“Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)
My simple answer to the Holy Spirit when He brings this thought into my mind, when He reminds me of this verse is “I can’t.” Not in the way that says I don’t want to or that I’m tired of applying my personal effort in it, but simply I can’t be holy, at least not continuously.
“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16) “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8) “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30) “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)
Shall I continue to offer you the verses that teach us what it means to be holy, my beautiful wife who types these letters for me might get frustrated with looking up the hundred or more verses that give us clear instructions on how to be holy before the Lord our God.
Sanctify yourself in your heart, set yourself apart from this evil world and all of its offered pleasures and desires that stand against the will of God, that is what it means to be holy. Serve the Lord God with fear and trembling, with love and adoration, with great joy and reverence, that is what it means to be holy.
Contrary to the popular belief by many who profess Christ as Lord, being holy does not mean being perfect, perfect means that you do not sin, ever, for a length of time that we are not told only two created beings have ever been perfect, three if you count the life of our Lord Jesus Christ on this earth. Adam and Lucifer, and both of them could not continue in this state of perfection, both succumbed to temptation, and temptation is the driving force behind not being holy. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
The free will that God has blessed all men with is a two-edged sword, as it were, those who have been born-again understand as they grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord that the holiness we are commanded to attain to will not be accomplished until the day we are glorified, even the smallest thought of sin becomes a burden to us, we are unable on our own, even with the assistance of the Holy Spirit to become Holy in this life. We strive for the mark daily, some ground is gained, but the more we come to understand the holiness of the Most High, the more we look upon ourselves as detestable in our own eyes, as unfit to be called the children of God. “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)
Who we want to be we cannot be, but we will be someday.
Here is the patience of the Saints, here is where we begin to be taught the mercy and truth of the Lord, here is where we begin even in the smallest way to understand the word grace. There is only one way that I know of to be pleasing in the sight of the Lord, to trust and obey, trusting in His promises and obeying His will in our lives. We will never be able to be holy in this life though, even with all of our strength devoted to the will of God, all of our desires set aside and being crucified with Christ, trusting in every single moment to His leading, we will never be holy.
Someday we will, someday the flesh will be changed, the mind will be completely renewed, there will not be one small piece of stone left in our hearts, and we will still have free will. It will not be because we will be in heaven, far away from the earth and the influence of Satan, it will not be because our ability to chose between good and evil will be removed from us, both Lucifer and Adam had free will before they fell.
I cannot describe to you in full what it means to be glorified, or to live in the presence of the Lamb of God with no desire to exist beyond Him. I believe only the angels who still reside in heaven, those who did not leave their first estate could explain it to us. The day that you meet Jesus face to face He will not only describe it, He will perform it, you will finally be set free. Then we will be holy, then we will understand. Until then, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Cor. 13:12)