our story, and it’s not our identity.
Our brokenness and Christ’s holiness are two sides of the same gospel coin. And so we need to stop staring at our failed attempts at holiness. We need to flip the coin over, and instead gaze with wonder anew at the gospel of grace. Again, we cannot do it too often.
My power over sin rests not in me, but in the one who burst forth from the grave (v.21), the “holy, holy, holy” One (Revelation 4:8). I am holy, because Christ is holy, and I am hidden in Him (Colossians 3:3). Yes, my flesh is broken. But praise be to God, “All flesh is like grass and its glory like the flower of grass” (1 Peter 1:24).
But the holiness of God is mine forever.