A Call to Holiness: 2017 Study of 1 Peter #6
This is an exposition of 1 Peter 2:11-23. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, May 21, 2017.
What image comes to your mind when you hear the term holiness? Is it the image of a lady in a long skirt or dress with her hair in a bun? Maybe it is the image of a worship trict and serious. Some think if you are holy you need to look like you’ve been baptised in pickle juice. Some think of holiness as a synonym for nasty or cranky!
Holiness is not a “hot” topic in today’s church. We talk a great deal about being “spiritual” but not holy. Holiness just doesn’t meet any “felt needs.” The average person in today’s world does not sense an overwhelming need to be holy. Sin, in the minds of most, either does not exist or is nothing to be worried about. “People are basically good, most are trying to do what is right – so don’t hit them with this holiness stuff – just love them and stay positive,” seems the attitude of most churches. That sounds wonderful but what do you do with Leviticus 11:4 – “I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy for I am holy?”
Oh, that’s right. That’s Old Testament stuff. We are New Testament believers. But then what about 1 Peter 1:14-16 – “As obedient children, do not be conformed t 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?’”
Romans 6:12 – “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”
Romans 6:14 – “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 – “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor…”
It seems holiness is consistently God’s message to his people in both Testaments. If it is so prevalent – why the silence?
Jerry Bridges suggests two reasons:
One, we don’t want to face up to the responsibility. If we talk about holiness then I have to own up the fact that I am accountable to someone else for my lifestyle. I have to take responsibility for my life and my choices. I would have to accept that someone else sets the standard – most are not willing to concede that point.
Second, we are confused about the distinction between God’s provision for us and our responsibility for holiness. I’m saved by grace alone, through faith alone because of Christ alone. Yet holiness is a life-long pursuit and struggle.
Try as we might, we cannot ignore the fact that we are called to a life of holiness. But what does that mean and what does it look like? That is the focus of our text this evening found in 1 Thessalonians 2 of Peter’s first epistle.
Text: 1 Peter 2:11-23
Peter is writing to struggling believers.
Trying to live out their faith in a hostile environment.
At the beginning of the letter he reminded them they were aliens and strangers.
As such, their identity and worth comes from Christ.
He then reminded them of the glory of the Gospel.
In the first part of chapter two he lays out a biblical doctrine of the church.
Now, following his doctrinal teaching, Peter says, “So what?”
What does all this mean?
Thesis: As the people of God we are called to a life of radical holiness.
The point is holiness is both a private and a public matter!
What does this holiness look like?
Peter calls the church to live with a heart focused on Christ, behavior focused on love and obedience, and a lifestyle impeccable in the sight of non-Christians.
- Biblical holiness willingly submits to authority. (2:13-15)
- Biblical holiness plays by a different set of rules. (2:16-20)
- Biblical holiness consistently reflects the life of the Lord Jesus. (2:21-23)
We have been called to a life of radical holiness.
That holiness is both private and public.
We abstain from the passions of the flesh – both privately and publicly.
And we consistently live above reproach before an unbelieving world.
- Willingly submitting to authority
- Playing by a different set of rules
- Reflecting the life of the Lord Jesus