Be holy in all your conduct

This is a command of God. "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' " (1 Peter 1:15,16).

What does it mean to be holy and how is this possible?

The word 'holy' can mean: (1) set apart to the service of God, sacred; (2) spiritually pure, godly; (3) completely good, pure and righteous and therefore commanding absolute adoration and reverence.

God is the standard of holiness. Only He is completely good, pure and righteous. Only He is worthy of worship.

When 'holy' relates to people in Scripture, it means that they are dedicated to God, and that they participate to a certain extent in the characteristics of God, that they are spiritually pure and godly.

What a challenge, that God calls us to be holy! God created us in His own image. We ought to resemble Him.

Apostate churches often make a distinction between what they call 'clergy' and 'laity', a distinction not found in the Bible. The clergy (the ecclesiastical leaders) are presumed to be holy, but not much is expected of the laity (the common people).

According to the word of God, all Christians are to be holy. "You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5). "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9). Christians are a holy priesthood, a holy nation.

But there is a problem. Something unclean cannot be holy. Since we all have sinned, how can we be holy?

This is only possible with the help of God. We can be holy only if God cleanses us and makes us holy. This is called sanctification.

God wants to sanctify us. He is the only one who can do it. But we must co-operate. We must experience our sanctification, which includes avoiding evil and doing good, with God's help, of course.

"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness" (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7).

We can be sanctified only by the blood of Christ: "For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:13,14). By the will of God "we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10).

The blood of Christ cleanses our conscience. Our sins are wiped out. We are sanctified. We are made holy. Thus purified, we may serve the living God.

Christ sanctifies His church so she can be His pure bride: "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:25-27).

This occurs when our sins are washed away at baptism (Acts 22:16). Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom, of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

This also means that after our cleansing we may not continue in such practices. We must dedicate our lives to God in holiness. "But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:20-24).

We are sanctified by the truth through the word of God. Jesus prayed for His followers: "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17). Paul told the Ephesian elders: "And now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified" (Acts 20:32).

Through the knowledge of Christ, God provides us with all we need: "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:2-4).

"Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 7:1).

"Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it" (1 Thessalonians 5:23,24). Amen.

Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.

Published in The Old Paths Archive