“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.” (1 Pet 1:15, 16).
When we talk about “passion” we are talking about intense feeling, or powerful emotion; a strong love or earnest desire for someone or something. What are we to be passionate about? We should be passionate for purity. When we talk about purity, we are talking about holiness. As God’s children, we ought to have strong feelings and powerful emotions for God and His holiness.
We are right now passionate about getting rid of Covid-19 and zealous in our efforts to keep ourselves physically clean in order to prevent infection. God desires us to be spiritually clean and the only way to do so is to have Him present with us and within us. But where is God and how can I have Him? We need to look for Him sincerely with all our heart. God promises in Jeremiah 29:13–14, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD.”
Purity is a virtue every Christian should pursue and possess. How do we get it? We need to know personally and intimately who and what our God is. What is He like? What is God? The Westminster Shorter Catechism answers, “God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.” The divine attribute of holiness is an attribute God shares with us. He wants us to have it. As such, knowing and understanding God’s holiness is vital in our own Christian pursuit of holiness.
God Commands All to Be Holy
God says, “I am holy” (1 Pet 1:16). Peter here is quoting from the book of Leviticus which has as its theme the holiness of God. So, what is holiness? Holiness is simply moral perfection, or perfect righteousness.
We are commanded twice in this passage to be holy, to be morally perfect, to be absolutely righteous. Holiness for a Christian is not an option, but a command. A Christian is called a hagios (usually translated “saint” in our Bible). Every Christian is called a saint. Literally, the Greek word hagios means “a holy person.” In other words, a Christian must be a person who is characterised by holiness. Since God is 100% holy, we must be 100% holy as well. God said, “Be ye holy, because I am holy.”
What does God mean when He commands us to be holy as He is holy? How then can we be 100% holy? Is God being unreasonable here? Of course not! God is absolutely reasonable, but we need to know that He does not compromise on His standards. 100% holiness means 100% holiness! That was why Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”(Matt 5:8).
How then can we obtain this perfect holiness and righteousness?
Jesus Clothes Us with His Holiness
The only way is through Jesus Christ. This we learn from 1 Peter 1:19–21. We have no ability whatsoever to be holy. We are dead in our sins and trespasses. We stand under the curse of the Law. Can you say that you have kept perfectly the Ten Commandments? None of us can as told to us in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom 3:10). We are totally corrupted by sin. Our heart is totally black; as black as black can be! How can our sins be washed away? The most powerful soap in the world can never wash our sins away. How can I have a clean and pure heart? Only one thing is powerful enough to wash our sins away, and that is the precious blood of Jesus Christ—the precious blood from the perfect Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (1 Pet 1:18, 19).
Let me ask you a simple question: “How did Jesus save you?” What is your answer? You may reply, “Jesus saved me by dying on the cross for me.” That is a good answer, but incomplete. I want you to know dear friends that Jesus saved us not only by dying for us, but also by living for us. Jesus saved us by His life and by His death.
The blood of Christ speaks not only of the death of Christ but also of the life of Christ. Life is in the blood (Lev 17:11). Jesus lived for nearly 34 years on this earth. During His life on earth, He kept the Law perfectly as our Representative (Matt 5:17–18). He came not to destroy but to fulfil or accomplish the Law. Righteousness is one requirement for entrance into heaven. Since we can never be holy as God is holy by our own good works, Jesus must do all the good works for us. Jesus kept the Ten Commandments perfectly for us, so that He can clothe us with His righteousness which is 100% perfect. Jesus was the Lamb “without blemish and without spot”. As the Son of God from heaven, He was sinless, and as the Son of Man, He did not sin at all in His life on earth (Heb 4:15).
The blood also speaks about Christ’s death. Jesus died as a perfect Sacrifice for our sins, shedding His precious blood. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb 9:22). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:23). That was why Jesus had to die. He had to pay the penalty of sin as our Substitute. He took our place in His life and in His death. We thank the Lord that He not only saved us by His life, and by His death, but by His life again, for He was buried and on the third day He rose again from the dead.
The cross is a beautiful symbol. The horizontal stroke represents His life—He kept the Law for us. The vertical stroke points to His death—He died for our sins. And our cross—the Protestant cross—is an empty cross because Jesus is no longer on the cross, He is risen and is sitting on the right hand of God the Father. We do not have a dead but a living Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
Perfect purity comes from God. It is obtained for us by Jesus Christ. In and of ourselves, we can never attain to perfect purity. We need the purity of Christ. We must believe and trust in Christ. We must be born again (1 Pet 1:23). Are you born again? Have you trusted in Christ for your salvation 100%? If not, believe on Christ right now. If you are not born again, the messages tomorrow and the day after will be meaningless to you. Never trust in the flesh, but in the Word of God. 1 Peter 1:24–25 says, “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” This gospel is preached to you—“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31). JK
The 4th anniversary thanksgiving service of the Filipino Bible Fellowship (FilBF) of True Life Bible-Presbyterian Church (TLBPC) saw the ordination of Dr Jose Trinipil Lagapa on the Lord’s Day 26 July 2020.
Dr Jose Lagapa was born a Roman Catholic in the Philippines but born again in Japan under the ministry of American missionary Dr Robert Kluttz, pastor of Hokkaido Bible Centre. Dr Lagapa graduated with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Central Mindanao University and later a PhD from the University of Hokkaido. Having heard the call of God to full-time service, he came to Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC) in Singapore in the year 2009 to be trained for the ministry and has earned the MDiv, ThM and ThD degrees. He serves as a preacher of TLBPC in charge of the FilBF and Philippines missions. He is also a tutor at FEBC.
Having demonstrated his call from God to be a preacher and teacher of His Word, and having satisfied the ordination council that he possesses the necessary spiritual gifts for the pastoral ministry, Dr Lagapa was ordained a Minister of the Gospel by the laying on of hands of the presbytery. The moderator of the ordination council was the Rev Dr Jeffrey Khoo who presided over the ceremony, the Rev Dr Park Seung Kyu prayed for the ordinand, and the Rev Clement Chew gave the charge.
The Rev Dr Lagapa closed the service with the hymn “Shine Forth for Jesus Everywhere” and pronounced the benediction.
Jose is married to Celeste and they have 3 children—2 daughters Theya and Thessa and a son Biboy. Mother and daughters are students of FEBC, and Biboy is in high school in his final year.
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