“because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.'”
because it is written
The word “because” indicates the reason why holiness is necessary. God effects our holiness by our participation in His holiness. God is absolute in His holiness.
Our authority for believing in absolutes lies in the written Word of God – “it is written.” We may argue that our society will crumble without absolutes. However, those who do not believe in absolutes will answer, “Who sets the standards? The standards of society are capricious. Why should I live up to random standards?” If there is no ultimate norm for morality, why should they care about the standards of society?
This is where Christians have the answer. When they receive Christ, they have a new motivation for living. They possess an inherent standard that gives them principles for living. Personal faith in Christ appeals to the written Word of God. This is why Peter uses the formula “it is written.”
The Word of God reveals God’s essence. It shows His person and character. It declares that He is set apart from human sin and is therefore absolute.
Spiritual birth gives us an affinity with God. We imitate Him as a child imitates his parents. We cannot imitate our Father unless we know Him. We know Him through the Word of God.
‘Be holy, for I am holy’
God says “I,” in contradistinction to anyone else, “am holy.” “Be holy, for I am holy” is a quote from Leviticus 11:44,
“For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.”
This quotation documents the previous verse (1 Pe 1:15).
God wants us to be without sin because He is absolute.
The question of absolutes predominates university campuses today: “Is there any absolute?” “What is right?” “If there are absolutes, who says so?” “Is not sex a normal function of life?” “Who sets up these standards anyway?” That last question is a good one. If our authority rests in human values, then there are no absolutes. Practical questions such as “Will we have a baby?” are all that remain.
Everything is relative to the modern mind. Morality is personal preference. If someone thinks that it is suitable for him or her, then that is fine. That’s why we hear people say, “what difference does it make if no one is getting hurt?”
The Christian answers these questions from information that comes by revelation. There is no other way to own an absolute.