Being Holy (1 Peter 1:14-16)

As I was reading in 1 Peter the other day, a few verses jumped out at me. It has had me pondering NT quotes of the OT and how much we miss as believer because we don’t know the word and where the verses are that are being quoted. This scripture from 1 Peter 1:14-16 (NKJV) I believe is a good example:

as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Most people recognize this verse that’s being quoted – in the sense that they have heard it, but most of the people I have asked have no idea of the context of this verse (I didn’t know when my hubby asked me!). The scripture being quoted is

Leviticus 11:45, which in the ESV reads:

For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

Nothing too ground breaking there, so let’s expand our context by adding the 2 verses before and after, and I’ve bolded our verse:

You shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that swarms, and you shall not defile yourselves with them, and become unclean through them. For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”

This is the law about beast and bird and every living creature that moves through the waters and every creature that swarms on the ground, to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean and between the living creature that may be eaten and the living creature that may not be eaten.

That’s right, the verse where YHVH tells us to be holy as He is holy is in the chapter on clean and unclean foods. I don’t know about you, but that baffled me when I realized that because frankly, it seemed strange to consider that He’d think it was SUCH a big deal… right? Or does He?

So let’s come back to our NT verse again and this time ponder what it is saying given the context of what it is quoting:

as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

I’ve emphasized a few things here that stood out to me.

  1. He’s instructing us to be obedient. Which begs the question – obedient to what? I believe this refers to His Torah (i.e. His commandments/instructions which are given throughout the Word).
  2. We are NOT to continue in our lusts as we did in ignorance before we knew Him. I can draw this conclusion because these verses are found in a segment of scripture discussing salvation. So we have sort of a “here’s what you look like before” and “here’s what you look like after” thing going on here. Before we didn’t know we should obey His commandments, which means we may have eaten pork and shellfish, etc. BUT now that we know Him, we are not to be driven by our lusts (yes, I know bacon tastes good), but rather we are to obey (as we note in point #1).
    • Note: If you want to know what that looks like practically, I share what it looks like in my walk in this post.
  3. We’re encouraged to be holy in ALL our conduct. In other words, Peter appears to be acknowledging there are other applications for this concept of holiness – where we keep ourselves from being defiled (and I agree! For me personally, and since we’re talking about food, I’d likely include most processed foods that were former favs – it benefits me to resist those lusts as well even though scripture may not address them directly. I can eat and enjoy that which He created).
  4. Finally, we’re reminded We are to be holy as He is holy. In other words, we should mirror Him, trust that He knows more than us and simply follow His instructions (aka His Torah).

Lest we miss the point Peter is making here, the next verse reminds us we will be judged by our work(s). In other words our actions, our deeds – the things that show our own personal righteousness (not the kind that leads to salvation – for none of us are that righteous save One – but the righteousness that leads to rewards). It matters to the Father whether we obey His instructions. In the same way it would matter to ANY parent whether their child cleaned their room when they were told – even if they wouldn’t be spanked if they didn’t (because we’re under grace) 😉

Anyhow, that was my pondering… I found it interesting the NT is so clearly discussing these former lusts and yet we can completely miss what’s being discussed if we don’t know our Word. This was a good reminder to me that I need to study more! I pray it encourages you as well 🙂

One thought on “Being Holy (1 Peter 1:14-16)

  1. I don’t eat pork or shellfish either. If anyone ask, I say “because it causes cancer and has parasites” There is scientific evidence that pork carries parasites and is unsafe, even after cooking because the parasites may not all die out. Also, hogs can have sores under their feet from where they wallow. This serves as an area for more infection to come in. So these are some literal reasons not to eat it, for your health.

    Since this is the subject of being Holy/Set-Apart, I thought I might could address something going on in my life, that I feel is important to the will of G-d, yet thoughts keep giving me issues, despite what I sense is urging me to do something.

    I have something that has been on my heart for quite a while and it will NOT go away no matter how hard I try to make it. I have been doing experiments with it for a while now. It is something I love, it has benefits, it gives me pleasure beyond anything of the physical relationship [spiritual fulfillment], and it is something I would defend against vandals. I wouldn’t destroy it for any reason. If I had to give it up, I would give it to someone who would care for it and continue to work with it. There is absolutely nothing I sense that is getting in the way of IEUE here. Rather, it helps me stay motivated on my cause for Him [this is character development, tending to the needy when necessary, and providing alternatives to psychiatric drugs and therapy for children] I can honestly say that it helps me to stay going in times when I feel like giving up everything. This happens because of what people say to me usually. I feel like I must try to make someone happy all the time. If they tell what I have is wrong, despite what I feel IEUE is telling, I automatically think that teacher is right and feel I have to do what they say to make them and IEUE happy.

