Read 1 Peter 1:13-16
13 So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” (NLT)
If someone called you ‘holy’, they might not be complimenting you. The phrase ‘holier than thou’ comes to mind. When we get out of bed each day we don’t immediately think to ourselves that we are aiming to be holy that very day. Yet this is just what we are urged to be in this passage. God is holy, so we are to be holy.
‘Holy’ means to be set apart for special work or duty. So we have a holy Bible or holy communion or holy matrimony. Some churches have holy tables and observe holy weeks. In Christian terms, to be holy is to be dedicated to God who is himself holy. God is dedicated to loving and rescuing his world. Yet he is set apart from that world.
Down through the ages, Christians have sometimes drawn aside from the world in a superior way that means they have had little positive effect on it. But holiness is not withdrawal. It is staying involved in the world even as we live according to God’s values and commands. After all, God’s own perfect holiness was content to get involved in the world in the person of Jesus his Son.
While we may not use the exact word, it is good to declare to yourself each morning that today you will be holy. Not as some condescending spiritual snob but as one who wants to be dedicated to God, set apart to do special things for him in his world. In this way, holiness is no insult but rather a reflection of the love and goodness of a holy God.