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1 Peter: How to be Holy

1 Peter 1:13-25 CSB | Caleb Martinez | October 16, 2022

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One of the most repeated instructions given throughout scripture is the command to “be holy.” We see it as a command directly from God given to the Israelites in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, a statement made by Jesus in the gospel of Matthew, and in the middle of 1 Peter 1. To be holy simply means to be set apart. Holiness is first something that describes God. He is set apart and distinct by his moral perfection, but also by his very nature. But God can also make us holy through Jesus. Holiness, then, is something that is both done to us and something done by us. We are made holy when we repent from our sins and are saved by the blood of Jesus. But we can also be holy through our actions. As followers of Jesus, we live holy lives by aligning our thoughts and desires towards the way of Jesus. In order to do this practically, we must recognize the areas of our thoughts and desires that are not conformed to the way of Jesus. We do this through the practice of confession.


You can take interactive notes here. At the end of the message, you can email the notes to yourself.


So I’ll be reading today’s passage. This is coming from first Peter one 13 through 16. Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be so reminded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance, but as the one who called you as holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct.

For it is written, be holy because I am.

Go ahead and hold your Bibles open to that passage if you don’t have your Bible out, and go ahead and get it out. We’re gonna be looking at that text today, this afternoon. We’re picking up right where we left off last week. So we are starting or continuing our study in the book of First Peter we started last week.

Again, just setting up some of the major themes about what first Peter is about what Peter’s communicating to. We talked about Peter as an apostle of. As somebody who was a part of, the core group of Jesus three, Peter, James, and John part of the 12 as he went from this hotheaded sort of temperament to being a founder of the church, of being a father of the church, a pastor who’s now leading people into the way of Jesus, who are experiencing a type of exile that a lot of us can relate to where they’ve chosen to follow Jesus and let that impact their lives, Not just their hearts, but how they actually live.

And it’s cost them jobs. It’s cost them relationships. It’s cost them what we would call maybe mild persecution. And so the book of First Peters a letter written to these people explaining how to live how to sort through that, how do they follow Jesus in a way that’s actually. Biblical where they can maintain their faith and their hope on Jesus.

But then how can they move forward in a way that’s also compelling to their neighbors? How do they invite others to follow Jesus without giving into the culture, but also not being completely stagnated from. The culture the rest of chapter one we’re gonna look at is kinda okay, now what we talked last week about hope and how everyone has hope and, what is your hope in that kind of thing.

And Peter reminds us to anchor our hope in something that’s real but something that’s also in the future and not really here yet. And so now it’s the, now what do we do? How do we live that out? If you missed last week’s, you can watch it online, but the title for tonight’s message is this How to Be Holy.

Would you pray with me?

God, would you speak tonight to each of us in a way that’s personal, but also in a way that’s real through your word? Would you remind us the new life that you’ve called us to, those of us who have chosen to follow you, would you remind us what that looks like, what we’ve been saved from, and what you’ve saved us for?

Would you remind us of our hope

and as we look at our texts tonight, would you encourage us with a practice of living holy lives, a way that we can take what you read, apply it to our lives, and carry it with us this week so that we have a deeper relationship with you and a love for others that are in our lives that, that don’t know you.

Would you just speak through me? Now we ask this in your name.

Here’s the one line summary of I think first Peter chapter one. I don’t have it up on the slide. You can write it down if it’s helpful. It’s really just a transition line so we can get to the text. But that is this, Your future hope determines your present actions. I think that’s what Peter’s talking about here.

He talks a lot about hope you have a living hope it’s new. Don’t worry about your circumstances right now. You’re made for something great or you have an inheritance and all of that. So in light of that, live your lives in a way that reflects that. And we all know what it’s like to have our present lives be determined by something that we are looking forward to in the future.

Think about maybe if you have ever put in your two weeks notice. Something’s changing in two weeks. So how you live out, the rest of your job is determined by your knowledge of what’s gonna happen in those two weeks. And if you’re a good person, a good, Jesus loving person, then you actually work harder in those two weeks, which I know is not a lot of us.

That certainly wasn’t me. Every time I’ve quit a job it’s no, I’m out two weeks, I’m done. I also had this experience when I proposed to my wife the day before I was gonna propose. We had a little bit, so it was. My wife, if you don’t know her, Shelby, she’s and the kids doing the kids teaching and things right now she really loves music.

