There is no one like God, completely and morally perfect. God will do whatever it takes to ensure his children are progressing towards holiness. Pastor Lutzer examines 1 Peter 1:15-16, uncovering how we can imitate our heavenly Father. How does God intend to lead us to holiness?
“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 1:15–16
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Transcript: Welcome to 5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer. We are exploring the attributes of God; the mysterious, great, and wonderful attributes of God. And we’re discovering that that exploration actually leads to transformation. You’ve often heard me say that I believe that whenever we contemplate God, we’re either rebuked, we are encouraged—but always we should be led to worship.
Today’s verse comes to us from 1 Peter. We’re talking, of course, about the holiness of God. And it says this: “As he who has called you is holy, so also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written: ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”
Now let’s just spend a moment understanding that theologians have seen that there are two different kinds of attributes of God. There are incommunicable attributes; that simply means that these are attributes that can never be ours: Omnipresence, omniscience, et cetera. Those attributes belong only to God and will forever belong only to God.
But there are also communicable attributes: love, for example. For example, Jesus taught that we should love one another, we should forgive one another, that we might be like our Heavenly Father, who shows mercy even on the unjust. That is God-likeness, godliness. Holiness is a communicable attribute. “Be holy, for I am holy.” That’s God’s expectation, and that is His plan for His people.
You know, from time to time parents ask me this question; they say, “You know, our child was raised in a Christian home, he received Christ as Savior, he memorized all the verses; he has gone to university, he’s lost his faith, he’s living immorally. Do you actually think that he was saved?” And I always have to answer that I don’t know; only God knows the heart. But this much I can tell you: if he is a Christian he is very very miserable. And the reason is because it is God’s intention to lead him to holiness, and God is bringing about that misery—anger, guilt, and whatever else—God is bringing that about so that he might be brought to repentance.
As far as the unsaved are concerned, they can live an immoral life without any twinge of conscience. They deaden their conscience and they enjoy it. A Christian can’t. Like Father, like son. The Father is holy. The Father’s desire is that His sons and daughters be holy. And God works toward that holiness and uses conviction, and even trouble, to bring us along the line.“Be ye holy, for I am holy.” That means that we should hate sin and we should love righteousness.
You know, there is a story that comes to us from the times of Alexander the Great. Apparently there was a man who was a coward and turned back in battle. And Alexander was very angry with him, and shouted at the man and said, “What is your name?” The man said, “Alexander, sir.” And Alexander the Great said, “Either change your character or change your name!” If you’re named Alexander, live like Alexander.
And I say to you today, my friend, that if you are a believer, let’s remember, if God is our Father and He is holy, we should be progressing in holiness. Like Father, like son, like daughter. God is bringing that about. In fact, in the very next verse it talks about living in the fear of God. That’s a subject we don’t talk about very often today, but there it is in 1 Peter chapter one. in God’s Word.
What am I asking you to do today? I want you to contemplate the holiness of God and I want you to pray that God will birth in you and in me this desire for holiness, that we might be God-like. Think about that; pray about it, ask Him for it. And today, go with God.