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Holiness is for Everything

1 Peter 1:15-16
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’ (NIVUK)

Some people think that 'holy' is dull, boring, restricting and without excitement.  They are wrong. The Bible shows that the holy God is life-giving, mind-stretching, and liberating.  Holiness is an essential characteristic of God (Leviticus 19:2).  He is truly awesome, in the glory of His majesty and in His unlimited power.  For God to be holy means to be uniquely special, different and separate from everything that He has made (including the angels).  God's holiness is the sort of cleanness that cannot tolerate anything dirty or corrupt or that refuses to bow to His authority (Isaiah 59:1-2).

In the same way that the healthy human body rejects everything that is not of itself (that is how we fight disease - by identifying bacteria and viruses as not-ourselves, and destroying them), God cannot tolerate sin (Habakkuk 1:13).  And if sinners are too proud to receive His mercy and grace to deal with their sin, they are rejected from His presence.  However, when we submit to being saved on God's terms, He expects us to live like He does.  Holiness is not an option for Christians, it is to become their nature. Those who have little desire to be holy have little desire for God and they will not see Him (Hebrews 12:14).

Of course, like a trainee at work, we do not get everything right: but it is vital that we know what is right and ask our Master to help us to be like Him.  Our weakness does not stop us being holy, but gives room for God’s grace to work in us (2 Corinthians 12:9)  The willingness to confess every error and to practice serving Him obediently, are clear indicators that we desire to be holy because we want to be like Him.  He then helps us to develop a character like His (Philippians 2:13).

Christians learn to develop holiness by knowing what is right (from the Bible) and doing it; and by choosing to reject what is wrong. This may not be easy at work, but it is important not to have different standards in church and at work - that is not holiness.  Holy lives are consistent all the way through, like well baked bread.  It may be that lies and injustice are part of your work culture, but they do not have to be part of you.  You can dare to be different for the right reasons.  Later in this letter, Peter will give some brilliant tips on how to live as a Christian with a difficult employer (1 Peter 2:18-22).  But until we reach those verses: remember that irrespective of how your colleagues behave, living a holy life is top of God's priorities for you (Revelation 22:11).


Gracious Father. I am so glad that You are uniquely right and holy in every way. Thank You for being the unchanging God to whom everything must submit or else be rejected. Forgive me for being unholy and not caring about it at the time, although deeply regretting my sin later. I confess that I am still far from Your perfect standard, but I want to be holy so that I can please You. Please help me to reject what is not from You, and practice obeying You in everything, today and every day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams