1 Peter 1:13-16
Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober…
I. HOLINESS: WHAT IS IT?
1. Holiness does not consist in bodily austerities, or in ritual observances. This view of it has widely prevailed among men; for it is the natural result of that dislike of true holiness by which they are universally characterised, when associated with the conviction that holiness of some kind is indispensable with their acceptance with God.
2. Holiness has been identified with mere external morality. This defective view of it prevails among the worldly minded, as the false view already considered is cherished and acted on by the superstitious.
3. In what, then, does true holiness consist?
(1) The words of God, "Be ye holy, for I am holy," obviously imply that holiness consists in resemblance to God, or in conformity to His moral character. God is holy — infinitely and unchangeably holy.
(2) Though holiness consists in resemblance to God, something more specific than the mere statement of this truth is requisite to give you a clear conception of its nature. In order to this, you must not only know how God thinks and feels and acts; but, seeing that the position which you occupy as creatures is widely different from that which belongs to Him as the Creator, and different, too, in many respects from that which is occupied by other creatures whose nature is dissimilar to that of man, you must be able to apply your knowledge of the thoughts and sentiments and conduct of God to your own condition and circumstances. The means of doing so has been provided; for His law — under which term in this statement the whole revelation of His will respecting human duty, contained in Scripture, must be regarded as included — is an expression of His own excellence, a declaration of the manner in which the moral perfections that compose His character must operate when communicated to creatures who sustain the relations to Him and to one another which are sustained by you.
(3) But the intimation that the likeness to God which constitutes true holiness denotes conformity in heart and life to His revealed wilt, is not all that is necessary to enable you to form a clear and accurate conception of the nature of holiness. You must be aware of what is implied in conformity to the Divine law. It contains both prohibitions and commands; it tells you both what you should shun, and what you ought to do. Now, the injunction, "Be ye holy," requires conformity to the law of God in both these departments; and none but he who hates and avoids whatever it condemns and forbids, and who loves and practises whatever it commends and enjoins, is a holy person.
II. HOLINESS: WHY SHOULD WE SEEK IT?
1. You should seek holiness as an appropriate means of testifying gratitude to God for the blessings of His salvation.
2. You should seek holiness as an appropriate means of ascertaining and attesting your interest in God's salvation.
3. You should seek holiness as an appropriate means of securing present happiness. The possession of it imparts release from the distressing doubts and fearful apprehensions with respect to futurity which harass the ungodly, and gives that persuasion of interest in God's favour, and that hope of eternal blessedness, which communicate a peace that passeth all understanding, and a joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.
4. You should seek holiness as an appropriate means of recommending religion, and thereby advancing the glory of God.
5. You should seek holiness as an appropriate means of preparing you for the happiness of heaven, and thus insuring your reception of it.
III. HOLINESS: HOW MAY WE ACQUIRE IT? The acquisition of holiness is in Scripture made the subject both of exhortation and of prayer. Being made a subject of prayer, holiness must be regarded as a privilege, or blessing, communicated to men by God. In harmony with this view of it, the work of their sanctification, both in its commencement and in its progress, is attributed to the powerful operation of the Divine Spirit. But while the Scriptures declare that holiness is a Divine gift, imparted to men by the efficacious operation of the Holy Spirit, and, on this ground, a proper subject of prayer and thanksgiving, they also teach certain important truths in regard to the operations of the Spirit as the Sanctifier, which show that the acquisition of holiness may appropriately be made the subject of exhortation and injunction. That the acquisition of holiness is a duty incumbent on men; that they ought not merely to pray for it, but to strive after it, is a truth very plainly taught in the word of revelation — a truth which no man who searches the Scriptures with an unbiased mind will hesitate to receive.
1. Release from the curse of the law and reconciliation to God are an indispensable prerequisite to the operations of the Spirit as the Sanctifier.
2. The operations of the Spirit as the Sanctifier do not supersede activity on the part of the subjects of them. They are created anew. But the change effected on them in this new creation does not destroy the powers or faculties which constitute them voluntary agents. Ii only gives a new direction to their activity; and hence, though the continued operation of the Spirit is necessary to preserve and strengthen the principle of spiritual life which has been implanted in them, yet its actings are the actings, not of the Spirit, but of the individuals to whom it has been imparted.
3. The truth revealed to us in Scripture is the means or instrument employed by the Spirit in all His operations as the Sanctifier. As His agency does not supersede human activity, so, in imparting to them the earnest desires, the ability, and the direction which are necessary to the acquisition of holiness, He always makes use of the disclosures of the mind and will of God contained in the word of revelation
4. The operations of the Spirit as the Sanctifier are the result of prayer — of earnest, believing prayer. The atoning sacrifice of Christ has opened a channel through which the influences of the Spirit may be communicated to men, in consistency with the holiness of the Divine character, the honour of the Divine law, and the rectitude and stability of the Divine administration.
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;