Study Overview: Today, we will talk about repentance leading to holiness.
Key Point of Struggle: We know the weakness of our flesh, and it often causes us to become discouraged as we strive for holiness. What does God really want?
Key Proof of Comfort: 1 Peter 1:16, Leviticus 20:26
I’ve spent a lot of time praying about this series trying to dissect what it might mean to awaken holiness within us. It’s not that I think we aren’t practicing holiness as we form deeper relationships with Jesus every day of our lives, but what I’m trying to convey by the title A Holy Awakening is that sometimes we become sleepy to this term. We need to examine what holy means with new eyes. What I’ve learned most through my recent study of scripture on this topic is that we equate holy with God alone, which pushes us right out of the picture where holiness is concerned. To some extent, that’s good. To some it’s not. It really depends how you look at it.
To be honest, if someone randomly asked me, today, if I consider myself holy, my initial response would be no. But, here’s the truth: God says yes. I don’t believe God would find my answer acceptable. Why? Because He has said otherwise. Now, don’t get me wrong, we aren’t holy in the way God is holy and we never will be. However, He has designed a plan of holiness for us, and this is what we are working to discover throughout the month of November.
In 1 Peter 1:16, Peter is writing primarily to Christian Jews who were dispersed and enduring persecution throughout the Roman Empire. This particular section of Scripture is titled Living Before God Our Father. Let’s back up a few verses to gain a better view of what he tells the Pilgrims of Dispersion.
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
-1 Peter 13-16 (N.I.V.)
Before we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we weren’t working towards living holy lives. It was in that moment of surrender that everything became clear. Peter is saying that we must be obedient, not turning back to old ways, but practicing in the newness of Christ. And then he begins quoting Scripture.
We have to remember that these men, unbeknownst to them, were writing what we know as the New Testament throughout this period in the first century. So, when Peter and others are quoting from what we know as the Old Testament, they were using the Septuagint. The Septuagint is the Hebrew Scriptures translated in Greek. Many Jewish ancestors had left Israel and subsequent generations lost their ability to read the sacred text in Hebrew, so scribes, who were actually decedents of those trained in Ezra’s synagogue, translated the Holy Word into Greek.
Peter quotes, “Be holy, because I am holy.” We can find many scriptures in the Old Testament that align with this. I happen to love Leviticus 20:26.
‘You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.”
In this particular chapter in Leviticus, The LORD speaks to Moses and gives penalties for breaking the Law. We have to remember this is long before Jesus came in the flesh to die on the cross. At this time in history there were many strict regulations and sacrifices to be made in order to be clean. However, my favorite thing about this verse is that even in the midst of what seemed scary and rigid, we can find grace.
The LORD said, “You are to be holy to me.” For us to be holy in worship and reverence to our God means we must live holy ourselves. With clean hands and a pure heart we were meant to boldly approach the throne and have a place in His kingdom. He goes onto say, “I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.” Yes, when we study in context we know He’s speaking to Moses and the Children of Israel, but today, through the blood of Christ on the cross, we can read that verse as if He’s speaking straight to us. Peter confirms this with His reciting of the Scripture centuries later!
God created me to be holy; He created YOU to be holy!
Throughout these weeks we are going to designate one word, and it’s meaning, to be part of our journey to A Holy Awakening. Today’s word is repent.
Repent: To turn away from sin.
Repentance is the first step in becoming more like God, which actually causes us to become more and more holy each and every day. When we repent of our sins, we never have to worry about guilt. Paul says there is no condemnation in Christ. (See Romans 8:1)
In Kevin J. Conner’s book, The Foundations of Christian Doctrine, he speaks of the benefit of atonement, which is our reconciliation with God through Jesus after repentance. Through this, he discusses perfection when saying this, “God the sinless One, brings the believer into complete adjustment with Himself and His will, eradicating the sin-principle of self-will.”
I don’t know about you, but I want more than anything to be in complete adjustment with the Living God and His will. This brings holiness. It does more than bring it, it awakes it from the deep.
We were created to live a holy life.
We were made for it!
This week in our subscriber only video content, we will talk some more about our theme scripture, why passion is important, and then begin to look into the life of Eve. If you’re not a subscriber, you’re just an email away from deeper study!