Part 5B shows that God wants a believer to live a holy life and the Bible gives guidance on holy living
Holy living is precisely what God wants from a believer. A text like 1 Peter 1:15–16 (ESV) makes God’s command to be “holy” crystal clear:
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.”
The Greek adjective hagios translates as “holy,” and it means to be set apart in that one who is holy has morally upright or pure qualities. See Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 744). New York: United Bible Societies; Newman, B. M., Jr. (1993). A Concise Greek-English dictionary of the New Testament. (p. 2). Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; United Bible Societies.
The concept of holiness or “holy living” means that “Christians are to offer themselves as holy sacrifices (Rom. 12:1). … Holiness here has moral content and stands opposed to impurity,” See Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (p. 17). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
None of God’s attributes is more important than His holiness. It, therefore, seems that to strive for a holy life would be a goal for a Christ-follower. Rather than conform to the world, a Christian is to be different or holy (hagios) meaning that there is a lifestyle difference defined in quality. For a Christian, who has been “called” (1 Peter 1:15) by God to be His child, to be holy includes a hatred for sin and a complete dedication to that which is good and acceptable to God. See Arichea, D. C., & Nida, E. A. (1980). A handbook on the first letter from Peter (p. 36). New York: United Bible Societies.
As one commentator writes:
Holiness produces in our lives a loving conformity to God’s commands which ultimately produces the character of God in us.
Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, pp. 12–13). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Commentators disagree about the Scriptural source for verse 16. Whatever the specific text Peter had in mind, the fact of the matter is that the theme he expressed runs throughout the Old Testament. And that theme is, “God’s people are to live holy and pleasing lives because God is holy and good.” See Schreiner, T. R. (2003). 1, 2 Peter, Jude (Vol. 37, pp. 80–81). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
In summary, Scripture calls a Christian to live a holy life, and a holy life is a lifestyle quantitatively different from that of the world. It is a lifestyle that displays a hatred for sin and a love for conformity to God’s holy standards.
The Bible is the source of guidance about how a Christian is to live a holy life. Therefore, Bible study exposes a person to what comprises a holy life. There is several passages that characterize God’s Word as a lamp that gives light, i.e., guidance, to one’s path, i.e., living life. In the 21st Century, this is a metaphor since light is necessary to show the way and thereby keep a person from stumbling and falling in the present darkness.
Psalm 119:105 states very clearly that the Bible guides a person to holy living when it (ESV) reads:
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Here, the expressions of “lamp” and “light” represent the guidance that God provides through His Word. The corresponding expressions of “feet” and “path” represent one’s life or behavior. See Bratcher, R. G., & Reyburn, W. D. (1991). A translator’s handbook on the book of Psalms (pp. 1027–1028). New York: United Bible Societies. It follows that God’s Word discloses to the believer the information or data that is necessary to determine God’s will and then live in obedience to His revealed will. See Constable, T. (2003). Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Ps 119:97–105). Galaxie Software. Through His Word, i.e., the Bible, we learn what to follow, i.e., that which is right, and what to avoid, i.e., that which is wrong or error. See Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 383). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
The light given by God’s Word is the guide to keeping one’s way pure, i.e., the instructions for holy living. The Psalmist writes in Psalm 119:9–11 (ESV):
9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. 10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Here, the Psalmist first asks the question of how can I live a holy life? He then answers his question by saying that it is through God’s Word one lives (or knows how to live) a holy life. In other words, God’s Word contains the way or instructions to live a godly life.
In verse 10, the Psalmist seeks God with his whole heart and asks that God would not let him wander from the teachings of God’s Word. In verse 11, he has stored up, i.e., memorized, God’s Word in his heart so that he can live a holy life, i.e., might not sin against God. As one commentator writes:
The Word of God is the agent the Spirit of God used to regenerate the hearts of all of us who are saved (Eph. 5:25–27), and he continues to use that same cleansing power in our lives. By that Word, the Holy Spirit shows us what pleases God and what doesn’t and, in so doing, calls us away from sin and into purity of life.
Ellsworth, R. (2006). Opening up Psalms (pp. 24–25). Leominster: Day One Publications.
The New Testament supports the principle that the Bible teaches about how to live a holy life. In this regard, Peter writes in 2 Peter 1:19 (ESV):
19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,
We see that Peer instructs his audience to “pay attention” to what God’s Word says. The Greek verb prosechō means “pay attention,” and it means to turn one’s mind to or to pay close attention to something. See Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 353). New York: United Bible Societies.
Peter describes God’s Word as “a lamp shining in a dark place.” Here, the “lamp” is God’s Word (see Davids, P. H. (2006). The letters of 2 Peter and Jude (pp. 208–209). Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.) and is along the lines of the “lamp” in Psalm 119:105. The “dark place” can be our present 21st Century America, and even in many instances, the American church. See Arichea, D. C., & Hatton, H. (1993). A handbook on the letter from Jude and the second letter from Peter (pp. 97–98). New York: United Bible Societies.
We see that Peter is instructing his audience to turn their minds or attention to God’s Word for correction, warning, guidance, and encouragement. Turning to God’s Word will allow us to walk in safety or live a holy life consistent with God’s Word. See Walls, D., & Anders, M. (1999). I & II Peter, I, II & III John, Jude (Vol. 11, pp. 113–114). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers. Relying on the Bible is especially the case in an environment in which false teaching abounded, and in which only God’s Word is true light for holy living. See Constable, T. (2003). Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (2 Pe 1:19). Galaxie Software.
Holy living is a lifestyle every Christian ought to deeply desire. 21st Century America desperately needs holy living. The Bible teaches that God wants a Christian to live a holy life. The Bible gives guidance about how to live a holy life. It is clear that Bible study, i.e., knowing how to study the Bible, is vital to a Christian living a holy lifestyle.
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