Set Apart, not Set Aside
1 Peter 1:2 says that we are presently "being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood."
This isn't even a full sentence, but it's packed!
First, we are being "set apart." Some translations say "sanctified." The root word is related to the word for "holy." The word refers to two related truths - to be made holy means both to be purified and to be set apart for a specific and exclusive purpose.
The Old Covenant Law talks about sanctifying objects and people for the temple worship service. They were both purified and set apart. They were sprinkled with blood from the sacrifice to be purified, but they were also designated for just one purpose. The priests didn't have side jobs. They didn't have their own tribal land. They were set apart from the rest of the population for this service. The objects were set apart - a tool wouldn't be used for the sacrifice and then to build a table. A sacrificed animal for certain sacrifices was not to be used for any other thing (like labor or food).
Second, we are set apart and purified for the purpose of obeying. God cleanses us and then sets us believers apart from the rest of the human population for the purpose of obeying Him. Isn't that interesting! Obedience here is not the obligatory actions and prohibitions, but something we're set apart for like a priest or utensil in the tabernacle. "You people ... I'm setting you apart to be people who obey me. But I'm going to purify you first.
Third, we are also set apart for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ. That's a clear reference back to the Old Covenant system and to the work of Jesus on the Cross on our behalf. We are set aside to be a people upon whom Jesus' cleansing blood is sprinkled, like they sprinkled the utensils and altar. No one but the saved are sprinkled with His blood.
Last, this is the present work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers. Not just when we accepted Christ and not just at the end of time. Right now. And tomorrow. We are presently being set aside and purified by the Holy Spirit for the spiritual worship of being God's obeyers, sprinkled by the blood of Christ.
(image: public domain)