“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all your manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy”.
(1 Peter 1:15-16)
When it is written: “Be ye holy; for I am holy”, we should not think that something is expected from man. Someone who reads these words, might be terror-struck, yea, he could have the sense of being lost forever. In himself he perceives nothing but the opposite of what these words say. He is full of lusts and covetousness. And then having to be holy, like God is holy! Oh, someone may think, then it is a lost matter forever!
However, this is not God’s intention. When God says: “Be ye holy, for I am holy”, then this is really nothing but a promise: the promise that God will sanctify us. Who is He that speaks: “Be ye holy, for I am holy”? “He” – the apostle Peter says – “He Which hath called you.” And now the following words do apply: “Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it” (1 Thes. 5:24). Now if someone with a contrite heart casts his eyes on Jesus and through Jesus on God (and only a broken-hearted man will do that), – I say again: has someone who is terrified in his heart by the judgment of God cast his eyes on the Gospel, wherein God appears as a Saviour, and not as a Destroyer – then he sees God like He is in Christ Jesus. What does that man do then? As often as it is given unto him to go to God Who has called him, he says: “Lord, I have need of that which Thou promiseth, but I am unable to bring this about myself. What I have need of and what Thou hast promised, may I expect that from Thee? With this question I come to Thee, because Thou hast made that promise to all those who through grace have cast their eyes upon the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of Thy love.”
Then such a heart is no longer in terror. Quite the opposite, he is happy that these words are written, and he hears in them another word of the Scripture: “… that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them” (Eze. 20:12).
And so is there always much shame with the Church of the Lord and with every believer. Nevertheless he will not depart from his God, but he says: “Do Thou, Lord, as thou hast said” (2 Sam. 7:25).
(From: Meditations, 2 February. Sermon on 1 Peter 1:15-16, 29 December 1931 in Delft.)