She loves bands and like a very specific kind of music. And One summer many years ago, not many years ago, but a few years ago she wanted to go to this music festival. It was this concert called Warp Tour. If you know what that is. You know that this is like the pinnacle of like pop punk slash emo rock music from like 2000 to 2009.

And she was really excited, but she was also really sad because this was the last year that they were gonna do it. She did not know that I was gonna be proposing the next day. And only I knew that and I was scared. I was terrified. So we both show up to warp to her. She really wanted me to go with her.

And I said, Okay, we’ll go. We showed up and her excitement was like up here cuz she was looking forward to the whole day. And mine was down here because I thought I was gonna accidentally tell her that I was gonna propose the next day. And this interesting thing happened. I’ve realized that as the day went on, her excitement went down further into like despair.

Because it was nearing the end. This was gonna be the last warp tour forever. And she was really sad that it was gonna be over. But I was getting more and more excited because I hadn’t told her that I was gonna propose yet. I had made it. I had hid that information from her and I knew it was coming. I knew she was gonna be stoked.

I hoped and prayed that she was gonna be stoked tomorrow when I got on one knee and did the ring thing. But we were experiencing. Thing, like we were living through the same experience, but our attitude was completely different. How we lived that day, how we, the decisions that we made, the choices that we made were all determined, not by anything that was happening, that present moment, but by something that was going to happen in the future.

And again, we all know what this is like. So Peter is doing that. He’s telling us people, here’s something that’s going to happen in the future. You have a future inheritance. You have a future hope that cannot be taken away from you. And now in the rest of chapter one, he’s going to say, What that, how that should affect us.

How your present action should be determined by that. Now at the center of our text, As a command. And so this is what Peter is essentially saying in light of everything that I’ve just told you about being, your, you have a new identity, you have an inheritance in all of that, here’s what I want you to do, verse 15.

But as the one who called you as holy, you also are to be holy in all of your conduct for it is written be holy because I am holy. So it’s fairly. In light of everything I’ve just told you, just be holy. I’m glad you’re laughing cuz I thought this was funny too. And here’s why. I don’t know what comes to mind when you hear the word holiness.

But there’s a good chance that you are probably thinking of something religious. You’re probably thinking of something like sanitary, like to be holy means to, holier than now, right? Is a phrase. It’s not a very kind phrase. It’s easy to make fun of someone who thinks they’re better than you because they live a holier life.

And by holier life we usually mean. You don’t do certain things. So it’s like a set of prohibitions. You consider yourself morally perfect, right? If you don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t party, don’t have fun. You are considered a holy person. So when we hear the word holy to be holy, we immediately think I need to be in a sense better than everyone by how I live because of the things that I don’t do.

I also recognize that there are some of us here. When you hear the word holy, it’s not a fun word to hear at all. You come from a church tradition. Where you have been beat over the head with laws and commands that are meant to show you how to live a morally perfect life the goal of your life has been to be holy behaviorally, and that has caused your following Jesus, your experience of the Christian faith to be sucked of all joy.

Regardless of what the word holiness means for you, there is some truth to it involving moral perfection. But when we look at how the Bible actually describes holiness, how it defines it all throughout the Old Testament and into the new, we actually find a concept that is rich in both meaning and joy.

And so what we’re gonna do now, bear with me. We’re gonna look at how the Old Testament defines holiness so that we can learn what it means to actually be holy. Today. The Hebrew word holiness is the word Kadesh. Can you. Good. The Greek word is hagios. You don’t have to say that one. Holiness at the most foundational level, or the very simplest meaning is to be set apart.

So when you read about holiness in the Old Testament, when you read about holiness in the New Testament, at its core, the idea is something is set apart from something else, from everything else, and it’s actually a term actually given to God to describe something about the nature of God. And so God is holy, meaning God is set.

Apart and he is set apart by his moral perfection, that he is ultimately good and perfect in a way that you and I will never be on this side of heaven. But his holiness doesn’t just come from his moral perfection, it comes from his very nature. So when you read the beginning pages of the Bible of the Old Testament, Genesis one, God is the creator of all things, that he is the source of all life, of all love, of all goodness, all wholeness, all of creation.

God is distinct. He is utterly unique. There is nothing like him in this world or outside of this world. That is what it means, that God is holy and His holiness is a good thing. It’s not a bad thing. It’s actually a really good thing. It means that he’s powerful and that he’s good. His ho. Emanates from his goodness, but his holiness is also D.

