Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We are to be Holy

One of the words that we use at church is the word holy. It is one of those words that appears in the Scriptures, but I am not really sure we understand what it means. To be honest, I don’t know if many preachers know what it means, and therefore they never really take the time to offer a definition for the word. I got this simple definition from my brother and I think it explains holiness, what it means to be holy, very well. Simply put holiness is to be set apart from the ordinary.

We proclaim that God is holy because as the Creator He is set apart from the Creation. As our Lord and Savior He is set apart from sin and the ruling authorities of the world. I would even say that holiness is the key characteristic of God. From holiness flows all the other attributes which are essential to living a Christian life: Love, mercy, integrity, etc. Since we are created in God’s image He expects us, especially those who follow Christ Jesus, to be holy.

The is what the apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter about being holy:
So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:13-16; NLT).

To live holy lives means that we have to be set apart from the ordinary. This means that we can no longer just live like everyone else, instead we have intentionally follow Jesus. It means that we no longer seek to live life based on our desires and our will, but that we seek to live life according to the will of Jesus. To do this there are three elements that are required in our lives.

If we are going to live holy lives the very first element that must be present in our lives is self-control. Without self-control we will go with the flow of our desires which come to us through our flesh. We will lust, covet, hate, steal, lie, and curse. Instead of loving and respecting others we will put ourselves first. A life without self-control is a life that is lived without boundaries. The person does whatever he/she pleases.

Not only do we need self-control, but we also need to have hope. If there is no hope beyond what we experience in this life then it becomes very easy to justify satisfying our immediate desires. Even the apostle Paul wrote; And if we have hope in Christ only for the life, we are the most miserable people in the world (1 Corinthians 15:19; NLT). Yet when we have, an expectant assurance of things to come, we are able to put of temporary gratification and wait for the exceedingly wonderful blessings that God has in store for His children.

The third element that is essential to our holiness is being part of the Family of God. If we are not part of a fellowship and we are out doing our own thing then it really wouldn’t matter how we lived. Yet because we are part of the Family of God and name Christian associates us, not only with other Christians, but also with God Himself then our actions become very important. We need to realize that our actions are a reflection of not only the Church, but also of God. In the fellowship of the Church we are to find the instruction, the encouragement, the accountability, and the love we need to live holy lives. That is why being part of a local group of believers is so important in our walk with Christ Jesus.
People who have put their trust in Christ Jesus have been set apart from the ordinary, we have been made holy by Christ’s blood. As Christians we need to remember that because of Jesus we have been set apart from sin. The blood of Jesus has made it possible for us to be separated from the sin that has dominated our lives.

Not only are we separated from sin, but we have also been separated from the world for a special purpose. Christians are God’s special instruments to call a lost world back to Him. To be holy means we have a special calling, a purpose, in our lives.

Holiness is serious business. Until we commit ourselves to living a holy life we will miss out on the wonderful life God has planned for us. The road to the full life God has created for us is found through holiness.

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