I've recently started reading through the book of I Peter. And, because of some things that have been happening in my spiritual life over the past few months, I'm reading it with totally new eyes. It's been awesome. It's not like my former beliefs were wrong. But certain things are coming more alive, and things which confused me are making such clear sense. I spent hundreds of hours with 1 Peter in a college Greek course, and I've read it dozens of times since, but I'm now getting to experience it in a totally new way. I love God. I love that he does that for us.
Formerly, I tended to gloss over the second half of chapter 1.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
I always interpreted this passage to mean "God saved us, so we should strive to be like him." And I know I had good reason to because I checked my commentaries. I'm not alone in that interpretation. But lately, as I've meditated, I think it also (maybe only) says, "God called you to himself, he will make you holy." It was the word "sober" that led me to this thought. It made me think of sobriety from an addiction. Programs like AA believe that it's only through surrendering oneself to God's care that one will ever become sane, sober, and free from addiction. Which, really, is the gospel. We are powerless to save ourselves from sin and can only stop sinning by giving up control of our lives and letting God save us from sinning.
I've always been a little overwhelmed by the statement "You shall be holy, for I am holy." "I know I shall be God, but how? I'm trying? It's not working?" That's the conversation I'd have some days, but it's not the one I have now. Now I see this as a promise as much if not more than a command. "You will be holy because I am fashioning you after myself, and I am holy. You will, of course, be holy."
That's the best news ever.