Called to a Holy Life
I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy …………… – Leviticus 11:44 (NIV)
Be Holy, because I am Holy, were the words that God gave the children of Israel when He by His own wisdom called them and set them apart for himself (Lev. 11: 45). In 1 Peter 1:16, Peter reminds believers that they are to move away from the lives they lived before and live holy lives because of the nature of the one who has called them.
God is holy, and what is true of God must be true of those who are God’s people. Holiness carries the thought of being totally devoted or dedicated to God, set aside for His special and set apart from sin and its influence. Holiness is the goal and purpose for which God Has elected us in Christ and given us His Holy Spirit. It therefore means that we should always live to please Him.
Set Apart and Different
Holy, Holy, born again are current words of derision that we hear when people are seen to be striving to live for God. As a result a lot of people who have committed their lives to Christ i.e. those who are born again try to fit into the crowd. And yet we are to be set apart and different, not blending in with the crowd. We are not to be different just for the sake of being different. Remember what Jesus said about the Pharisees and their brands of holiness’……….they do not practice what they preach…. Everything they do is done for men to see. They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honour…. And the most important seats in synagogues…-Matt. 23:1-6.
What should make us different are God’s qualities in our lives – His qualities of love, mercy, goodness justice, fairness peace, kindness etc (see Galatians 5: 22-23) Our focus and priorities must be his, in direct contrast with what we used to be when we had not committed our lives to Him.
Made Holy by God
We cannot become holy on our own; God has therefore given us His Holy Spirit to help us to obey Him and to give us power to overcome sin. This is what is meant by sanctification; it expresses the process of becoming daily holy as a result of God’s work in us. It means that as believers we are being progressively conformed into the image of Christ through the regeneration that God has wrought in us, implanting in us the new life that brings about our transformation. Being holy is not an option for Christian because without holiness no one can see the Lord. – Heb. 12:14. While our sanctification is by faith (Acts 26:18), by union with Christ in His death and resurrection (John 15:4-10) we must also play our part by deliberately ceasing from doing evil through compromise. We must through purify ourselves from all the things that are unethical immoral and worthy of the one whose name we bear.
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reference for God – 2 Cor. 7:1
God has given us His promises and through those promises we have to recognise that God has a claim on our lives. Our bodies are His temple and so we must continually form the habit of letting the light of God shine on it. We have to transform our natural lives into the kind of spiritual lives that live in obedience to God, not out of compulsion or the fear of punishment but out of love for Him who loved us. My favourite devotional writer, Oswald Chambers has articulated some of these things so well. Please read on: I have to cleanse myself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit until both are in accord with the nature of God. Is the mind of my spirit in perfect agreement with the life of the Son of God in me, or am I subordinate in intellect? Am I forming the mind of Christ, who never spoke from His right to Himself, but maintained an inner watchfulness whereby He continually submitted His to His Father? I have the responsibility of keeping my spirit in agreement with His Spirit, and by degrees Jesus lifts me up to where He lived – in perfect consecration to His Father’s will, paying to attention to any other thing. Am I perfecting this type of holiness in the fear of God? Is God getting His way with me, and are other people beginning to see God in my life more and more? Be serious with God and leave the rest gaily alone. Put God first literally.
Destiny of Holiness
Continually restate to yourself what the purpose of your life is. The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness. Nowadays we have far too many affinities, we are dissipated with them; right, good, noble affinities which will have their fulfilment, but in the meantime God has to atrophy them. The one thing that matters is whether a man will accept the God who will make him holy. At all costs a man must be rightly related to God.
Do I believe I need to be holy? Do I believe God came into me and make me holy? If by your preaching you convince me that I am unholy, I resent you preaching. The preaching of the gospel awakens an intense resentment because it must reveal that I am unholy; but it also awakens an intense craving. God has one destined end for mankind, viz, holiness. His one aim is the production of saints. God is not an eternal blessing machine for men; He did not come to save men out of pity; He came to save men because He had created them to be holy. Atonement means that God can put me back into perfect union with Himself, without a shadow between, through the death of Jesus Christ.
tolerate through sympathy with yourself or with others anything that is not in keeping with a holy God. Holiness means unsullied walking with the feet, unsullied talking with the tongue, and unsullied thinking with the mind – every detail of the life under the scrutiny of God. Holiness is not only what God gives me, but also what I manifest that God has given me.
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