Text: 1 Peter 1:13-2:3 | Listen to Message
If salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, then why does holiness matter? If we’re saved not by what we achieve, but by what we receive, then do Christians really have to obey all the rules in the New Testament – or can we just believe in Jesus? If it’s not about our performance for Christ, but his performance for us, then why do we still have to . . . perform?
The Apostle Peter agrees with Paul that the grace of God has a purpose, a goal, a telos. The Gospel has a “therefore.” A “so what?” It’s packed with implications for everyday life. It’s a gift, yes, but a gift that’s meant to be activated.
For example, Peter says:
The Gospel means future grace awaits you beyond this life; therefore, fix your hope on that reality and do not despair at the inequities and trials of life.
The Gospel means you’ve been set apart from sin and condemnation by and to a God who loves you; therefore, be holy as he is holy.
The Gospel means no act of righteousness goes unrewarded; therefore, live in the continual awareness of God’s impartial observation of all your conduct.
The Gospel means you’ve been loved by God and adopted into his family; therefore, love your brothers and sisters earnestly from your heart.
The Gospel means God gives you everything you need for each new day; therefore, develop a craving for the nourishment of his Word.
Notice something important about each of these statements. Christianity doesn’t say, “If I obey, then God will accept me.” It says, “Since God has accepted me by free grace, therefore I obey.” Our obedience is a response to grace, not the way we go about earning it in the first place.
Notice, too, how this changes our motivation for holiness. Obedience isn’t rooted in a fear of judgment or self-righteous feelings of superiority to others. Obedience is inspired by the love of Christ, gratitude for his kindness, delight in his goodness, and a genuine desire to please him in everything we do.
Let’s circle back to the question that started all of this: If salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, then why does holiness matter? Let’s be clear that nobody gets a new, redeemed nature simply by acting or being holy. Holiness is the effect, not the cause, of our salvation. But as the outworking of God’s grace, holiness is one key evidence that we’ve received that new nature.
If you don’t desire the kind of holy and hopeful, loving and longing lifestyle that flows out of a new, restored nature that is patterned after Christ, what makes you think you’ve been saved?