I Peter 1:14-19
1) We have a Father who is holy
Children obey their parents; Christians therefore ought to obey their heavenly Father (Malachi 1:6). Before we became Christians, we did not know that our true purpose in life was to glorify our Maker, and so we followed our own selfish desires (Ephesians 4:17-19). But now that we have responded to God’s call, it should make a profound difference to the way we live.
Holiness is distinctiveness. It means exhibiting the values and standards of Jesus and the Father rather than those of the unbelieving world around us.In every area of our lives (in our relationships and our ethics, as well as in our specifically religious behaviour) we should strive to resemble our Father in His holiness and purity (Matthew 5:48). “Be holy, because I am holy” is a principle that goes right back to the covenant that God made with Israel at Sinai (Leviticus 19:2). But whereas their holiness was based on observance of a particular set of rules, we achieve the same result by modelling ourselves on Jesus (who is the image of the Father). We can never equal Him, but we can and must imitate Him.
2) We have a Judge who is impartial
We have the great privilege of being able to address Almighty God as ‘Father’; but we dare not presume on that relationship. We must never forget that He is also our Judge, and that He will call us to account for how we have lived (II Corinthians 5:10). Now God is an utterly just and impartial Judge; He will not show any favouritism to His own people! Nor will His love for us cause Him to lower His standards of righteousness (Amos 3:2).Do we want to be ashamed in front of Him?
Of course, it is far from easy to maintain Christian standards in the hostile environment of the world. We can resist the pressure upon us to conform to the world only by remembering these eternal realities (Luke 12:4,5).
3) We have a Redeemer who is immensely precious
But our most powerful motivation for pursuing holiness is the immense cost of our redemption. ”You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies” (I Corinthians 6:19,20). God has done so much for us that the only appropriate response is deep gratitude – expressed in a holy life (Psalm 130:4). The only thing that could rescue us from countless generations of bondage to sin, idolatry and superstition was something enormously valuable and eternally durable: the death of God’s own Son (John 1:29). He paid this immense price, not so that we could carry on living in our old ways but so that we could be transformed into a holy people (Hebrews 9:13,14). To be indifferent to such a sacrifice would be to treat God’s precious gift with contempt.