When you begin to talk about living holy lives, many people have a common misconception that we could never achieve such a thing as to become holy. Fortunately, we do not have to do it in our own strength, and through Jesus it is possible to achieve holiness. Inevitably, we all will fall short in accomplishing the goal of living holy if we try to achieve this goal on our own. We can agree without debate that God the Father, the Creator of the universe, is a Holy being. In fact, it is His Spirit that was sent to be a helper to the Christian believers. Holy Spirit was sent by the Father to remind us all of what Jesus taught while walking on this Earth (John 14:26). However, when it comes to us being holy, we are not even in the same league as the Creator. So, how do we live holy lives as we are told to in 1 Peter 1:15-16? “But as he who has called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” Peter was referencing Levitical scripture from the Torah that speaks to the Israelites about being clean and obeying God’s commandments. Simply put, we are God’s children and He calls us to obey Him. God does not expect us to live perfect lives, but He does expect us to listen to Him and obey what He tells us to do. How many parents out there see their child as perfect even though their child may be disobedient? Parents see their children in a different light than others may see them because of the love that they have for their children. Others may view the same child as difficult to put up with. A disobedient child tests a parent and may irritate others. Proverbs 17.21 tells us “To have a fool for a child brings grief; there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool.” We do not want to be the foolish child that this proverb speaks of. God has an expectation for us to be obedient to his commands. Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey what He has taught us (John 14:15). We do not want to bring grief to our Father in Heaven because of our disobedience. We are to honor our Father and keep his commandments.
Obedience Over Sacrifice
We are called to live holy lives because God is holy. We can see a picture of how God chooses obedience over sacrifice in 1 Samuel 13. Saul had been anointed by Samuel, and was made the first king over Israel. Samuel told Saul that he would visit in seven days and sent Saul on his way. During Saul’s reign as king, Israel was in constant conflict with the Philistines. During this time, Saul’s son Jonathan had attacked an outpost of Philistines and instigated a conflict to arise between the two nations. Saul understood that Israel was outnumbered and his soldiers were beginning to desert him. The troops that stayed with Saul were very afraid of the Philistines. Saul waited on Samuel to come, but he didn’t arrive within the seven days, as previously stated. So, to prevent more of his troops from scattering, Saul offered a burnt offering to the Lord, instead of waiting on Samuel.
When Samuel arrived, he exclaimed “You have done a foolish thing. You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, He would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure…” (v 13:13-14). We see a character flaw in Saul in this story. Saul was more concerned with how the people of Israel looked at him as king than with what was right in God’s eyes. God is more interested in those who obey His commands than those who go through religious activities. Everything in the world already belongs to Him, so the only thing that we have to offer is our obedience and submission. Saul’s kingdom could have been established over Israel forever if he had not taken matters into his own hands. Sometimes we try to make things happen instead of waiting on God. Just like Saul not waiting on Samuel to arrive to make an offering to the Lord, we too can try to live holy by our own strength. When we do this, we will end up failing in some fashion every time. We must rely on Holy Spirit inside of us to live holy lives. It is only through God’s grace that we can live in obedience and submission to Christ.
Chosen To Live Holy
God has given us all grace for certain things. It is by God’s grace that we are believers today and not living the life of sin that we used to live. So, because God’s grace has restored us into relationship with Him through Jesus Christ, we are now positioned to live holy because Christ is alive in us. This doesn’t mean that we live perfect lives, not at all. We still fall short on many occasions, but there is now something inside of us that wants to be holy as God is holy. Holy Spirit lives in the believer who has accepted that Christ has paid a debt for us. In fact, we can see in scripture that we were chosen before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Eph 1:4-5). We were predestined to be positioned in Christ Jesus, before the creation of the world! In turn, we are positioned to live holy lives, because God the Father sees His Son Jesus as Holy and blameless. We are in Him just as He is in us. It is Him living through us that make us capable of living holy lives. Just as a parent sees their child through a different lens than others, God the Father sees you and me through a different lens because we are his children. All we can do to live holy lives is to know our position in Christ; He is in us and we are in Him. We must understand that we cannot live holy lives in our own strength, but we can live holy lives as Christ lives through us. He is our righteousness, because without Him we are nothing. Apart from Him, we cannot accomplish anything but sin. However, through Him we can overcome the world because He lives in us and He is greater than the spirit of this world.