Recognize that the holy God has called us to Himself. In doing so, He has united us by His Holy Spirit to Christ. Old unholy passions have been cut off from their food supply. New holy affections have been implanted. The seeds of holiness have started to grow. Meanwhile, Peter directs us onto the right path to take: don’t let the passions of your former ignorance keep shaping your life. Cultivate your new affections for the holy God who called you, and devote yourself, soul and body, to the glorious fame of His name.[i]
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet 1:14-16, ESV)
The First Epistle of the Apostle Peter meets us where we live as a kingdom-colony of resident aliens in this world. We’re making our way to New Jerusalem, and we need directions on the right path to take. Having filled us with courage in our elect identity and with thanksgiving for God’s saving work, Peter exhorts us in 1:14-16. Be holy, he says. Be devout. Devote yourself to your God. Look at the details.
First, he tells us how we’re not to live our new life (1:14). Don’t let your pre-Christian ignorance determine your choices and affections now. Don’t stay stuck in those old patterns of passing pleasures. Don’t follow your former routines. Remember what life was like as a non-Christian (see Rom 1:18-32): you and I suppressed what we knew of God, and we didn’t see fit to acknowledge Him. How’d that work out for us? He gave us up to dishonoring our bodies and debasing our minds. Captive to corrupt cravings of body and mind, you and I were hopelessly confused, with darkened minds and hardened hearts, without a sense of shame. We lived for pleasure, shaped by our corruption, defiled in all the parts and faculties of our souls and bodies. By nature, you and I were utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil. We were, spiritually and morally, corpses in coffins, prodigals in pig pens. In light of all that, Peter says, don’t let your former ignorance keep shaping your life. Or as Paul said it, don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold (Rom 12:2, J. B. Phillips).