1 Peter 1:14–16 (ESV) … 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Everything associated in an intimate way with God is to be holy. This will include the Lord’s Day, the Lord’s house, which is the sanctuary, and God’s Word, the Bible. These things are all holy because they are associated in a special way with him. So the same principle must apply to his people. God’s people must be distinct and separate people. As Stuart Briscoe says: ‘To be holy … is not to be stale or sterile, but rather to be refreshingly, distinctly different.’
This injunction is not an option; it is essential. It is not even an ideal to be aimed at; it is a goal to be achieved. Just as ignorance and sin are characteristics of the natural man, so obedience and holiness must be the characteristics of the spiritual man.
It is the calling which places an obligation upon us. It is, if you like, part of the requirement of being invited into membership of this exclusive society.
It should not surprise us that this kind of purity is at worst mocked and at best misunderstood outside of the church. There, the tendency is to compare your standards and lifestyle with that of others. That rule of thumb has no relevance when you belong to the family of God. God is utterly different and distinct, and this is to be the characteristic of his people. ‘For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son.…’ (Rom. 8:29). ‘The supreme purpose of redemption is to make men holy,’ says Andrew McNabb.