1 Peter 4:14-16

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
PE 4:4-4:16" As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 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."
But for simple faith in God and the consciousness that the Spirit of God is still guardian in the church, one would not know how or what to speak in these days. If you speak of grace, and dwell upon the fullness, and freeness of it, there are so many hearts that will delight in it after a carnal manner, and use it as a cloak for evil; not merely those who do, as Jude says, "turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness," but who will cover over a deep spirit of worldliness, excuse themselves much obedience on the ground of grace. Indeed, this is the prevailing leaven of these days. It is the root of that latitudinarian spirit which is tolerant of many evils and much disobedience. On the other hand, if you speak of holiness of walk, many souls put themselves under legal bondage, which robs them of their joy and peace, or at the best makes them the slaves of their own frames and feelings, or promotes that self-righteous spirit which fills the heart with intolerant pride.
Still the truth must be told; and it will have its fruit in some hearts. In the passage above we see the most touching appeal to the heart of a saint; and these two principles, grace and holiness, exactly in unison. The appeal is not to bondmen or servants, but to children. "As obedient children;" and it is from "Him which hath called you." Grace has brightly shone in these two facts, "He hath called us," and "whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren" (Rom. 8:2929For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)). That is, He hath called us, and has made us His children. The appeal is this, seeing He who has thus acted in such grace, and brought us into such relationship, is Himself holy, so should we be holy. And there is grace in this appeal, for He desires that we should be before Him in joy and love; which could not be without holiness. This our God has secured to us in Jesus, "having chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love" (Eph. 1:44According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Ephesians 1:4)). But God has now separated us unto Himself from an evil world, and from our own evil too, hence the present appeal to be "as obedient children." The principle is this, the children should be as the Parent. God is holy; hence His children are to be holy. As holiness is a characteristic of the Father, it should also be a characteristic of the children.
Now, if this principle had more weight in our minds, our chastenings would be found much more fruitful; for surely that soul that longs after holiness will profit more than the careless soul, by the varied chastenings of the Father's hand. " For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness (Heb. 12:1010For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. (Hebrews 12:10)).
Many are apt to contrast grace and holiness, but there can be no contrast between any of the attributes of God. All His attributes express Himself, and He is One. Grace, indeed, shines most in this, that we sinners of the Gene tiles should be reconciled unto God, and built up with the Jews a holy temple in the Lord, etc. (see Eph. 11-22; see also same chapter all through, especially verses 4, 7, 10). "Grace reigns through righteousness" (Rom. 5.21).
I am sure of this, if we would serve the Lord, we must be holy. Not in self-righteousness, but "as obedient children." As those that wish to be as He is. Every exhortation to His children, and every recognition of them is full of this principle-holiness. As, "To the saints," "holy brethren," "redeemed from all iniquity, to be a peculiar people," etc.
One could dwell very much upon this important subject; and I trust the Lord may lead our souls more into it. For it is evident, from the Word, and from past experience, that God's work is accomplished by means of holy and godly people. A true position and clear knowledge of truth will not suffice; holiness is what God looks for. The reason is evident, since to do God's work he must have the soul walking with himself; in communion with his mind. Witness the contrast between Abraham and Lot.
Let brethren in Christ everywhere look well to this, for there is lack of power: much truth abroad; but it seems to have little power in separating souls from evil. For when we see light spreading, if that "light in them be darkness, how great is that darkness." There seems to be lack of power for obedience to the truth when it is seen. Why is this? 2 Tim. 2:2121If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. (2 Timothy 2:21) implies there is such a thing as meetness for the master's use. And this is the meetness "being purged from these" (vessels of dishonor) not having knowledge.
Let us remember this, " the Lord knoweth them that are His; and let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." I doubt not the Lord is doing a work among souls; and if we would share the rewards of such a work, we must see to it that we are found " in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God." " As workers together with Him, giving no offense in anything" (see 2 nor. vi.)