Next week begins our journey through the book of Leviticus. Allen Mosely writes, “The book of Leviticus describes how the Lord was to be worshiped-through the sacrificial system.” Our study material adds to this saying, “The overall theme of the book of Leviticus is holiness.” Peter would quote from Leviticus 19:2 saying, “Be holy, for I am holy” (1st Peter 1:16). For us, the question we may need to ask in preparation for this study is this, what does it mean to be holy?
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully
upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…
1st Peter 1:13
The idea of “holiness” (hagios) in its very simplest concept means to set apart to God. For the Christian, it carries two fundamental truths: first, what God has done to or for us, through Christ. The word “therefore” should cause us to look at what was previously said. God has “begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1st Peter 1:3). Instead of begotten, another translation uses the words “born anew,” while another speaks of “new life.” Paul penned it this way, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love…” (Colossians 1:13). What God has done, and will do for us through Christ, which includes the inheritance reserved in heaven, is “incorruptible and undefiled” and “does not fade away” (1st Peter 1:4) and is something we should “rest your hope fully upon.”
…but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all
your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
1st Peter 1:15-16
Have you ever heard someone say, “Act your age”? It seems that in a sense, that is what God is calling His followers to do; that is, act holy because I who am holy has made you holy. They would “be holy” by “not conforming” (1st Peter 1:14) to the way they acted before coming to Christ. As one person wrote, “God’s call has brought them into a new relationship to him (holiness given), and this relationship calls for them to refrain from certain things and to do certain things (being holy).”
Hope and holiness are intimately woven together, but must never be taken out of order. God’s willingness to make us holy, through Christ, provides a hope that can, through God’s power, help to guide us in living holy for Him. Thank you God for Your grace!