A New Year’s Resolution: Pursue Holiness (1 Peter 1:16)

Holy means to be consecrated. This is not a word we use very often but it means that something or someone is set apart by God for honorable use. In this sermon we shall briefly discuss how we are to pursue holiness, even while we are holy.

  1. You were Unholy. Ephesians 2:1-3 tells us that we are all born unholy. This means that we are brought into this world separated from God. In fact, we are hostile to Him (Rom ?). Our thoughts, words, and deeds are by nature self-righteous and self-seeking. Even when we try to reform ourselves, we fail (e.g., New Years Resolutions). Rick Warren describes it like a ship on autopilot. The captain may try to force the ship to change directions but only through great struggle. And as soon as he stops struggling, the ship will revert back to the autopilot. If the captain truly want to change the direction of the ship, he must change the autopilot. If we really want to change, we must receive a new nature and a new heart.
  2. You are Holy. When a person becomes a Christian, they are made holy by God. Titus 3:4-5 tells us that “when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 6:11 affirms this by saying, “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
  3. You must strive to be Holy. The Bible says that Christians are holy and must be holy. While it may seem contradictory at first, it is not. When God declares us holy as a result of salvation, we have positional Our position in the kingdom of God is no longer unholy, but holy. Being declared holy, God calls us to be holy. 1 Peter 1:16, “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.’” Think of this pursuit as practical holiness. Jerry Bridges was once asked the question, “If Christians are already declared righteous in Christ, why should they pursue personal holiness?” He succinct answer was: “God commands it, as He has said in 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy for I am holy.” But God wants us to want to do what we ought to do, and it is gratitude for what He has done for us through Christ in forgiving our sins and giving us Christ’s own perfect righteousness that should cause us to want to do what we ought to do.” Hebrew 12:14 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
  4. You Pursue Holiness in Faith. We are only able to pursue practical holiness because of our positional holiness. Jerry Bridges says, “the pursuit of holiness involves our most diligent efforts, but with a dependence on the Holy Spirit to bless those efforts.” We must avoid the extremes of “try harder” and “let go and let God”.