All right, because he’s the source of all life. Anything that is impure, anything that doesn’t have life in it, that is not ultimately morally good, but also just the source of life itself cannot come close to the holiness of God, the presence of God. You think about the son. I heard this illustration that was helpful for me.

I’m a visual learner, so the sun, has this energy radiating from it. In our solar system, it’s the source of our life and our light. If the sun were not here, we would not be here either. But to get too close to the sun is dangerous because we are not that source of light. The sun is. , and it’s not just the sun itself, it’s the area around the sun.

And so the closer you get to the sun, the more danger you are in. This is the word picture that I think helps describe what it whole God’s Holiness actually does. You think of Moses in the burning bush, right? If you’re familiar with the Old Testament, the story of Moses when he first encounters God he finds God in the presence of a bush that’s on fire, but it’s not being consumed by the fire.

It’s not being burned. And so he approaches this bush and then God speaks to him and says, You cannot come any closer because this is holy ground, meaning you are unclean. I am holy. It’s actually dangerous for you to be near me because of my holiness. And then the whole thing, he takes off the shoes. This is holy ground, all of.

If you go forward in the New Testament, and you know about the temple which was the place that the Jews would come to worship, to alter, offer, sacrifices to God. But in the center of the temple, you had what was called the Holy of Holies or it just means the most holy place. And in the Holy of Holies, it was believed that’s, that was like the hub of God’s presence.

This is where God dwelt, this was the source. Of his holiness, of his goodness, of his presence. You could not come into contact with God by entering the Holy of Holies without dying. And there were all sorts of laws about who could go there and who couldn’t go there. But the idea here is that God’s holiness is dangerous.

It’s good because God is good, but you and I are not good, so we cannot come into contact with God’s holiness. The problem though is that God is not okay with that being the case. Right? God wants communion with us. And so what he does is he provides a way for us to interact with him. This is the book of Leviticus.

If you’ve gone through, one year Bible plan, you hit to February, you read Leviticus, and it’s just laws over and over again, right? How to live, how to clean yourself, how to offer sacrifices, what to wear, what not to wear. All of these things are designed to show the people of Israel when they are not holy, when they are uncle.

and then how to get clean so that they can approach God, offer sacrifices, and have communion with him. Now, what makes them unclean can be categorized into two things. I know this is dense. Stick with me. Moral to be morally unclean meant you were a sinner. , so to break God’s law, to not do the right thing, but also to do the wrong thing made you morally unclean.

You are impure because of your sin, but you could also be ritually unclean. And it had nothing to do with sin. It really just meant you had contact with something that was related to death. Things like certain animals you couldn’t touch certain like body fluids and things like that. Anything associated with death made you.

you also had holy items in the temple. These were items like pots and pans and temple garments and tools for use, specifically in the temple. And they were not holy items because they were morally perfect, right? But they were holy items because they were set apart, right? They were distinctly designed for the purpose of interacting with a holy God.

So you have this image of people, unholy people who are infected and tainted by sin and by impurities, by death in their lives, who want to have access to a holy God. And so they go through the book of Leviticus, they offer the right sacrifices, they cleanse themselves, ritually in order to have access to God.

And then in the book of Isaiah, you get something. If you’ve read the book of Isaiah you likely know where this is going. Isaiah chapter six. Isaiah’s a prophet, meaning he’s a man, a holy man. He’s set apart from the rest of the people so that he can speak for God. But in Isaiah chapter six, he has an encounter with God.

He has a vision of God, and this is not a good vision. It’s good, but it’s not like a, you think if you were to come into contact with God, you would have warm, fuzzy feelings and butterflies and everything would just feel good. That is not what happens to Isaiah. Isaiah sees God, he sees his holiness, and he immediately falls on his face.

And he says, Whoa is me. That famous biblical line, Whoa is me. He says, I am a man of unclean lips and I come from a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the Lord, the king of armies, meaning when he sees God, he doesn’t feel warm, fuzzy feelings. He’s immediately confronted with his un holiness.

With his impurity, with his unc, cleanliness, with his sin, but also his ritual, UN cleanliness, the fact that he has been tainted by death through his sin and his interactions with other things. But then he encounters a ssim, which is an angel. It’s a fancy word for angel. It’s a very specific type of angel.

And here’s what the SME does. The ssim goes to the altar and it takes some tongs and it takes a hot coal that’s on fire from the alt, and it brings it over to Isaiah and it touches his lip. And in Isaiah chapter six, verse seven, it says, Now that this has touched your lips, your iniquity is removed and your sin is a tone for, and this is incredible because now what’s happening is instead of being killed by God’s holiness is transferred to.

