“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 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.””.
1 Peter 1: 14-16
I can so relate, and at the same time am so convicted, with the opening of verse 14 in this chapter. If I had a nickel for every time I used the word “obedient” in a day while interacting with my three children I would be the wealthiest woman in the world! I am constantly expecting obedience from my children (who are 7, 3.5, and 2 by the way) and yet as a grown adult I sometimes catch myself acting like a spiritual three year old. God is speaking to me to get up and go do something and I just continue on scrubbing the floors, going to bed early, watching a movie, having a coffee. “What was that God? I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you….I wasn’t listening.”
He is so mercifully patient with us. He was patient in bringing us to repentance and continues to show godly, fatherly patience with us as His children. However, there are expectations and commands, and while His grace sustains and forgives us when we are disobedient at times we need to grow up in our faith and see that we are listening more often than not. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15 ESV)
It is as this verse in 1 Peter says, we were “formerly ignorant”. Before we learned and trusted in Christ through the gospel we were ignorant people. We were blind and in the dark. The things we did as unsaved people would be shameful to us now had Christ not lifted the shame from our shoulders. But because he HAS lifted the shame and bleached out the stain of sin from our hearts, and because we have been accepted as children by God the Father we should NEVER turn back to the pig-slop-pen-of-a-mess we were before and we should never stand at the fence and look in at the old mud in the pen with tender memories.
Romans 12:2 says,
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)
Peter says, “Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance,” and Paul says, “Do not be conformed to this world”. Peter says, “but as he who called you is holy you also be holy in all your conduct“, and Paul says, “but be transformed by the renewal of your mind”. When we lived as people of the world we lived in harmony with the world, we were conformed to it, with its prevailing standards, attitudes, and practices, BUT NOW we have been transformed by the Word of God and the message of Grace and Peace. So when we are confronted with some temptation for the old way of doing things how can we be sure to put a swift end to the thought?
By the renewal of your mind.
Our minds are renewed in God’s word and need to be renewed often and continuously. Otherwise, the command in 1Peter to be holy in “all your conduct” is impossible. Without a renewed mind our motivation is slack and our conviction is weak.
“You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Our name is attached to His. We represent Him at all times whether the people we meet in a day actually know that we are Christians or not. For that very good reason He expects us to represent Him well. Whenever my sister-in-law sends her son to play at a friend’s house, or off to Sunday School, or to swimming lessons or anywhere really, she tells him, “Remember you are representing Jesus and the Andersen’s.” What she’s really saying is, “Don’t make any of us look bad.” And this is totally valid. When we are at the supermarket, or on the sidelines at the soccer field, or in the lunch room we need to make sure we aren’t saying or doing anything that will make Jesus look bad, because we represent Him. We are called to be holy in all our conduct because he is holy.
Seem like too high and lofty a calling? Here is what John MacArthur said about it,
“First Samuel 2:2 says, “There is no one holy like the Lord.” That’s a high standard. And we cannot be, listen to this, as holy as God is but we can be holy because God is. We cannot be holy to the extent that God is, but we can have the same kind of purity that God has, smaller measure. Not like His in extent but certainly like His in kind.”
Our old ways were killing us softly, don’t ever look back but carry on in daily obedience even when it’s tiresome, and represent Him well. He is Worthy!
Grace and Peace,