Reflection: The Old Testament quotation used by Peter in this passage – “Be holy, because I am holy” (Lev. 11:44) – was our verse on Day 3. Today we will look at the New Testament context in which Peter referred to it. He was trying to encourage the first generation of Christians, who were enduring various trials in a hostile pagan world.
Like many effective leaders, Peter used both the carrot and the stick. The carrot was the prospect of the grace to be extended to all of Jesus’ true followers on his return (i.e., eternal life in Heaven). The stick was the prospect of God’s final judgment (which will be meted out by Jesus on the Father’s behalf – Jn. 5:22, 27).
Living in as holy a way as is humanly possible, with a glad and thankful heart, is a fitting response to God’s gracious gift of forgiveness (2 Cor. 7:1; Col. 3:17). It is also the best evidence of true faith in Christ (Mt. 7:21; Eph. 2:10). Deliberately to continue in sin on the assumption that you have been justified in any event – “antinomianism” – is a despicable insult to God (cf. Rom. 6:15-23).
Question: Contemporary theologian David Bentley Hart contends that the post-Christian West has been suffering for decades from the widespread loss among its citizens of “the cautery of fear, the balm of hope”. Do you agree?
Prayer: Father, please help me to be holy. Help me to set my hope on eternal life and to live out my life here on Earth in reverent fear of your judgement through the Son. Amen