Mind blowing. Okay. One scholar pointed this out. Isaiah is not destroyed by God’s Holiness. He’s actually transformed by it. So now there’s this idea that somehow God’s holiness isn’t a barrier to humanity, but it can actually somehow spread to humanity and then change humanity. That an interaction with God’s holiness actually changes you in some way.

Where else do we see? In the gospels. So if you know about Jesus and the gospels, you know that Jesus’s life and death accomplishes a lot of things. Here is one of them. Jesus is representative of the new temple. Again, I know this is dense. We’ll get to the good stuff in a minute as the temple. . Jesus represents the space where heaven and earth overlap.

That’s where the temple was. The holy of Holies was God’s presence here on earth. But now God is literally embodied in the person of Jesus. Jesus is fully God. That’s what we believe here. And so he is like a walking temple. He is the center of God’s presence that overlap between heaven and earth. But unlike the temple, you do not need to get morally or ritually clean to approach Jesus.

And so notice who Jesus goes after in the gospels. It’s the sinners. It’s also the sick, it’s the lepers. In other words, it’s the people who would’ve been considered unclean, the people who would’ve had to go to the temple, offer a sacrifice to God so that they can be cleaned and then have access to God.

What happens when these people come into contact with Jesus is His holiness doesn’t kill them, and their impurity certainly doesn’t spread to Jesus. But now, like the hot coal pressed on Isaiah’s lips, the holiness of God is imparted to these people. They are forgiven and they are. They are made new and they are made clean.

They are made holy. So when you read the gospels, by the way, and you read about Jesus healing people and doing these miracles and forgiving people and giving sight back to the blind and curing leprosy and all of these things, it is not, these are not just magic tricks to prove that he is God.

These are miracles to show that the embodiment of God has come in, the person of Jesus to spread his holiness to humanity. This is good stuff. So Peter, in our text tonight is saying that the same thing happens to us, that when we encounter Jesus, when we have an encounter with the living God through the person of Jesus, that he has done the same thing that the hot cold did to Isaiah and that Jesus does to the lepers, the sinners, the blind, the sick, that he has changed who we are entire.

From the inside out. Our spirit, our very nature is transformed. This is what happens when you put your faith in Jesus for the first time. It’s not just about getting out of hell after death. It’s actually, it’s about being made new into a new creation, is what Paul says later. Earlier in chapter one, Peter calls this new birth, but here he connects it to our holiness.

All of this to say holiness is both something done to us and something done by us. And this is really important for our purposes today. So let me unpack this for just a little bit. First, Holiness done to us. Peter frames his command to be holy, as I am holy within the context of an interactive relationship with the Father.

So take a look at verse 17. It says, If you appeal to the father who judges impartially, according to each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in reverence during your time living as strangers for you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life, inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb.

This is a bit of a confusing passage, but here’s what Peter is saying. God judges everybody impartially. And remember, this is a big deal because Peter’s writing to Gentile Christians. So he’s saying, God didn’t choose you because you’re Gentiles. And God doesn’t choose other people because they’re Jews.

He chooses you based on what has been done for you. And just like Isaiah, we become holy not through anything that we do, but through something done to us. That’s the entire point of verses 18. And. Now we were brought into communion with God that we are made holy through the blood of Jesus. And so rather than you and I needing to sacrifice a lamb in order to purify and clean ourselves, in order to be in God’s presence, Jesus is that perfect sacrifice, right?

Jesus is that lamb that makes us holy. This is what Peter’s trying to communicate. His blood sprinkles us, it cleanses us, and it spreads God’s holiness to us, making us clean. Pure and set apart just like him. This is where we have to start. We have to get here now. This is the gospel. If we, Anything else that I say after this is all predicated on the fact that you have that relationship with God.

You cannot make yourself holy. If you read this out of context and you think the goal of the Christian life is just to make myself a better person so that God will love me, then you’ve missed the point that it’s not what Peter is saying here. In fact, Peter anchors all of this in what he has just said in chapter one.

Earlier. He says, Therefore he starts verse 13. We’ll look at this in a second. He starts with therefore meaning like this is in light of everything that I’ve already said. That’s what’s true about you. You have a new inheritance, you’re made new birth. Now you can live a holy life. It is not live a holy life so that therefore you can have new birth.

You see this? This is where we have to start. This is the essence of something of the. So holiness is something done to us, first and foremost. But holiness is also something done by us. Meaning there is a moral aspect to holiness. You are already made holy in a theological sense. You’re already made perfect, set apart and purified so that you have access and communion with God.

