A Brief Meditation for the Month

June 2023

A divine requirement for God’s people is that they are distinguished from the ungodly society around them by personal holiness. The apostle Peter reminds us in his first epistle of this when he cites God’s words to the Israelites from the book of Leviticus 11:44–45. Peter wrote: “As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15–16. It is not difficult to understand from scripture that the children of God should bear a resemblance in their daily lives and conduct to their heavenly Father. As God in his holiness is apart from all and everything else, so his people are set apart from the ungodly society surrounding them. Although they are living in the world, they are not of the world, as Jesus was not of it, John 17:14–16. Christians are motivated by a different spirit. They shine as lights in the darkness of sinful society.

When Peter wrote to believers in Christ, he called them to holiness because they had been redeemed from the slavery and bondage of sin. They had, as the apostle Paul expressed it, been “bought with a price” 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23. Paul told the Corinthians: “Ye are not your own for ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s,” 6:20. The redemption price was paid for the whole person; not for part of the person. If therefore I belong to God, he owns me entirely, to do with me whatever pleases him, verse 19. If I understand and appreciate the price of my redemption and the purpose in it, then I will desire to be holy. Peter gives us the reason believers should be holy—“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…but with the precious blood of Christ,” 1 Peter 1:18–19. Out of love for perishing sinners, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gave his life as “a ransom for many” Mark 10:45. He made a full atonement for them, and by the efficacy of his precious blood, he justifies those who could never justify themselves before a holy God. To every true believer, the blood shed for their redemption must be ever precious, and prized by them, because, as we read in the epistle to the Hebrews: “Without shedding of blood is no remission” of sins, Hebrews 9:22. Because of his love for them, Jesus Christ was willing to give his life and shed his blood to save sinners, leaving them nothing to do but trust him. Out of loving gratitude, then, the justified sinner can do nothing less than testify, “We love him because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. Christ’s blood is precious to believers because it testifies to his love for them. As one of the old divines so aptly stated it: “In every drop of Christ’s blood, there is an ocean of love.” Truly, the love of the Saviour far surpasses our comprehension. However, the reality of it must impact the believer to pursue with earnestness a life of personal holiness, “without which no man shall see the Lord,” Hebrews 12:14. Sadly, in this generation, many identify themselves as followers of Christ, yet they do not appear to follow holiness. They claim to be Christians, but they do not forsake their sins. They may be apparently quite religious, but they refuse to embrace the Saviour’s stipulation that if they are to follow him, they must first deny themselves, willing to bear the cross and follow him to the end. It is not according to our sinful inclination to pursue holiness, and thus without a saving work of grace, we automatically seek the pleasures of sin. The God-given desire to be holy in all of life is evidence that we have spiritual life within us. Dear friend, do you have such evidence personally? Is your life marked “HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD?” Zechariah 14:20.

G. G. Hutton.