Be Holy

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Be Holy

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: 1 Peter 1:13-16


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Tonight, we continue our study of 1 Peter.  Up to this point, we have Peter’s introductory remarks of encouragement to these brethren who were facing various trials for their faith.  He has appealed to their of Salvation which was found in Jesus Christ, ready to be revealed at the revelation of Jesus Christ (His return).  Peter even noted that this is the salvation the prophets spoke of – a salvation they were now witnessing.

With these encouraging words, Peter now challenges these brethren to holy living, which is the rest of this book.  In the next few verses we find the way we are to live holy lives because of our hope.  We begin a study of these things in this lesson.


  1. Gird up the loins of your mind –
    1. Prepare your minds – NASB. While this is the intent of Peter’s admonition, it loses the graphic emphasis.  Historically, Jews wore long flowing robes as they wandered about, but when there was a need for quick movement, they would tie up or “gird” their garments so that they could move more efficiently.
      It is this concept that Peter has in mind as he begins to encourage faithful service.
    2. The idea of this is – make up your mind. This is a foundational disposition to true devotion.
      It is in the aorist tense which is described as a “snapshot” event (Michael Heiser).  It is not so much a reference to timing as it is overall action.
      Consider this as the FIRST thing Peter says after describing their hope.
      In essence, he is saying, “Because of your hope, make up your mind (resolve) that you are going to faithfully live a holy life to God.”
    3. IF we are going to pursue a home in heaven it HAS TO begin with making up our minds to do so.
      Hebrews 12:14, Pursue peace with all people, and holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
      Colossians 3:2, set your mind on things above…
  2. Be sober
    1. First, the idea of soberness is to be free of intoxicants. One who is able to think clearly because his mind is not inhibited.  But that is not the usage of this word in the New Testament (though certainly, the NT usage would REQUIRE sobriety, and further – Christians are not be drunkards to any degree – cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8).
    2. In scripture, soberness is associated with alertness. – 1 Peter 5:8 – be sober, be vigilant…; Titus 2:12 – we are to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age.
    3. It is also associated with the idea of seriousness.
      BDAG defines the word as, “to be well, balanced, self-controlled”; Thayer defines it, “To be calm and collected in spirit, to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect.”
    4. ALL of these qualities need to govern our lives as Christians. And the word here is a present tense – meaning ongoing action.
  3. Rest your hope fully upon the grace to be brought at the revelation of Jesus Christ –
    1. We have already addressed our hope – Peter called it a living hope (1:3). It is the motivation for living as we do.
    2. Rest or “fix” (NASB) is the idea of focusing – consider Hebrews 12:2 – we are looking unto Jesus.
      Moses according to Hebrews 11:26 walked away from the riches of Egypt because, “he looked to the reward.”
      It is to be “fully” or “completely” (NASB) – meaning not half-hearted or “sort of”.
      This is a case where we need to be “all in”.  Be reminded that Jesus said, you CANNOT serve 2 masters (Matthew 6:24)
    3. What are we hoping for? The grace that is to be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ. This is another way of emphasizing our salvation, to be received when our Lord finally returns.
      Certainly, our salvation is the product of God’s grace – Ephesians 2:4-5, 8, Titus 2:11.
    4. This is about focusing on our reward. Let that be what drives us.
      Remember, this letter is written during troubling times for these Christians.  In such times it is easy to become discouraged and even hopeless.  And that is why we must NEVER take our eye off the goal.
    5. WHAT are you doing to fortify your hope? What are you doing in your life to strengthen your faith?
      1. Are you studying and praying as you should?
      2. Who are you associating with?
      3. What is your focus in this life?
      4. What are you doing with your mind to keep your focus where it needs to be?
  4. As obedient children –
    1. We will never be serving God if we choose to disobey Him.
      1. You cannot separate obedience from true faith. James 2:14, 17, etc.
      2. Jesus became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him – Hebrews 5:8-9
      3. 2 Thessalonians 1:8 addresses God’s flaming fire on those who do not obey the gospel.
    2. Not conforming yourselves to the former lusts in your ignorance
      1. Again, Peter reminds us that we are a changed people. This will be revisited in coming chapters of this letter – 1 Peter 4:3 – we have spent enough time there.
      2. Ephesians 4:17 Paul will address how we should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles, in futility of their minds, with their understanding being darkened…
        Romans 12:1-2 also challenges us not to be conformed to this world. This is the ONLY other time, the Greek word in our text (for conform) is used.
      3. Concerning ignorance – this prompts some to say Peter is addressing Gentiles here, but a case could be made for both Jews and Gentiles concerning their former ignorance.
        Whatever the case, let us not forget Acts 17:30-31.
    3. To get though this world with its sinfulness and troubles, we have to be obedient
  5. Be holy, even as He is holy
    1. This is really a summary of our lives as Christians. We are to be holy
    2. To be holy means to be sanctified, set apart. It means to live a purified life, and to be willing to be different from those of this world.  Consider 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1.
    3. In our text, we are given the standard, “As He is holy”
      1. This is a quote taken from Leviticus where at least 4 times, this type of language is used – Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7
      2. The challenge here is as we define holiness, we think of being separated from the world. ‘
      3. But in the case of God, this description is an attribute of purity.
        And the point being made is that we strive to be as pure as He is.  Consider this with the previous phrase (not conforming yourself to your former lusts).
        We may never attain that in this life, but we MUST continue to look to Him as our example!  1 Corinthians 11:1 concerning Jesus.  See 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 AND 1 John 3:3.
    4. Peter will deal with this in greater detail in chapter 2 as he describes us as priests, and so will we.
    5. And again, this is a crucial and foundational element to faithful service to God. We must STRIVE to be different.

All of these things and more, will be further developed as Peter continues in this letter.   But we find in this text, very practical admonitions to us – live what you profess to be!  We will continue to see this conduct as we continue to study this letter.  Meanwhile, I simply as, Are you living a holy life?