But now the command is to live out that reality. Peter would not command us to do something that we can’t at least take part in doing. In fact, the command to be holy as I am holy is one of the most repeated commands in all of scripture. You see it in Leviticus, at least like six times. I think I counted Duro.

You see it in Matthew five. Jesus says, Be perfect as I am. Perfect. I Be set apart, be holy as I am. Holy. And you see it. And remember in the Old Testament, it was a term of consecration, meaning it was a term to describe something that had been set apart for the purpose of interacting with a holy God.

It wasn’t just about being morally perfect, it was about designation. It was the identity given to an object, to something or to a people that was supposed to tell them to live in a way that reflects who they really are, live from their new nature. Be set apart from the world around you. So to be holy means to be set apart by how we’re saved, but also to be set apart by how we live.

The command. To be holy then is not just a command to remember that we are saved. It’s a command to actually do something to somehow be set apart and designated for God. And remember the context of First Peter. He’s writing to Gentiles who are exiled, who are not in their homes. They live in their homes, but they feel like they’re ostracized.

They’re in. Two worlds where they are, they don’t totally fit in because of their commitment to following the way of Jesus. So Peter’s trying to answer the question, How do we live when we’ve lost part of our lives? How do we live wholly in exile? Peter highlights two things, first through our minds.

So take a look again at verse 13, says Therefore, meaning in light of everything I’ve said, You know the cheesy joke, if you see the word therefore in the Bible, you have to go back and see what that sentence is there for

Okay, I heard that once in like middle school and I’ve never forgot it. Now you won’t either. Therefore, with your minds ready for action. Be sober minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. That phrase with your mind ready for action literally means gerd up the loins of your mind.

So that clears things up, right? , this is a phrase taken from the Old Testament. If you grew up in a traditional church, maybe you’ve heard this before, if you’ve read from like the King James or something like that and it’s a word picture and it’s actually used when God is about to free the Israelites from captivity in Egypt they have one last meal together as a family, as a nation within Egypt called the Passover.

And God tells them to gerd up their loins as they eat. And what that means is you, if you have a long flowing robe, you take the flaps of your robe and you tuck it. Now, why would you do that? So you can move, right? So you can be ready to like, like it’s, this is like action. Eat with your shoes on, right?

You don’t have to get ready. If you’re already ready, get ready to eat. You’re gonna go, this is your final meal here, and then you’re on your way. So ger up the loins of your mind. Be ready. Fix your mind, not on your immediate circumstances and what’s going on around you, but on what is going to happen to you.

We’ll unpack that here in a second. He also tells us to be sober minded and on a surface level, this means what it, don’t get drunk. Alcohol, inebriates you, it affects the not because alcohol is bad necessarily. I don’t know. Should I what I can say talk to me after the drunkenness is we believe is sinful.

Not again, because alcohol is bad inherently, but because of what it does to you, it puts your mind in a state of confusion where you can’t think straight. You’re not who you really are, and the processes of making decisions are inhibited. You also can’t run with your GERDs loin up. If you are drunk on a deeper.

This just means to pay attention. I pay attention to don’t waste your mental attitude, your mental energies and your attention on things that don’t matter on things that actually drain life from you, rather than giving you life.

It’s easy to think about being sober minded, I think in today’s world. And probably not in the way that you’re thinking. In one sense, Peter’s talking about Don. To adopt the worldview of the people that you are living in because this is not your home. We had a discussion in my group earlier this week about the word exiles.

Maybe sojourners is a better translation because the idea here is that you are on your way to your real home, right? You are in this present world is not where you are actually going to stay. You are on your way to something better. So when you do that, don’t adopt the mindset of the place that you are in.

Instead, focus your hope on Jesus. The way of the world is easy, right? The way of thinking like the world does is very easy, right? It’s easy to think poorly about someone when they hurt you. That’s the way of the world. It is much harder to think about how those people who have hurt you, your enemies whom, which you are to love as commanded by Jesus are made in the image of.

God loves them just as much as he loves you. That’s, that is a sober mind that is challenging. It’s easy to think about self satisfaction and inst instant gratification, right? Self pleasure. Do what makes you happy as a narrative from the world, as a way to numb yourself and escape the hard realities of life.

