God’s children are called to live holy lives that are marked by a deep reverence for Him. One strong motivation for righteous living is the cross and what it represents. First, the cross is a reminder of our original position as outsiders, separated from God because of sin. Second, it points to our need for a Savior. Divine justice decrees that the penalty for sin is death (Rom. 6:23). But the only acceptable payment is a blood sacrifice from a life without defect (Lev. 17:11; Deut. 17:1).
Since we’re all guilty, we can’t pay for our own sins.
Third, it was on the cross that Jesus took our place and endured God’s wrath so we could be forgiven.
Fourth, the crucifixion marks the time when God’s justice was satisfied and His mercy was demonstrated. Finally, it points out the way to be reconciled to the Father and adopted into His family. Only by faith in Jesus Christ can we be saved (John 14:6).
Sadly, many have forgotten about God’s requirement of holiness (v. 15). Instead of keeping to His standards of attitude and behavior, they tend to embrace some worldly values that seem more comfortable or self-satisfying. Then, secular goals like pleasure and material wealth tend to replace godly ones like obedience and servanthood. Such worldly goals are encouraged by our culture, which has little fear of God and typically ignores His warnings and commands.
To counteract the culture’s influence, keep the meaning of the cross before you. Then you’ll be motivated to pursue holiness in honor of the One who gave His life to save you.
1 Peter 1:15-21 - (NIRV):
15 The one who chose you is holy. So you should be holy in all that you do. 16 It is written, “Be holy, because I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44,45; 19:2) 17 You call on a Father who judges each person’s work without favoring one over another. So live your lives as strangers here. Have the highest respect for God. 18 The blood of Christ set you free from an empty way of life. That way of life was handed down to you by your own people long ago. You know that you were not bought with things that can pass away, like silver or gold. 19 Instead, you were bought by the priceless blood of Christ. He is a perfect lamb. He doesn’t have any flaws at all. 20 He was chosen before God created the world. But he came into the world in these last days for you. 21 Because of what Christ has done, you believe in God. It was God who raised him from the dead. And it was God who gave him glory. So your faith and hope are in God.