To Be Holy, What Must One Do? What law do we keep?


This is a question which was viewed on Facebook.

This question references 1 Peter 1: 15-16 which says, “But 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.”

The question asked was,  “How do we know how to be “holy”? And a second question arose, “Does it sound very optional here? What is the purpose of holiness?”

A partial answer was given suggesting that the answer circled about the issue of “sanctification (and how to please Him in our daily walk, because we love Him). Now there seem to be some who imply that “folks celebrating the festivals, sabbaths, dietary laws,” circumcision, etc., etc… are somehow pleasing Christ by such works. It is plain in Galatians 4:9-10; 5:1-4 that this is not the correct action for righteousness, and certainly not for salvation.  (Circumcision is seen to be that which obliges one to fulfill the whole law of Israel.  Circumcision  is seen to be a sign indicating inclusion as an Israelite.). Galatians 5:1 suggests that the law of Israel is a yoke of bondage from which the believer is freed. Such action does not justify anyone. Galatians 2:16 says that a man is not justified by the works of the law. In Galatians 2:19 it says, “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.”

How is one to exercise righteousness?

1 Peter 1:22 suggests holiness comes through, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:… ” This verse indicates that obedience comes through the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit which indwells all believers since the day of Pentecost in connection with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit indwelling happens to all believers. This was not so before this time. This is one of the things which separates believers from all that happened before. This is also spoken of in Galatians 3:2-3 where it says, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” This speaks that the matter of attaining holiness does not come by efforts of the flesh in keeping this or that ordinance. Galatians 3:5 says, “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” The implied answer is by the hearing of faith.

Believers also receive the adoption of sons. Galatians 4:5-6 “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.  And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”  This is a second significant difference between believers and Israel. Without this status, God does not send forth the Spirit of his Son. Without the Spirit there is no holiness.

The works which qualify one to be holy are listed in the rest of the book.

1 Peter 2:2 indicates that once one becomes a Christian by new birth, he is to grow by taking nourishment of the Word of God. 1 Peter 2:5 says that they are to be “as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” This speaks of holy living. Beginning in verse 11 to the end of the book, discussion lists the things a holy one does. None of these listed things have to do with dietary laws, physical sacrifice, the keeping of days, times, or seasons. This list is not one by which any who is of faith would be approved by any Israelite priest, Pharisee, Sadducee, or any other official of the Temple. Such officials would be offended by such list. Galatians 2:16 says that one is not justified by the works of the law. The definition of the word justified, using Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, tells us the roots of the word justified come from words like holy and right. The context implies that with salvation holiness begins. Following salvation, appropriate good works maintain holiness. By this we can be as 1 Peter commands us to be.

Believers are not asked to follow the law of Moses. They are asked to follow the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). The law of Christ is the basis of holiness. Gal 5:14 says, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

Mat 22:36  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Mat 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38  This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Gal 5:18  (cross reference 1 Peter 1:22) “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” (The law of Moses) The rest of the chapter discusses how we are to follow the law of Christ.