1Peter 1:15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (NIV)
In the first part of this letter, Peter describes the salvation that the new believers had received through their faith (1-10). Then in verses 13 and following he exhorts them to go beyond salvation and to strive for holiness.
I believe this is where modern Christianity loses its way. Most of my church experience taught me that salvation was the goal, and once that goal was achieved, I was to help others reach that same goal. There were attempts at “next steps” but mostly this involved teaching the new believers about baptism, tithing, and encouraging them to lead others to the same goal of salvation. This teaching is not incorrect, it is just incomplete. And it creates a Christian culture that is settling for salvation instead of hungering for holiness.
According to Peter, salvation is not the goal, it is just the gateway. It is not the finish line of Christianity; it is the starting block in the race for holiness.
The word that Peter uses for holy is “hagios,” this is an adjective, not a verb. According to Vine’s Concise Dictionary, this means: … separated from sin and therefore consecrated to God, sacred. Vine’s goes on to say:…sainthood is not an attainment, it is a state into which God in grace calls men; yet believers are called to sanctify themselves, cleansing themselves from all defilement, forsaking sin, living a “holy” manner of life, and experiencing fellowship with God in His holiness.
While the blood of Christ cleansed us from the guilt and penalty of sin at the moment of salvation, we still struggle daily against the habit and dominion of sin. Believers who give into the dominion of sin and live like the world are those who have settled for salvation. They live their live taking advantage of God’s grace instead of striving to sanctify themselves for God’s glory.
Even though the destination is the same, the journey is completely different. In 1 Corinthians 10:31 the Apostle Paul summarized both the biblical standard and the resolute goal of those who are hungering for holiness—“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” All who have trusted in Christ as their savior will enter heaven, but not all are daily hungering for holiness and intentionally living for the glory of God.
Dear friends, are you merely saved and satisfied or are you saved and sanctified—being made holy? Please don’t settle for salvation, but ask Father to give you a hunger for His holiness.
Thank you to Chip Kirk for his input.