It is much harder to think about the way of self denial, which Jesus says is the way to him. Who offers life and abundance or life to the fullest? It’s easy to think about how changing your circumstances would make you happy to think about how you wish things would be. It is much harder to think about how the changing circumstances around you are temporary and to fix your mind on the God who is with you in any circumstance.

And here’s why this matters. What you think about becomes what you care. and what you care about becomes the thing that you desire most and the things that you desire most determines how you live. We’ve talked about this a lot at our church. What you think does more than you think there is something We don’t believe that all of transformation happens through the mind.

You need more than just knowledge, but you do need knowledge and you do need truth, and there is a battle for your mind. The enemy is a. That means he lies to you through what you know. He’ll lie to you about who God is, about who you are, and about what life really looks like. So to be sober minded means learn to recognize the lies of the enemy and fix your mind on the hope that is to come.

If you wanna learn what it means to set your hope in Jesus. It’s simply an invitation to examine the thoughts that run through your mind all day. And so to be set apart and to live holy with our minds means we must actively participate in engaging with what God says is true about him, about ourselves, and about life in general over what the world says.

So whatever it means to be set apart, for God, to be holy at some level, it has to involve the way that we think, but also through our hearts. So that’s the mind. Now we have our hearts. Look at verse 14 as obedient children do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. Now that word conformed literally means to fit into a mold or to fashion yourself.

The language I think is helpful is don’t shape your life around something. Paul uses this word in Romans 12. You’ve probably heard this, but he uses it a little bit differently there. He says, Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world. But here, notice how Peter uses it. He doesn’t say, Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world.

He says, Do not be conformed or do not shape your life around your former desires. the desires of your former ignorance. He’s not comparing us to the desires of the world. He’s comparing us to the desires of ourselves. So Paul doesn’t tell us to to always look outside of ourselves, to always look at how and shame how the world lives.

It’s not be careful to examine your he the neighbors and don’t live like them. That is not the command given here, although that is important. And later throughout the Bible, actually later in this letter, Peter will tell us, Don’t live like the people around you. But that is not what holiness.

Holiness is not comparing yourself to others and feeling good about who you are or who you think you are holier than Now, again, is not a good phrase because it means that there’s a sense of arrogance and condemnation from you. That is not the point here. Peter doesn’t just want us to look different from the world.

He wants us to actually be different from the world, and that starts with ourselves. It starts with abandoning what we’ve called or actually what Saint Augustine calls our cheap desires that offer instant pleasure, but fleeting satisfaction in favor of deeper desires found by following the way of Jesus.

When we become followers of Jesus, we have a new capacity to allow God to transform us from our deepest places, which is our desires. And look at verses 23, 2 through 25, The rest of this. Since you have purified yourselves by your obedience to the truth, so that you show sincere, brotherly love for each other, notice the transformation that you experience isn’t just for you.

It is going to spread outward to your brothers and your sisters. The way that you treat others will indicate the spiritual maturity of your heart from a pure heart of love, from a pure heart love one another constant. Because you have been born again, as there’s that new creation language, that transformation that happens on the inside, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable through the living and enduring word of God for all fleshes, like grass and all its glory.

Like a flower of the grass withers and the flower falls. But the word of the Lord endures forever. And this word is the gospel that was proclaimed to you. There’s so much here that we don’t have time to go through, but notice this. It’s from a pure heart that comes from our new birth, that we are able to love one another and live Holy lives again.

Holiness done to us, allows us to do holy things, and we’ve been born again. We’ve been given new life, new minds, a new heart. Holiness is how we live this out. Holiness then is the end goal of the Christian. So just as God is perfect and holy, you and I are being made perfect and holy through a process.

This is what we mean when we say we want to be formed by Jesus together. For others, we are talking about the process of being formed by Jesus, being made holy, or what the Bible calls sanctification. It’s just the process of it means to be sanctified, means to be made wholly, to be made. God set apart morally, but also inwardly.

One of my favorite verses Hebrews 10 14, says, For by one offering, that offering being Jesus, he has perfected forever. Those who are being sanctified. He is perfected. That’s that’s the perfect tense, meaning it’s already been done. It’s completed. It’s happened in the past. He has perfected you, those who are being made perfect.

that’s the present tense, meaning that this is a process you’ve already been declared holy, but there is a process of you stepping into that reality. We’ve already been declared pure, clean and holy, but there is a process of actually living that out, being formed into that. Richard Foster says this about holiness.

