1 Peter 1:13-16
Why gird up the loins of your mind, be sober…
I. Holiness in the HEART, or as it works its way down to the depth of our nature. "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance."
1. In their unregenerate state men always fashion themselves after the pattern of their lusts or inward sinful desires.
2. The power of evil, however, though not expelled, is dethroned in the believer's heart, and the principle of dutiful obedience takes its place. God's people — ideal, and to a certain extent actual, people — are emphatically the "children of obedience."(1) This implies for one thing that they inwardly approve the Divine law, that they love God's commandments. It is not a law they would alter if they could.
(2) Obedience, however, contains another element, namely, that the mind throws itself actively and energetically into the duties prescribed.
II. Holiness in the LIFE, or as it widens out over the whole area of conduct. "As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation."
1. This enjoins holiness in all our thinking and reading.
2. Holiness should also be observed in all your conversation, in the modern sense of the word. "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt."(1) On the one hand, you must renounce filthy and blasphemous language.
(2) But as you should avoid evil communications, so, on the other hand, your speech should be such as to cause grace in the hearers. We do not faithfully mirror the Divine holiness when we foul each other's character.
3. Christian holiness, furthermore, extends to our acts as well as to our words and thoughts. "Be ye holy in all manner of conversation." Christianity influences the whole area of life private and public; it is commensurate with our existence.
III. Holiness in its STANDARD. "Be ye holy, for I am holy."
1. Why is holiness a virtue, and therefore required of us? The Bible answer is, Because God is holy. The essence of God — that is to say, that which makes God to be God — is His infinite holiness and infinite love. Hence the Bible continually summons men to holiness; not to learning or culture, but to holiness, for only in holiness and love can we resemble our Maker. By growing in other things, however much to be coveted in themselves, we do not grow in likeness to our Maker.
2. In the text God is styled "He that called you." And His "calling" imposes a fresh obligation upon you. You are called by God — to what? To holiness, "to show forth the virtues of Him that called you." If you seek not holiness, you overlook the very purpose of your separation from the world and your incorporation into the Church. Your "call" has been in vain.
3. As the ground of our holiness is in God, so the standard of our holiness, that to which it is to grow, is the holiness of God. "Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." Infinite holiness surely presents a standard lofty enough. Christianity in the morality, the holiness, it demands can never be outdone. One argument Herbert Spencer urges against it is that the standard of character it offers for our imitation is too high. Observe that the objection carries in it a homage to the pure ethics of the Teacher of Nazareth.
(J. C. Jones, D. D.)
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;