Shawn Jefferies, from Columbia, Tennessee, kicked off our Fall Focus Series yesterday morning with this question:
“When you hear the word ‘holy’ what do you think of?
A formal definition? A Bible verse? A spiritual song? Maybe you think of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. Some people may think of a holy place, or a holy person, or some thing that people regard as holy.
I’m bringing back “holy” as the word of the week. It is definitely worth considering. Again.
By definition “holy” literally means “set apart or separate.” It is used in a moral sense in scripture. It means separated or set apart. Morally pure. Religiously right. Consecrated to God.
The English word “holy” is used 457 times in the Old Testament and 180 times in the New Testament.
The Bible teaches that God is Holy.
In the prophet Isaiah’s vision he saw the seraphim above the throne of God as they cried, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts” (Isa 6:3)
The Psalmist proclaimed, “Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His footstool — He is holy” (Ps 99:5)
Jehovah God is without fault. He can do no wrong. His nature, character and personality is perfect. Without flaw. Holy is who He is.
The Bible affirms that Jesus is holy.
He is holy because he is God (Col 1:15-17). He is the epitome of Jehovah’s love, light and life (John 1:1-5). He is the only man who was absolute in his holiness. He never sinned. Not once! The Bible says so (1 Pet 2:21-22)
God calls His people to be holy.
196 times in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy Moses admonished God’s people, Israel, to be holy. It is summed up in Jehovah’s command: “For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy.” (Lev 11:44). God expected His people to be holy. Separate from pagans. Set apart from sinners. Sanctified in life.
Even though we are not under the Old Law, the principle of God’s holiness has not changed. Peter quoted Moses and commanded Christians to be holy (1 Pet 1:21). He said we are to be a holy nation. A holy Priesthood. And to engage in holy conduct.
Holiness, however is not just something we do, but it’s who we are. Peter implored, “Be holy.” God wants us to “be” something. Not just do something. Being speaks to the inner person. The heart. The soul. The mind.
Holiness isn’t about a mindless moralism, and rigid religious rules and regulations. Being holy is not just about what we don’t do, but about who we are. Our character. Our motives. Our purpose.
Sometimes it’s hard to be holy in a sinful society that glorifies the sordid and sleazy. Peter’s answer to this seemingly perplexing problem is simple. Look to Jesus.
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; (1 Pet. 2:21-23)
Jesus is our perfect example of holiness. Follow in His footsteps. Develop His mind-set. Copy his character. When you are tempted ask yourself, “What would Jesus do? How would he react?”
While none of us will ever be perfectly holy, we should desire to develop a heart of holiness. A desire to be pure in a polluted world. A spirit that seeks sanctity. A willingness to change and be changed in a world of wickedness.
Being holy in our anti-God, sin-sick society is difficult. Holiness is not popular. Cool. Or politically correct. But it’s every Christian’s call that yearns for the holy city of God.
This week’s word is a life time challenge.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman