We all had that one friend in high school or college that we considered “holier than thou.”
Every time a party or get together was being discussed, their very presence produced an inner unanimous groan. They were never invited. They may have had the habit of reading their bible at lunchtime, or quoting scripture, or wearing their shirts neatly tucked into their jeans with a ridiculously bulky belt. Let’s face it, some Christians are weird that way. Okay maybe that was just me, but you catch my drift.
Holiness by Hebraic definition (qadosh) means sacred, the opposite of common or profane. Often used to refer to God as being sacred and set apart and free from attributes of fallen humanity.
The very topic of holiness is not innately a comfortable object of discourse. Why should something so highly esteemed by God be such a pariah to man? Why is holiness such a far off unreachable standard for us to live by?
There are 613 laws in the Old Testament given to the people of Israel, dictating how they were to live, from dietary laws to holidays to be celebrated and high holy days to observe. Deuteronomy 23:12 states, “Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself dig a hole and cover up your excrement 14. For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away form you.” Talk about holier than thou.
The CAMP, where the Lord would dwell, had to be holy because the Lord himself would be merely present. As believers in the New Covenant, mediated by Christ Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross, we know that the Holy Spirit lives inside of our temples. The same spirit of the Lord present with the Israelites in the wilderness lives inside of our earthen temples, so how much more must we be holy? The Israelites were continually reminded to “consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”
“Israel was to be totally consecrated to God. Her holiness was to be expressed in every aspect of her life, to the extent that all life had certain ceremonial quality,” (Zondervan, NIV Study Bible).
We are called to holiness as servants of the living God, and carriers of His presence.The Lord’s standard is high. We find ourselves often content to blame human nature for our failure to meet these standards, yet holiness requires action and sober minds (1 Peter 1:13).
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance (1 peter 1:14).
Apart from the holiness imparted to us by receiving the free gift of Christ and his forgiveness of sins, holiness requires us to make holy decisions. It is not an object of abstract thought. We were made holy by Christ’s sacrifice, being made holy daily through the process of sanctification by the Holy Spirit, and will be made holy when we receive our glorified bodies at the second coming of Christ.
We participate in this process by daily life choices.
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may GROW UP in your salvation… 1 Peter 2:1-3
Craving PURE spiritual milk, pure meaning without guile or deceit, is key. Many today are drawn away by feel good sermons and inspiration quotes, telling you how wonderful you are and ignoring completely the fact that the Lord requires, no, demands, holiness from His people.
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2nd Timothy 4:3
We must, brothers and sisters, crave with the very fiber of our souls the pure, genuine, unadulterated doctrine of the gospel, and adjust our lives accordingly so that our Father in heaven may be glorified and exalted. And as we lift Him up, He promises to draw men unto Himself. Numbers will be added to the body of Christ because He gives the increase, not because we have tons of fun days, movie nights, family BBQs and conferences. Being set apart for the Lord’s use is how we are light in darkness.
…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5
To better promises,