Do we really need to live godly lives, and if so, why? Yes we do, because our Father has thus instructed us: “You must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living [before conversion] to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:14-16 NLT, emphasis added).
Is God holy? Yes, God is holy! He demonstrates that by His disdain for sin! Isaiah prophesied, “The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore” (Isaiah 59:1-2 NLT). John’s experience recorded in Revelation tells us the words of the song of Moses and the Lamb as sung in heaven, “Great and marvelous are your works, O Lord God, the Almighty. Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations. Who will not fear you, Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous deeds have been revealed” (Revelation 15:3-4 NLT, emphasis added). Yes, righteousness (holiness) has been ascribed to Him alone; God is indeed holy!
God wants us to be holy, and the Scriptures remind us constantly about our charge to be holy, and we ought to take it seriously. Holiness was His plan for us before the beginning of time; amazing! No wonder He tells us His plans for us are for our welfare (see Jeremiah 29:11). Paul puts it this way: “God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:9 NLT). “We urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God … God’s will is for you to be holy … God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives” (1Thessalonians 4:1, 3, 7 NLT).
God has not left us to guess what our charge is, nor to figure out the details on our own. Instead, He has shown us how! As God planned our holiness, He sent Jesus to bring about our salvation and keep us on the path of holiness: 1) “Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood” (Hebrews 13:12 NLT). 2) “For by that one offering, he forever made perfect those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14 NLT).
Since we’ve established that our Father wants us to be holy, let’s move on to the strategy—how to be holy. The Scripture tells us, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life” (2 Peter 1:3 NLT, emphasis added). He has given us His Word to instruct, correct, guide, encourage us (see 2 Timothy 3:16). This calls for diligence in reading, studying, and applying the Word to our lives. Knowing the Word and obeying it are key to maturity. Our minds are renewed as we do what the Word says. The Holy Spirit, who is our Teacher and Advocate according to the scripture, will teach us everything we need to know (see John 14:26), but of course we need to be willing to be taught. So yes, providing the Word and the Spirit is proof that God has provided all we need to live a life that pleases Him.
In addition to the Spirit teaching us, we are also charged with teaching and encouraging one another. Included in the Great Commission is the charge to teach new converts the Word of God (see Matthew 28:20).
The Psalmist has discovered this truth about God. Meditate on it; you’ll gain a new respect for the Word of God: “The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair … They are a warning to your servant, a great reward to those who obey them” (Psalm 19:7-9, 11 NLT). Are we obeying them?
Ask yourself, and answer honestly: are you being obedient to the Word? Obeying the Word is the only way we carry out our charge of, “Be holy because I am holy.”