(Article for publication week of 2-16-2011 AD)
"Because it is written, ‘ be ye holy, for I am holy’ " (I Peter 1:16).
First of all, I call your attention to the opening statement in our text this week- “because it is written.” We see two plain facts from this statement. First we see the scriptures are our whole and sole authority. Peter cites not tradition, nor human philosophy, but scripture alone. Secondly, we see the continuing validity of the Old Testament, for our text is a quotation from Leviticus 11:44. Any teaching that tries to set aside the Old Testament is erroneous. We forget sometimes that all the Church had for her first few years were the Old Testament scriptures. All the preaching in the Book of Acts was from the Old Testament, and the Apostles continually cite the Old Testament in their epistles. The authority of the scriptures and the extant validity of the Old Testament are truths which need to be emphasized in our day.
Now let us note well that the Thrice Holy God of the Bible calls us to be holy as He is holy. God Who is perfectly immaculate and complete in moral character, commands us to be pure in heart, temper, and dispositions. He commands us to be free from sin and sinful affections. This is a command that you had better be in dead earnest about, for you will not see God without holiness (Hebrews 12:14). Mark it down friends, the only people who will ever see God in peace and live in heaven with Him are people that have been made holy.
God is so holy that he will not let anyone live in heaven that is not like Himself. We read in Habakkuk 1:13, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.” Unless you become a holy person, you will not be permitted into heaven and the only thing left for God to do with you if you stay unholy is to send you to hell forever and ever. Hell is for everybody that refuses to be holy.
My dear reader, do you want to be holy like God, or had you rather just stay like you are? This is a question with eternal implications, for we read in the book of Revelation 22:11, “ he that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” However you leave this world, that is the way you will stand in God’s judgment. And however you are found in the Day of Judgment is the way you will be fixed for eternity. I leave you with a quote from a sound man from the past- “no holiness, no heaven.” Let that sink in.