As you read 1 Peter 1:15, “Be ye holy; for I am holy,” you may be alarmed. "You mean I'm to be as holy as Jesus was? Impossible! He was spotless, perfect. How on earth could anyone live up to that standard?”
The very purpose of the law was to show us it is impossible for us to measure up to God's standard of holiness. No amount of human willpower, strength or ability could ever make us holy. Therefore, there can be only one way for us to become holy: We must be in Christ and His holiness must become our holiness.
"If the root be holy, so are the branches" (Romans 11:16). Paul says that because Jesus, the root, is holy, then we, the branches, are holy also. And John writes, "I am the vine, ye are the branches" (John 15:5). In other words, because we are in Christ, we are made holy by virtue of His holiness.
The fact is, God recognizes only one Man as holy—Jesus Christ. And in God's eyes, there have been only two representative men throughout history: the first, literal Adam, and the second Adam, which is Jesus. All of humankind was wrapped up in the first Adam and when he sinned, we all became sinners. Then Jesus came forth as a new Man, and through His reconciliation on the cross, all of humankind potentially became gathered up in Him. Today God recognizes only this one Man, Jesus—and He is holy.
Like Adam, apart from Christ's redemption of us, we can never be holy. No matter how long we live or how hard we try; no matter how many prayers we utter or how often we read the Bible; and no matter how many lusts we conquer, we will never be perfectly holy.
Jesus stands alone in perfect holiness. If any person is ever to stand before the heavenly Father and be received by Him, that person must be in Christ. We stand before the Father without any merit or claims of our own. We stand only by the grace of Christ.