Holiness is sustained attention to the. The source of all action. Again, remember desires chapter four or verse 14. It concerns itself with the core of the personality, the wellspring of behavior, the quintessence of the soul. It focuses upon the formation and transformation of this center. Holiness then is the complete conforming of our inner and outer selves into the image of Christ.

It’s the formation of everything that we are, our thoughts, our desires, and our behaviors into the way of Jesus so that there is alignment. It’s something that we participate in. We allow God into the deepest spaces of who we are, our thoughts and our desires, and we let him change those spaces. We let him form us in those spaces.

Holiness then is the integration that comes with communion with God. Our minds, our hearts, and our bodies all align with gods from the deepest parts of who we are to the parts that everyone sees lived out. It’s being made whole, not by our own efforts again, but by allowing God’s grace to save and transform.

Now, this type of holy integration, this being set apart from the world through our communion with God, this integration between our thoughts, our desires, and our actions, how we live our behaviors is hard. And I don’t need to tell you this. We know full well what this disintegration feels like. The Bible calls it.

All right. What keeps us from being holy in our moral lives, in our thought lives, in our desires, our attitudes, behaviors is our sin. It’s the ways that we are misaligned with the way of Jesus. It’s the giving into our cheaper desires that offer quick pleasure, but weak satisfaction. It’s the giving into our thoughts that control us is giving away of our minds to bitterness, to despair, to hopelessness.

It’s the failure to love our brothers and sisters. , it’s the giving in of our own self-gratification rather than the way of self denial, which is the way of Jesus. And we feel this all the time. It’s like counseling. If you’ve ever been to counseling or therapy the process is you, The presenting problem is not the real problem.

If you’ve ever been to counseling, you usually go because you have anxiety or something, and after five or six sessions, you’re talking about like deep father wounds from like when you were three or something like that. Like what you present is never, it’s always indicative of something deeper.

That’s because human beings tend to live on two different levels, like a surface level and a deeper level. And on the surface level, that’s the things that we can control. The things that we can see, the holiness that we can control, we can make ourselves look better compared to others, but the deeper level is where the money’s at.

It’s the deeper part of us that isn’t really holy, that we shy away from the part of us, that we not only try to hide from others, but also ourselves and God. It’s a scary part of us that is not yet conformed to the way of Jesus. And as easy as it is to ignore the deep is what either reeks havoc in our lives or brings life to us and to those around us, which is why I think Peter goes straight for the deep.

You don’t be holy through your actions. You are wholly be holy through your minds and through your desires. That’s where it has to start. And so is there a practice from the way of Jesus that we. We can put into practice this week that puts together our thoughts, our hearts, and our sin and brings those to God.

Yes, it is there is a practice and it’s prayer, specifically the prayer of confession. And this is just, this is really, this is hard for me to write because this is really challenging for me personally. I know I’m alone in that. My view of God has always been that he is a condescending, distant judge.

Or more like a teacher. If you grew I grew up, I’m sure that you guys think they still do this. I haven’t been in school in a while, but when I was in like third grade, you have a behavioral chart and there’s like red, yellow, orange, or green, yellow, orange, red. And if you’re really good, your clip has, your name on it is green.

And if you’re bad, it goes down to yellow. And if you’re really bad, it goes down to orange. And then if you’re. Just evil that day goes down to red. And my whole life, I was so much anxiety, not over the schoolwork I could handle. What I couldn’t handle is having my clip with my name on it moved from green to red.

I hated that. And I realized that I’ve approached God the same way that I expect God to be like a teacher with his arms crossed, waiting for me to move my clip up and down a behavioral chart. And so I’ve avoided. The practice that I’m about to tell you to do, which is the practice of confession and the lie that I believed is that by naming the parts of myself that are not aligned with the holiness of God, that I will actually experience fear and shame and condemnation, and that is a lie.

Ephesians five says, Anything brought into the light, Christ will shine on it. So actually the opposite is true, that when you name the parts of you that are not aligned with the way of Jesus, that is where you find the most freedom, joy, and peace. Even in my own relationships I’ve experienced this personally.

Confessing to other people is a powerful thing. When I share with my wife Shelby, things that I’m ashamed of or embarrassed by the sin, the part of me that is not aligned with the way of Jesus, what I’m doing is I’m allowing her to actually be a conduit of God’s grace to me, that she gets to forgive me.

Chuckle at how much of a big deal I’ve made it and say, You’re forgive. God forgives you. That’s a powerful thing. And even in my prayers with God what I find when I bring these things to God and not just vaguely ask for forgiveness, but actually talk with God about the things that I know I’ve done that are wrong.