    I have shared my views on this “vision” of mine with other teachers and they have literally told me it was idolatrous. Even my own family has seemed to say that, just because it has meaning and I would defend it. Here would come the stage of trying to make someone happy again because if I didn’t, I would either feel like I was wrong, like I was damned, or like I was going to lose all of my heavenly rewards. Keep in mind that this “vision” even though it is far from being a complete thing is something that feel has been put on my heart to do.

    According to the Torah, I know what constitutes idolatry. It is NOT general sculptures as some would say. It is:

    Making an image to “contain the creator/put Him in a box” thus limiting His potential
    Bowing to an image as the Creator
    Praying to an image aka: Mary worship
    Offering burnt offerings to an image
    Offering praise and thanksgiving to an image

    Other Mighty Ones constitute:

    Serving teachers in place of IEUE
    Serving money and wealth [I don’t even want money]
    Serving Pagan gods and IEUE at the same time

    Despite these things that I have learned from the Torah, I still felt like I had to please these thoughts that these teachers planted in my head. Once these thoughts were planted, they were hard to simply get rid of. You will be surpised at the way some people can word things and twist them it seems. They can make you feel like everything in your house is an “idol” or that you have to be willing to destroy anything or it’s an idol, or that having value or pleasure from something makes it an idol. I have come in contact with these exact teachings from different teachers and even with some teachers who use filthy language and instill fear. I know things like this are not good. I also know that Jesus says it’s not good to be around these type of people, even if it’s your own family when it comes to fulfilling the will of IEUE that has been put on your heart.

    So, to try and please these rampant thoughts that were planted in my head by teachers and others, I tried to purge and get rid of the very thing I felt was put on my heart. I did everything from:

    Praying it away more than seven times [it didn’t go away]
    Testing the spirits ie: “Lord, If you said this is an idol and abominable, please confess Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” [no answer came]
    Casting it out as a demon thought ie “I command you under the authority of Jesus Christ to leave my conscience” [it didn’t go away]
    Telling myself it’s a lie
    Telling myself it is crazy childish immaturity
    Telling myself the adult or teacher is always right
    Telling myself it’s a mental illness
    Banishing all thoughts of it
    Telling myself that all tangible things must be treated like trash before IEUE and are worthless
    Telling myself there’s no endeavors in eternity
    Telling myself that anything of pleasure and value is an idol

    No matter what I did, this would never leave me alone. I would try to throw all of my work away, but I would find myself crying over it if I did. It was just that meaningful, something that would not go away at all. Trying to please these intruding thoughts and people has caused my character to deplete, and me to curse G-d in my head as loud as possible. I am NOT lying here. This is what resulted and still is resulting from trying to make people happy over this whether teachers or people in my own house. In order to make them happy, it seems I have to agree on everything they say and destroy the very thing that I feel led to do that will not go away. I have even been told I need medicine to purge it from my mind. I am really in a bind and do not know what to do at all. I know I am supposed to do something, but if I try, it will either be labelled as idolatrous or destroyed in my own house. No kidding.

    I know this is something not made up because it won’t leave. I have been told this is childishness, that it is idolatrous, that it is a mental illness and everything else, simply because of the “fads” I went though as a child. This is where my character crashed because it led me to wanting to hurt someone because they did not accept it and said “they were always right” I have even been led to drama and gossip because this was not accepted. I don’t know what to do. I love this so much and it is something that I do not want to give up just to make someone happy. Disobeying something IEUE tells you to do or doing it differently from what He instructs is not practising Holiness and can even be an abomination, I know.

    I still am feeling these bad thoughts today because I know there is nothing I can say to convince anything. I will probably be yelled at if I do. Because of this, it is as if I still feel like it is stupid. I have literally lost belief, stopped praying, and stopped reading scripture. I just cannot believe in IEUE if my very “vision” is not accepted in my own house. It feels so stupid just to talk about it.

    If Holiness is obedience and I am not going along with what He has revealed just because of thoughts and views of teachers, I know something has to be wrong and I am not practising good holiness.

    Have any advice for a case like this?

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