Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
2 Corinthians 7:1
Why should we be holy? What motivations are available to Christians for their heartfelt obedience to the law and will of God? Let's be honest: this is hard enough that we need some high-grade motivation. The enemy will continually feed us powerful lies, stealing our hearts away from holiness. The world will echo those lies, promising us happiness in the path of wickedness. And some part of our hearts remain primed for self-service, idolatry, and the lusts of the flesh.
Lots of options are available to us...
We might pursue holiness out of fear: fear of hell, fear of punishment, fear of shame. But fear, by itself, fades. For proof, remember how you drove after you got pulled over. And how you were driving a few weeks later.
We might pursue holiness out of peer pressure. Surrounded by godly people, we are lifted up by their example and the power of their encouragement. But what happens when we're alone? When we're surrounded by bad examples?
We might pursue holiness out of logical life planning. Reading God's Word, we might see the sheer utility in God's commands and wisdom. Obeying God, while difficult, often leads to simply a more successful life. But at some point, the cost of obedience will outweigh its usefulness.
None of these are bad. But neither are they sufficient to carry us all the way on our mission to "bring holiness to completion." Thankfully, God's Word provides our need. "Since we have these promises..." Paul writes. What promises? The promises celebrated at the end of 2 Corinthians 6, the promises of the covenant. "...I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me..." (2 Cor. 6:17-18).
Of all the good reasons we have for pursuing holiness, here is the best: the promise of knowing God and being known by God. We should obey God because we want to know God. We should pursue holiness with the words of Jesus ringing in our hearts, "Blessed are in the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Mt. 5:8).
Surely there can be no higher or greater goal than knowing God! "And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (Jn. 17:3) To know God, to have fellowship with Him, this is the ultimate motivation for obedience. Nothing else will be as sweet as knowing God. No other motivation will fire your hatred of sin and love for glorifying God in obedience than communion with our great and gracious Father.
So let's hold these promises out in front of us. Let us set our sights on the great and promised goal of knowing God. And then let's run after holiness with heavenly passion.