In order to make sense of these verses you have to take them in the context of the letter so far. Weird how that works huh? So basically you got this…
(1) You have been chosen by God, set apart by His love mercy and grace.
(2) This grace gives you hope when you face trials and pain. Hope because your pain is temporary but purposeful and your goal is eternal.
(3) this salvation you receive is something those before you only dreamed of, we have experienced it!
THEREFORE! Whenever I see that word I say "Hey, what is that THEREFORE there for??" Whoever told me that is so clever. So… because of all that.
BE HOLY! This section has a very difficult and humbling statement "Be Holy, Because I am Holy." Ouch… how far I fall from that statement. On a scale of one to 10 I set my holiness somewhere between zero and negative five. But I suppose that doesn't mean I shouldn't try. But "excuse me, excuse me, what's my motivation?" (sprite anyone??) A lot of people seem to feel that God says things like "be holy" or "die to your former self" as some unnecessary standard to live up to. Why should I be holy? That's not as fun…. Though I don't believe that for a second I will attempt to answer that question "why should I be holy?"
In the end it comes down to one word GRATITUDE. We strive for holiness, at the very least, for the above three reasons. We do this by letting go of who we were (living in ignorance) and pushing towards who we are (new creations in Christ). Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" If we are now in Christ, if we have chosen to make Him Lord and Savior of our lives, then why would we live as if we hadn't? It really just doesn't make sense…
We try to rationalize a lot of our sin as if it is "not that bad." We need to stop this. We need to understand the intense measure of our sin and realize the amazing grace that God has shown us in it. When we stop rationalizing away our sin we can start living for Him.
Then we can run our actions through the "filter" of Colossians 4:17 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Can you HONESTLY say your actions are in line with this statement? I know I can't always say that, but out of love for God I strive each day to be led by His spirit, to love the least of these, to love my neighborhors and to love Him. In other words "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Will you do the same? What would the world look like if Christians stood up and actually started being like Christ. That is a world I want to see.