“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'”
Having been adopted into the Kingdom of God by faith in Jesus Christ, we have been destined to receive all of the righteousness of Christ, the righteousness He earned while He was here, submitting perfectly to the expressed will of the Father, where it climaxed at Calvary.
One of the great blessings we have inherited is not only the very righteousness of Christ, made possible through the cross, but also that we have been destined to be conformed to His very image. In this passage, we find that there is a command given. We are commanded to set our hope on the grace that will be revealed to us. It then goes further to say we are commanded to “not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'”
When we typically hear the word command, we can sometimes have the immediate thought, “Oh here it is again, another thing I must dutifully commit to doing or else I’m not doing what’s right.” But there is something else at work within this passage. While this is a command, it is more than that. It is a privilege!
When we believed in Christ (those of us that have), working in and through our will was God’s will for our entire existence. We find out that we were destined to be made into and conformed to the image of Christ. What an honor! This should empower us to live holy lives, because God is for us. We have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, to be vessels of mercy, and a special affection has been set on us to live in a way that glorifies God.
So when we hear these commands to abandon our former way of living (before we believed) and to not be conformed to our former way of life, though it is in fact a duty and a command, these things should not burden us or weigh us down as if we are relying on our own strength to carry out these commands, but we fully rely and lay back on Christ and His strength, displayed so magnificently in the cross, His death and resurrection.
When we go to the cross and see the wonderful act that Christ performed, the great exchange where He bore our sins and our punishment that we earned, took it on Himself, died, and rose again, and gave us in exchange the very righteousness He earned, should our desire not be now to gratefully please the One who bought us?
So at the foot of the cross, duty now turns to delight, it becomes the desire of our heart to please Him, because we see how much the Father loved us that He would give His one and only Son to the be the ransom for the wickedness in our hearts and its resulting punishment. When we hear these commands, let it soak in that having believed in Christ, you have been set aside by His good pleasure to bring glory to Him and honor Him with your life, your entire way of living.
As a result of this, out of the love of our hearts, we then joyfully cast off our former ways of living in unrighteousness. In all the aspects of your life, school, work, studying, marriage, alone time, time spent with friends, time spent with unbelievers, let it be out of the abundance of love Christ has shown you that you pour out into all the areas of life to bring Him glory, and so also to preach the Gospel to those who don’t know Him, that they may be won to salvation as the Sovereign Lord sees fit.