Christian Conduct In Light of The Cross
1 Peter 1:15-16
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.
Peter, in this passage, urges believers to conduct their lives in a way that is "holy" for our Father desires that our lives be a reflection of His own nature. The word for "holy" is the Greek word ἅγιος (hagios), which means set apart, distinct, or different. In other passages in the NT, the believer is described as being made holy through the action of God. Meaning that when we placed our faith in Christ we were then set apart from the world around us. It is not merely that God perceives us as different, but since we have been justified, forgiven, and set into the family of God as His very own children we are indeed truly different from the world around us. Thus, we should seek to express our lives in a way that comports with that reality. Our behavior and choices should match our new state of otherness. We should seek to live lives that align with who are Father is and not to conform ourselves to the way the world around us operates and functions.
Motive is key. Are we seeking to live holy lives for the purpose of fulfilling some perceived command found in Scripture? Maybe we fear the Lord, thus out of fear we seek to please Him. It could even be that we desire to live holy to prove to ourselves and others that our faith is genuine. I would argue these motives are misguided. Our only motive should be that we have encountered love, and love has forever marred us and has flipped our perspective of ourselves, others, God, and the world completely upside down! Fear is not of God. Fear is a manifestation of a lack of trust in the person of God. We fear because we have not truly seen and known Him as revealed on the cross. We fear because we have not truly understood that the God who gave Himself for sinful men did so out of His love and compassion for us, and not to secure any sort of response from us or to squeeze anything at all out of us.
I would argue further, that true holiness is found in the expression of love. The love of God is one element of His being that truly sets Him apart from anything in all of creation. To love is to reflect His nature, thus to be holy as He is holy is grounded in living a life of ruthless and unrelenting love. God's love is a love that gives of itself to others with absolutely no expectation of reciprocation. It is a love that is fixed on the benefit of another with no regard for the cost or toll it has on the giver. His love is selfless, and even extends to those who are His enemies. His love is indiscriminate, gratuitous, altruistic, and unrequited. To love in this way is truly divine and holy.
Therefore to live a holy life that mirrors the holiness of our Abba is to live a life of divine love and passion. A life of selfless giving, that continues in this giving never expecting or needing anything in return. It is in this love that we find our lives truly become living sacrifices, sweet smelling aromas, burning with the same flame of the inferno that ignited us.
I can't stress enough that the heart posture is essential in all of our Christian conduct. We have been brainwashed by religion for so long that works, service, and religious toil has become part and parcel to Christian living. We have become entombed through fear and bound to religion and have all but abandoned the sweet purity of the gospel and the revelation of divine compassion. We must therefore resist the temptation to operate out of fear or obligation, and seek to experience the power of His love firsthand. For only when love has taken us prisoner will our actions be inspired through the proper motive.