The seventeenth–century author John Bunyan wrote the following in his Bible: “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.”
Our command today is the fifth command in a series from 1 Peter 1:13–-16. Three mental preparation commands on the second coming of Christ (“gird up the loins of your mind” [prepare your minds for action], “be sober” [be self–controlled], and “rest your hope” [decide to set it]) are followed by two behavioral commands (“[do] not [conform] yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance” and the overall mandate to “be holy”).
After committing to follow Christ, many are still attracted to their former sinful patterns; however, God came into their lives in the person of the powerful Holy Spirit with the purpose of transforming them into a reflection of God.
God is calling all believers to develop the nature of our heavenly Father, who gave us “new birth” (1 Pet 1:3), and He has empowered us to make this a reality: “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by [His] glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet 1:3–-4).
God’s holiness or His “divine nature” means that He is completely separated from sin and evil. Sin is so contrary to His character that He repudiates any aspect of it.
His holiness establishes the standard for morality and purity for all His creatures. Thankfully, God has granted us His perfect righteousness by His grace through our faith in His promises.
Now He commands us to live as righteously as He has made us by faith: “become holy yourselves in all of your conduct.” The aorist tense of the verb does not mean that you are not holy and must become holy but rather that you must “immediately decide to show yourself to be holy.”
God wants us to be like Him in every aspect of our lives: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Pet 1:16). Salvation begins our active pursuit of opposing sin and demonstrating how much we want to become like our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Be holy for Him.
“Dear Jesus, because of Your sacrifice, we have been made righteous. To show You our gratitude for this new relationship with You, we want to live righteously; help us decide once and for all to live according to Your holiness.”