Abiding in Christ
Peter was writing to the scattered groups of persecuted Christians in the five Roman provinces. One of the provinces was named Cappadocia. We were told by our tourist guide, that hundreds and thousands of Christians were hiding in these caves, particularly in the first 300 years of Christianity. They were hiding in those mushroom shaped kind of mounds, some of them are large caves.
So this is a tourist area where people can ride in a Hot Air Balloon and see these land formations. As you read in 1 Peter you will notice that some of the Christians had a tendency to give up and go back to their old way of life. Persecution was so difficult and Peter admonished them to persevere.
He said: “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (NIV, 1Pet.1:14-16) This is important, because God Himself is holy and He wants us to be like him, holy. For without holiness, no one can see God.
The Apostle Peter encouraged these persecuted Christians to focus on the “living hope” of the gospel: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” (1Pet.1:3-6)
Then he further pleaded to them, to conduct themselves in harmony with this hope, and exhorting them to break away completely with the old way of life. Holiness is not an endless list of dos and don’ts; it is not legalism and superiority to others; not isolating yourself from the world; it is not an endless memorizing bids and prayers. Holiness is knowing Christ - that is “abiding in Christ.”
Our standard of holiness, therefore, is the life of Christ. Conformity to the life of Christ is the apostolic standard of holiness. Not man’s good works and achievements. It is a gift of God’s grace. All by grace and by grace alone.