Are All Christians Called to Be Holy?

by Mike Ratliff

33 “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
35 “ Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. 36 Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Luke 12:33-36 (NASB)

One recurring warning throughout the New Testament is that Christians should live in such a way that they will be ready when their Lord returns. What would that life look like? How should we live in order to be ready when He comes and knocks? I doubt that it would look like the self-indulgent, pop-culture oriented, heavily marketed, so-called Christian lifestyle that waters down the gospel and breeds “Christians” who are both theologically and scripturally ignorant. They follow “another Jesus” whose creators have designed to fit the image that draws the crowd they want. The “followers” of this “other Jesus” resent any call to live lives of repentance before a Holy God who is to be feared. What does the life look like that is prepared for our Lord’s return? 

13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13 (NASB) 

13 Διὸ ἀναζωσάμενοι τὰς ὀσφύας τῆς διανοίας ὑμῶν νήφοντες τελείως ἐλπίσατε ἐπὶ τὴν φερομένην ὑμῖν χάριν ἐν ἀποκαλύψει Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. 1 Peter 1:13 (NA28)

The first word in this passage is “therefore” or διὸ. “Therefore” is a good translation. It could also have been rendered as “consequently.” This word is referring back to Peter’s exposition of how Christians are born again to a living hope. In light of the wonders of this salvation given to us in 1 Peter 1:3-12, we are being prepared for the eternal purpose of it and how we should live to be ready for it. The following phrase pertaining to this “therefore” is prepare your minds for action. However, the Greek actually should be translated as “girding up (ἀναζωσάμενοι) the loins (ὀσφύας) of your mind (διανοίας).” The NASB translation states what this colloquialism means to the 21st Century Christian, but the original translation would be like us telling our readers to “fasten their seat belts” or “roll up your sleeves.” This is a way to stress that what is required for the life that is prepared for the coming of the Lord is not one of passivity or laziness, but one prepared for vigorous and sustained spiritual exertion.

With the loins of our minds girded up for action, what are we to do? We are also to be sober minded (νήφοντες). To be sober minded is to be discreetly watchful of what is going on. The Christian whose mind is ready for action yet in a sober-minded way is one who doesn’t follow after the crowd. Trends and what the masses go hard after are looked at very carefully by this Christian. Things like the Purpose Driven Church, the seeker sensitive churches, the “Woke” preachers, et cetera will be seen by this Christian for what they really are and he or she will not be deceived nor follow after the crowd. He or she will remain faithful to what the Word of God calls them to do and to be because his or her hope (ἐλπίσατε) will be fully (τελείως) on the grace (χάριν) that will be brought to them at the revelation (ἀποκαλύψει) of Jesus Christ (Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ). Where is the focus of those living this way my brethren? Is it on self with hope tied to things in the temporal? No! Those preparing correctly for the return of their Lord have their hope FULLY on the grace that will come their way at His return! That says a lot about how one lives in the temporal doesn’t it? Will this person hoard the world’s goods or will he or she use what they have to extend the grace given to them by their Saviour?

14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” 1 Peter 1:14-16 (NASB) 

4 ὡς τέκνα ὑπακοῆς μὴ συσχηματιζόμενοι ταῖς πρότερον ἐν τῇ ἀγνοίᾳ ὑμῶν ἐπιθυμίαις 15 ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸν καλέσαντα ὑμᾶς ἅγιον καὶ αὐτοὶ ἅγιοι ἐν πάσῃ ἀναστροφῇ γενήθητε, 16 διότι γέγραπται ἅγιοι ἔσεσθε, ὅτι ἐγὼ ἅγιός . 1 Peter 1:14-16 (NA28)

Notice that those who live this way are called obedient (ὑπακοῆς) children (τέκνα) who are not (μὴ) conformed (συσχηματιζόμενοι) to the passions (ἐπιθυμίαις) of their former ignorance (ἀγνοίᾳ). This is the new life in Christ taught throughout the New Testament. This is a life of repentance and it is not maintained passively, but with a mind that has its loins girded for action. This mind is no longer ignorant or consumed by lusts or passions of the flesh. In v15-16 we have our calling. We are called to be holy as our Lord is holy. This means that we are to be set apart from sin to the service of God. Our standard of and motivation for holiness is the absolute moral perfection of God Himself.

No one is saying that any of us can do this perfectly. If so then there would be no need for the following passage.

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NASB) 

My brethren, we are being called to extricate ourselves from the bondage to our flesh in which this evil world specializes. We are to train up our minds for this high level of discipleship which we find in wonderful passages such as Romans 12:1-2. I pray that all reading this will take this call seriously as they actively pursue this close, holy walk with the Lord as living sacrifices whose minds are being constantly renewed through living the Cross-centered life set apart from the flesh and this evil world to the study of God’s Word, all for His glory.

Soli Deo Gloria!