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Rooted in Christ

Well Behaved Children

We are to be holy as our heavenly Father is holy.

“Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16, NKJV) 

For what are we to prepare our minds, focus our attention, and direct our steps (1:13)? Peter picks up a theme with which he began his letter – obedience. He urges us on “as obedient children.” At the outset, Peter informed us that we were chosen for obedience (1:2). Now, after reminding us that we are heirs in Christ, he addresses us as obedient children. 

Peter fleshes out this obedience in two ways. Negatively, he insists that we no longer live in a manner that characterized us prior to our conversion to Christ. Positively, Peter urges us to live consistently with our new life in Christ, being “holy in all our conduct.” 

This before-and-after thread runs throughout Peter’s letters. Living out our newness in Christ brings glory to God and prompts others to see our good behavior and give glory to our Father in heaven. It is the natural and necessary consequence of our new birth by which we are counted heirs. 

Peter will come at this call to obedience in a variety of ways, building his case that the gospel brings us not merely to a new status but also to a new manner of living. The apostle Paul adopted the same tact. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)” (Eph. 5:8–9). 

We are light in the Lord; therefore, we are to be light. We are to be holy as our heavenly Father is holy. 

That begs the question, how is our Father holy? How are we to emulate Him? We are to be set apart, internally and externally consistent, and at odds with evil. Growing in the knowledge of God will enable us to apprehend two things: a deeper understanding of holiness, and a more profound grasp of our absolute need for Jesus Christ. 

REFLECTION: Our call to holiness for Christ flows from our condition of holiness in Christ. "Father, grant me grace to pursue holiness."

Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Stan Gale

Stanley D. Gale (MDiv Westminster, DMin Covenant) has pastored churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania for over 30 years. He is the author of several books, including A Vine-Ripened Life: Spiritual Fruitfulness through Abiding in Christ and The Christian’s Creed: Embracing the Apostolic Faith. He has been married to his wife, Linda, since 1975. They have four children and nine grandchildren. He lives in West Chester, Pa.
Books by Stan Gale

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