Holiness is a strange word for us today. We get visions of being “holier than thou” or risk presenting ourselves as “perfect.” I get a mental picture of a church lady type with a bun on her head, a long skirt, black plain shoes, a big Bible, and her husband wearing a white, short sleeved button up shirt. Just know, I would not pick this word if I didn’t have to. I am rough around the edges, to say the least. But holiness is what we are called to as a people. Peter makes sure that we understand this point: it is “as a people” that we are called to holiness and not “as a person.”
So what makes us a holy people?
1. Holy in our View of Grace
Peter talks about “girding up the loins of our mind” in 1 Peter 1:13. He knows that what he is about to say requires us to be ready to grasp. He launches out with a radical perspective on grace. Grace is not just what happened, it is not only what is happening, but it also includes what will happen. We will experience grace without measure when Jesus is revealed to us. We are looking forward to this revelation that is grace. We know that we will never be truly whole without it. So, we give others grace for being a bit of a work as well.
2. Holy in our view of Obedience
We are children of a holy God. He is our dad. My earthly dad was a broken dude. He was messed up. He was missing for much of my life and pretty brutal when he was present. He made a lot of mistakes and I never wanted to repeat them. But, when someone would tell me that I was “like my dad” I was proud. I wanted to be like my dad in the good ways. Peter reminds us that we are becoming “like our dad.” Some people might even recognize it if we are obedient to how he behaves.
3. Holy in our view of Redemption
We have a good dad. He is right. He does right things. He can recognize right from wrong. Always. And he will not lie. Never. So when he sees wrong being done, he will call it out. He will judge it. But our dad also provides a way to be forgiven, pardoned, redeemed. He wants to rescue us from this world of wrong junk and embrace us in a world that it right, fair, and just. He wants to be our standard, our measure. We are tempted to judge other things by what culture teaches us. We even try to judge God by what “feels right” according to our culture.
4. Holy in our view of Faith
Our faith is really just our trusting Jesus. When our culture and the words of God collide; we trust Jesus. When our own experience and the words of God conflict; we trust Jesus. When our emotions and the words of God contradict one another; we trust Jesus. We trust a God that was in existence before this world was formed. He became part of this world and understands it. He gave his life to bring it into relationship with himself. We trust him with our lives. We trust that he loves us and has a better vision for our lives than we do.
5. Holy in our view of Love
Peter writes that a holy community will result in love for one another. The outcome of grace, obedience, redemption, and faith is a love for each other like brother and sister. We become a new family. One that seeks to be like our dad. We welcome and care for those that are a part of this family with personal sacrifice and suffering if need be. We do this because that is what pure love does. It is what pure love did for us.
I wonder what we would think of the word “holy” if this were our experience.
If “holy” were humble.
If “holy” were welcoming of all, especially the stranger.
If “holy” just felt like love.
That is our dad’s kind of holy.