Motivation for Holiness—What are the motivations to holiness?

In 1 Peter 1, after the opening 12 verses pointing us to our Living Hope in the resurrection of Christ, Peter calls us to holy living. Living Hope calls us to holy living. Peter presented four imperatives in the latter part of 1 Peter 1. These imperatives reveal the motivations for holiness.

Look at the text and follow Peter’s list of motivations.

  • The Return of Christ

We see this in verse 13. He says, “Get your minds ready for action.” Literally, he says, “Gird the loins of your minds.” This is an obvious allusion to the way that men in those days tied up their robe around the waist for work or walking. Today, we might say, “Roll up our sleeves” or “Put our hard hat on.”

This passage calls us to get serious about sin. God is serious about sin. We better be just as serious about sin. And, in the midst of this, we get His grace.

It is an old cliché, but has a lot of truth. Do I want to risk being found in sin when Jesus returns? Belief in the imminent return of Christ causes us to be mindful of our actions.

  • Our Relationship to Christ

We see this idea in verse 14-16. He compares our former life to the life we now have in Christ. He refers to our calling we have in Christ. He refers to the character of God. And, we understand that this call to holiness is to be complete—“in all your conduct.

Augustine’s famous testimony gives us evidence of how our relationship to Christ calls us or motivates us to holiness. One of his before Christ’s mistresses came looking for him. She called out, “Augustine, Augustine, It is I.” But, back came Augustine’s reply, “Yes, but it is not I.” He had been changed. His life was transformed. He was living out 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!”

  • The Reckoning from Christ

We see this in verse 17. This is similar, I think, to the return of Christ, but just a reminder that we are going to face a reckoning—an accounting, a judgment. Paul, in writing to the Corinthians said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

And this accounting is going to be done by a perfect and impartial judge. In Revelation 2-3, Jesus, the righteous judge of the church, is also the one who walks among the lampstands, the churches. We may deceive others, but we cannot deceive the ONE whose eyes are like a fiery flame. He sees. He knows. This is a motivation for holy living. Every word, every deed, every thought faces His judgment.

  • Our Relationships to Others

Let’s observe today that there is a connection to our holiness and the love that we display toward others. “Love one another constantly.”