Not just naming them, but also talking about them saying, This is why I did it. This is how I was feeling. This is what happened. What I find is not a God who is distant and passively judging me, ready to move my clip down to red. Instead, I find a father. Who already knows that part of me and has simply been waiting for me to give him access to it so he can both forgive and heal me.

But confession is a practice. It’s something we have to actively do. It’s a way for us to be holy, to set ourselves apart from the world that says, Your sin is not that big of a deal. Indulge in it and you’ll feel better. Confession says, No. I know sin reeks havoc in my life and in the lives of those around me.

I need to bring it to my father who wants to heal. So I’ve reading this book by Tyler State and he is a pastor called praying like monks, Living Like Fools. It’s a great resource on prayer. Here’s how he gives the practice of confession, which is what you’re gonna do in your groups. This week.

Two parts to it. Number one, searching. It’s is taken from Psalm 1 39 where David says, Search me God and know my. All you’re doing at this point is allowing God to have access to all of you. That as you sit in the quiet, as you open up your heart to God, as you allow him to point out the parts of your life, your thoughts, your desires, your habits, your actions, attitudes, behaviors, all of it, your emotions, the part of who you are that you try to hide, you give him access to that, and the spirit will bring to the surface things that are not aligned with God in his.

But then you also have naming a step two, so searching as God’s part. Naming is our part. All right? This is the act of not ignoring those things that come to the surface, but actually voicing them out loud to God. Having a conversation with God about them and allowing him to heal you. Bringing those things into the light where my mind is not sober, where I’m shaping my life around my former desires.

The desires of what Paul calls the flesh. Jesus comes to those who are willing to seek forgiveness and healing, and he comes to offer both. It’s by this process of forgiving and healing that we are made holy, that God works in us, the reality that he has already promised us, fully integrated into life with him, set apart for communion with the Father.

Let’s pray.

Group Guide

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Meal & Conversation

Open the night with a quick prayer over your time together. As your Group shares a meal, feel free to use the following question to check in with everyone:

What are you looking forward to the most this week?


Overview of Teaching

One of the most repeated instructions given throughout scripture is the command to “be holy.” We see it as a command directly from God given to the Israelites in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, a statement made by Jesus in the gospel of Matthew, and in the middle of 1 Peter 1. To be holy simply means to be set apart. Holiness is first something that describes God. He is set apart and distinct by his moral perfection, but also by his very nature. But God can also make us holy through Jesus. Holiness, then, is something that is both done to us and something done by us. We are made holy when we repent from our sins and are saved by the blood of Jesus. But we can also be holy through our actions. As followers of Jesus, we live holy lives by aligning our thoughts and desires towards the way of Jesus. In order to do this practically, we must recognize the areas of our thoughts and desires that are not conformed to the way of Jesus. We do this through the practice of confession.



Read 1 Peter 1:15-25 and discuss the following questions:

  1. What stands out from these verses?
  2. How would you define what it means to “be holy” like God? What has “holiness” meant to you in the past, and how has your understanding of God’s holiness changed in light of this passage and teaching?
  3. In what ways do you find your mind conformed to the way of the world around you? How has your way of thinking changed since you encountered Jesus?
  4. How have you experienced your desires change in the time you’ve spent following Jesus? What desires are still hard for you to allow God to transform?


Practice for the Week Ahead

The goal this week is to practice the prayer of confession. Confession is as simple as it sounds, but it can be divided into 2 simple steps based on Psalm 139:23-24, with an extra step added at the end:

  1. Searching. As you begin praying, simply ask God to search your inner life. Your thoughts, desires, attitudes, and actions. Allow the Spirit to convict you of the areas of your life that our disintegrated from the way of Jesus. Where does God want to grow you and make you holy?
  2. Naming. As the Spirit brings sin and misalignment from your life to the surface, practice naming those specific sins to God. By naming them specifically, we bring them into the light (Eph 5:11-14) and allow God to do the deep work of healing and forgiving.

Confessing in community. Consider doing this practice with a close friend and fellow believer. Schedule a time to meet up over lunch or coffee and confess your sins to each other as scripture commands us in 1 John 1:9. Doing this is another way to bring sin into the light and receive the absolution that the gospel provides through relationship with another believer.

Before ending the night, discuss the following questions together:

  1. How often do you typically confess your sins to God?
  2. What frightens you about the prayer of confession? What excites or relieves you?
  3. What would success look like for you as you engage in this practice?

Close the night together in prayer.