I Peter 1:14-17
14[Live] as children of obedience [to God]; do not conform yourselves to the evil desires [that governed you] in your former ignorance [when you did not know the requirements of the Gospel].
15But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.
16For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.
17And if you call upon Him as [your] Father Who judges each one impartially according to what he does, [then] you should conduct yourselves with true reverence throughout the time of your temporary residence [on the earth, whether long or short].
Leviticus 11:44, 19:2 - this is where it is written "You shall be holy, for I am holy." It is in the middle of the law.
Vine's says that the word here is hagios which is not an attainment but a state into which God in grace calls us. We are called to wash ourselves in the Word in order to remain free from defilement, forsake sin, and live according to Christ's example. Hagios means more than pure, sacred, or worthy..."it is characteristically godlikeness." Wow! That explains "Be imitators of Christ" so much more richly. I think this means that I am to live a holy life, one that is in agreement with Christ.
So, the question remains - is holiness a process or an immediately acquired state upon accepting the salvation of Christ? Could it be both? We are made righteous upon receiving the gift of salvation, but are we made holy? I think we frequently confuse holiness with righteousness.
1 Corinthians 1:30 (Amplified Bible)
30But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin].
Consecration (holy) and righteousness are two different things. Righteousness is being brought into right relationship with God. How are we brought into right relationship? Romans 4 seems to say that faith exercised produces righteousness in our lives. Ok, so holiness is being pure and set apart unto God and righteousness is life lived in faith and unity with the heart of God.
So, the question still remains for me...if God consecrates us and gives us His righteousness then do we have to do anything or just receive and live? I don't know that I can say we just accept the gift and then just keep on going expecting to "naturally" do what's in God's heart, especially in light of verses like this one...
Daniel 11:33-35 (Amplified Bible)
33And they who are wise and understanding among the people shall instruct many and make them understand, though some [of them and their followers] shall fall by the sword and flame, by captivity and plunder, for many days.
34Now when they fall, they shall receive a little help. Many shall join themselves to them with flatteries and hypocrisies.
35And some of those who are wise, prudent, and understanding shall be weakened and fall, [thus, then, the insincere among the people will lose courage and become deserters. It will be a test] to refine, to purify, and to make those among [God's people] white, even to the time of the end, because it is yet for the time [God] appointed.
Still speaking of righteousness, let's throw in another wrench...
1 John 3:7-10
7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. 10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.
Ok, so now what? He who practices righteousness is righteous just as Christ is righteous. So, in walking out our faith daily we are practicing righteousness. Then v. 9 says whoever has been born of God DOES NOT SIN and CANNOT SIN. So, is does this mean we are already holy (pure, undefiled, godlikeness)? We cannot sin if we are in Christ yet we still must practice righteousness and are commanded to be holy.
So, the question remains - are we already holy & righteous or is it a process or is it both?