Be Holy, for I am Holy

Be Holy, for I am Holy

Lesson 4
1 Peter 1:13-21

The thematic verse for this section of 1 Peter is a quotation of Leviticus 11:44. “Be holy for I am holy.” (vs. 16). In conjunction with this call, God has made us a covenant with us, empoweres us, supplies a model, and provides a safety net.

“Be holy” means “behave”.

The Covenant

We are obedient children (vs. 14) who call on God as Father (vs. 17). In a covenant, the powerful blesses, provides, and protects his people. The people respect, submit to, and serve the greater. The covenant stated is, “I will be their God and they shall be my people.” (Gen. 17:7; Ex. 6:7; Jer. 7:23; Heb. 8:10).

As he upholds covenant with us, God ransoms us from the futile ways of the world (vs. 18) and brings us grace (vs. 13). For our part, we conduct ourselves with fear and holiness during the time of our exile (vs. 17).


Holiness is lived out in our conduct, but it does not start there. We are made holy by the precious blood of Christ. We are made pure through a sacrifice that is without spot or blemish. (vs. 19). Our faith and hope are grounded in the resurrected and glorified Jesus. The empowerment for our holiness is not in ourselves but “in God.” (vs. 21).

The Model

The thematic verse for this section of 1 Peter is not just “Be holy.” It is be holy, for I am holy.” The Lord calls us to be holy (covenant), he  makes us holy (empowers), but he also shows us (models) what it looks like to be holy. The holy nature of God is seen through every experience with the Father (creation, relationships, etc.). The holy mind of God is revealed through his Spirit and the written word. Now we have experienced Immanuel, God with us, as the Word became flesh in Jesus.

The Safety Net

What about when we fall short? There are times that we wholly fail at holiness. Thankfully, there is grace (vs. 13). God has paid a ransom for our sins (vs. 18). The precious blood of Jesus is not a one-time cleaning. It cleanses continually (cf. 1 John 1:7).

For discussion and enlightenment:

This passage begins with a call to action. (vs. 13). Twice in this passage “conduct” appears as either a verb or noun. Depending on your translation, “conduct” appears at least three more times in this letter. What does 1 Peter teach regarding our conduct?

“Hope” is mentioned in the opening and closing verses of this passage (vs. 13, 21). How are hope and holiness related?

What are some specific teachings about Jesus in this passage?

What are some of the phrases in this passage that describe life pre-Christ or outside of Christ?

What kind of uncleanness/unholiness is related in the context of Leviticus 11:44? How does that translate to holiness and clean living as we know and practice it in the days of Christ?

How would living this passage keep us from shame before God? How might it make us ashamed before the world?