After a little background on the writer of 1 Peter from last week’s study, we’re ready to dive into this great letter from Peter to “God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia.” This letter like the rest of the Bible is inspired or God breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) past, present, and future. Peter as an eyewitness of Jesus life and ministry wasn’t making this stuff up. As he says in his second letter, “16For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16) Peter was there. He witnessed Jesus in action. He had court side seats.

Peter knew that Jesus was the real deal. Jesus the man and Jesus the message was one in the same. Meaning that He didn’t just talk the talk, He walked the walk. Jesus was in a league or category all His own. He stood out. He was distinguishably different than anything that had come before or since, so much so that it changed the world forever. Jesus was altogether and, in every way, separate or “set apart” from the rest of us. However, He didn’t come to Lord “it” over us as a power thing or an ego trip. He came to share “it” with us through His teaching and His life. He modeled “it” for us in every way.

So, what is “it”? Well, Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:14-16 when he says, “14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”  The word “holy” in verses 15-16 comes from the Greek word ἅγιος (hagios) which means to be “set apart by or for God, holy, or sacred”. It also means “different” or “distinguishable” . For example, these verses illustrate that there is a distinguishable contrast or difference between “evil desires” and being “holy” or “obedient”. More on that later, but “holy-ness” is the “it” that I’m referring to.

So how did Jesus do “it”? How was He holy, set apart, or distinguishably different in everything He did? Well for one He was and is God. However, He was also very human, so much so that we’re told that He experienced humanity in the same way that we do. Hebrews 4:15 says,“15For we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus “empathized” with our weaknesses. So, Jesus not only understood our feelings, He shared or felt them in the same way that we do, including temptation or the desire to do evil or sin. However, the BIG difference that separates us from Him is that He did not sin. He didn’t give into temptation. So, that’s one example of how He did “it”. In fact, He was “holy” in “all” He did. It would take a while to give every example so we’ll stop there for now.

Okay, there are a multitude of questions that pop into my head as I’m writing this and I’m sure you could add to them, but ultimately God’s plan was to send His Son Jesus down here to live among us for a reason. In fact, there are several reasons, but for this series we’re basically going to concentrate on one and that’s holiness. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit want us to “be holy” as they are holy. So, if we don’t get anything else from this study or my moronic ramblings, we need to mentally mark or flag “holiness” as important or urgent on our to do lists.

(Most of you already know this, but just in case: God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are what we call the Trinity or Godhead which are three and one at the same time. I know it’s mind blowing, but blowing minds is kind of what God does and is. “He BIG, we small”.)

If we go back to 1 Peter 1:14-16, we are given some specific instructions or commands on how we’re supposed to live or “be holy”. We could call them prerequisites for holiness. They aren’t suggestions and aren’t coming from Peter directly. Again, he didn’t make this up. Peter, like all other Biblical writers or prophets, is just a messenger who is relaying what he was told, taught, trained, or inspired to teach and write from Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. In fact, Peter includes a direct quote from God in verse 16 that comes from Leviticus 19:2 in the Old Testament where God says, “be holy because I am holy”. “I am” is God. It’s the same reference that God uses for Himself in Exodus 3:14 when He is talking to Moses from the burning bush.

Okay, this is a good place to stop. Next week, we’ll continue to unpack more of what holiness looks like and what is required for it. But before I go, I think it’s important to note that holiness isn’t perfection. To be holy is to be “set apart by and for God”, to be more like Jesus who was and is distinguishably different. Remember, Peter wasn’t perfect. He was a mess, and yet he became the rock that Jesus built His church upon. He also wrote this letter that we’re studying. He didn’t give up nor did Jesus give up on Him. So, that should give us hope in our pursuit of holiness.