In Peter’s first letter, he tells us that we are to be “holy yourselves in all your behavior” (1 Peter 1:12). That’s a pretty tall order for people who live in a fallen world filled with temptations. Thankfully, we don’t have to go it alone. God provides exactly what we need, as Kyle York explains in today’s L3 reading.
“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
The Apostle Paul is exhorting us to a holy way of life in light of certain promises from God. These promises are recorded in 2 Corinthians 6:16–18, where God declares, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people… and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me.” It is vital for us to understand our call to holiness in light of God’s promises; otherwise, we will end up pursuing godly living apart from the Living God!
Here in verse 1, we are called to cleanse ourselves from sin — both external and internal — and to pursue holiness in the fear of God. No one can possibly do this in their own power, but the good news is that we don’t have to. God dwells within us and calls us His children, meaning the God who calls us to holiness also empowers us for it. It is our faith in Christ that grants us the ability to live in a way that pleases Him, and it is His perfect grace that spurs us on to desire what pleases Him.
I am so intimidated when the Bible calls me to be holy. How on earth can I live up to God’s standards? I must always remember, however, that God equips me for what He commands of me. There is nothing He requires of me that His Spirit does not also empower.
Knowing this, I need to wake up each morning glorifying Him for the promises that end 2 Corinthians 6. It is utter grace that God would call me His child and choose to dwell within me! Beyond that, I should desire to live holy because my chief ambition should always be to reflect Christ and glorify Him. It takes no effort at all for me to receive Christ and become God’s child, but it requires great effort each day for me to pursue a holy life. It does not come naturally or accidentally, but only if I truly desire it.
So, this is my simple application that I hope will define every area of my life: I must embrace and rest in God’s wonderful grace, while also diligently pursuing the life that most pleases Him. If I try this on my own, I don’t stand a chance, but if I pursue holiness in deep devotion to Christ, then I cannot fail.
Lord, thank You for Your precious promises of grace, salvation and indwelling. Thank You also for Your high calling to holiness and purity. Please give me a heart that sees these two things as intertwined so that I will never take Your grace for granted, nor seek to be godly without Your Spirit. Father, strengthen me to live this new life in a way to brings You glory and blesses Your great name.