Holy Father, sanctify us in Your truth. Amen. (Joh 17:17)
Text: First Peter 1:14-19
As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
The least spot of leprosy made an Israelite unclean and excluded him from the people. The least dominion of sin excludes you from God’s Israel, and everyone who will come into the perfect holiness of heaven must be cleansed perfectly from all sin. The Father is holy, and the children must be holy. The Son is holy, and the blood with which He cleanses you is the blood of the spotless and obedient Lamb. The Spirit who lives in the believers is the Holy Spirit Himself. You were bought at a great price; noble and pure you must also be. Frightful was the wickedness You freed us from; and “a burned child fears the fire.” Righteous is He whom you call “Father”; He doesn’t close His eyes to the deeds of His children, as Eli did (1Sa 3:13). If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you no longer live in sin, for you are washed, justified, and sanctified through Jesus’ blood and God’s Spirit. But as long as you live in the flesh, when you have sin and evil desires, then you should continually mortify them, so that you become ever more holy in all your behavior.
To that end, God gives you both desire and strength. When He says: “Be holy; for I am holy,” then let your heart answer: “Cleanse me, Lord; sanctify me thoroughly, merciful God!” And your prayer is heard since the power of sanctification is given to you. Use it, and day by day become more pure and more faithful; your hatred of sin and your love for God should be stronger today than yesterday, your patience greater, your mercy warmer, your hymns of praise fuller, all your behavior more like the Lord Jesus. If you are a child of God, then let angels and humans see it. Distinguish yourself from the world by a truly holy life. “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2Co 6:17-7:1).
Lord God, You work in Your saints both to will and to do according to Your good pleasure: Give us grace to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and to receive the desire and strength of holiness from You in Word and Sacrament, so that we daily awake to likeness in Your image. Holy Lord God, sanctify us completely in spirit and soul and body. Amen.
For God observes our thoughts and deeds,
The secrets of our heart He reads;
The wicked cannot be concealed,
Their evil ways shall be revealed,
He ev’ry true believer knows,
And love and grace on him bestows.
O gracious God, wilt Thou my heart
So fashion in each secret part,
That Thou be sanctified in me,
Till Thee in heaven above I see,
Where holy, holy, holy, Lord,
We sing to Thee with sweet accord.
Kingo: How fair the Church of Christ L 484:5.7 ELH 418:5.7 tr. O. T. (Sanden) Arneson;