“Receiving the goal of your faith - the salvation of your souls” as Peter writes in verse 9 is a process - and rightly so as we live on earth, subjected to the trials, sufferings, temptations and pressures of the world.
Salvation is a gift which God is giving his people. ‘Planned by the Father, accomplished through the Son and applied by the Holy Spirit’, writes the commentator on Peter’d letter.
In certain nation’s Governments, it is understood that the staff of the administration “serve at the pleasure” of the President or leader of the nation. Their ultimate purpose is to fulfil the orders of the leader even when it goes against their personal viewpoints and ideologies. The personal is set aside to fall in under the leadership.
We serve the King of Kings - the God of Gods.
The way of the Father is our own way and even when it does not conform to the way of our personal ease, we serve him and not our own means and ends. We are constantly drawn back to the life of Jesus as we work this out. Jesus served. He served the people. He served those who didn’t know him. He served his own disciples in washing their feet. He didn’t put on the robes of state and rise above the needs of the people - rather, he took on true humility and served those in front of him whatever the cost.
Holiness and obedience are inextricably linked.
We cannot be holy without subjecting ourselves to the will and purpose of God in this earth. And as we look at Jesus, we see the order - we suffer for God and then we enter into his glory.
Jesus’ suffering was often in the meeting of the people who were rejected by their society. The widows and outcasts - sufferers of infectious skin diseases, people troubled by voices in their heads; those who were lame from birth, women who were not considered acceptable in various ways or those who had some other thing that marked them out as different and awkward and removed them from fellowship.
Jesus would be filled with compassion - deeply moved by their sufferings. He met them with the kingdom of God and brought them peace and acceptability. In Jesus, they were transformed and healed of that which had broken them.
Obedience to God is that desire to serve him for the good of his world. This is part of our evangelistic task.
We make Jesus known when we serve at the pleasure of the Father. Freely choosing to honour his way and to love his people. And this most often leads to suffering.
Jesus’ greatest suffering would be in his service to the whole world on the cross.
Arrested, Beaten, Lied about and Tortured, his greatest suffering was in the final separation from his Father as he died under the weight of the sin of all the world. Yours, mine - the neighbour you don’t speak to and the person that has made your life a misery through their own deceitful behaviour against you - Jesus died for love of all.
Being Holy is to enter into God’s arena and to love to do what is right.
It doesn’t always suit our timetable and it can end up with cuts and bruises for the suffering we bear on behalf of the Kingdom… but holiness and the pursuit of it is to subject ourselves wholly to God’s timetable and Gods’ ways. Life is becoming more complex in this generation. There has been a wholesale rejection of Christianity and of truth in general. We talk of ‘my truth’ and ‘my reality’ and this is almost always experiential and based out of compassion for how we view people being treated or a very self-centred viewpoint in which we are at the centre of the universe.
Being Holy is to know that you are not sufficient.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made - yes! Absolutely! You are unique and valuable beyond measure. Yes… that is again the case - but there is more. You are not the centre of the universe. You are not perfect. You are not without sin. There is a lot wrong with the world view that each of us holds when we have made ourselves and our desires king of our lives.
If you have everything - what would you do? There is a meme site that ridicules preachers for investing more in ‘sneakers’ than in the service of God. There is an ‘I’ve earned it’ attitude that has crept into faith. An entitlement that is unwarranted and frankly beneath us.
We are saved to serve.
Saved from the sins of the world. The sins of position and acquisition. The sins driven by lust and the desire for sexual gratification. Saved from the trivial desires for more and to live easily. Jesus, on his last night of freedom chose to serve. To take basin and towel and to wash the feet of his disciples. They didn’t earn it, they didn’t deserve his ministry but he chose to serve.
God took towel and basin and rolled up his sleeves to serve the world. In Jesus, he suffered the outrages of the world and all its injustices. But God raised him from the dead and exalted him to his right hand in Glory.
We become holy by being obedient to God. To listening to his call on our lives. To take up the cross, the way of sacrifice and to follow Jesus.
Being Holy is the pursuit of God.
The deliberate intention to look to God rather than to the world for our lead. To acknowledge that we are not perfect and that the things we need to surrender to God are for our good and also the good of those we serve in his name.
Be prepared to live a life of transformation. Not clinging to the things of this earth but putting them to death in order that, Resurrected, we might live the life to which we are called.
For God’s glory and that we might also enter into the glory of God through Christ who died for our sins.