Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Apostle Peter: 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.” And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of Him during your time as “foreigners in the land.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom He paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose Him as your ransom long before the world began, but He has now revealed Him to you in these last days. Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because He raised Christ from the dead and gave Him great glory. You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 1 Peter 1:15-23 (NLT)
God is holy and His Name is also holy (Leviticus 19:2; Psalm 99:3, 5, 9; 1 Peter 15-16). Holiness is the very foundation of God’s very being, as God is absolutely pure and separated from evil (Isaiah 6:3; see also Habakkuk 1:13; Revelation 4:8). “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:3, NIV). Because God is holy, all sin and disobedience is offensive to Him (Psalm 51:4). God’s holiness is also seen in the Trinity. The God of love and grace is our Holy Father (John 17:11), Jesus Christ is the Holy One of God (Mark 1:24; John 6:69), and the Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit. Our primary response to God’s holiness is our respect, reverence, and worship, which is the basis for all godly living (Exodus 3:5; Psalm 96:9; Proverbs 1:7).
For I am the Lord your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. . . . Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy. (Leviticus 11:44-45, NLT).
Set yourselves apart for a holy life. Live a holy life, because I am God, your God. Do what I tell you; live the way I tell you. I am the God who makes you holy. . . . Live holy lives before Me because I, God, am holy. I have distinguished you from the nations to be My very own. Leviticus 20:7-8, 26 (MSG)
Since God is absolutely holy, His concern is that His people likewise become holy (Leviticus 11:44-45). God’s people are called to be holy (Leviticus 19:2; Deuteronomy 7:6; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 3:17; 1 Peter 1:16). Holiness means being completely devoted to God and set aside for His special use and purpose – separated from sin and impurity and set apart or dedicated for God (see also Romans 6:22-23; 1 Corinthians 1:2). There is no eternal life without holiness (Hebrews 12:14) – turning from sin and wholeheartedly obeying God (see Psalm 24:3-4). Since the Old Testament, God’s fundamental calling for His people was to be a “holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). God wanted a people dedicated and devoted to Him as King, and completely set apart to do His will and service (see also 1 Peter 2:5-9). Thus for God’s people, holiness contains the negative sense of separation from sin and evil and the positive sense of consecration or sanctification for good.
David: Who may climb the mountain of the Lord and enter where He lives? Who may stand before the Lord? Only those with pure hands and hearts, who do not practice dishonesty and lying. They will receive God’s own goodness as their blessing from Him, planted in their lives by God Himself, their Savior. These are the ones who are allowed to stand before the Lord and worship the God of Jacob. Psalms 24:3-6 (TLB)
We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:10 (NIV)
All believing Christians have been made holy through faith and acceptance in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection on the Cross (Acts 26:18; Hebrews 10:10, 14). Jesus Christ has made all believing Christians holy in God's sight through faith. The New Testament makes clear that Jesus Christ came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31-35). Jesus Christ redeems and saves all believers (Romans 3:-23-24) at the cost of His blood (Ephesians 1:7; Titus 2:14; Revelation 5:9). The result is the “forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14) and justification (Romans 3:24). Thus, God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s death saves us from the sin (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 2:11-12). Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross sanctifies and cleanses us from the old ways of sin and sets us apart for God’s special sacred purpose (Hebrews 13:12). Believing Christians’ holiness through faith in Jesus Christ is preserved through their clean, moral, and peaceful living. Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death saved us from guilt and judgment (Romans 3:24) and produced in believing Christians moral purity and helpful services to others (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? . . . But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9, 11 (NIV)
Our faith in Jesus Christ declares us righteous, holy, wise, and redeemed (Mark 10:45; 1 Corinthians 1:30; see also Colossians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7). “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:25-27, NIV). We cannot escape from sin on our own; only faith in the life of Jesus Christ frees us and then following Jesus Christ in loving faith and obedience by God’s Holy Spirit keeps us from sinning (Romans 8:13; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:11, 19-20; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:22-24; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 13:20-21). God’s Holy Spirit helps us to live according to God's purpose and “work out your salvation” (Philippians 2:12-13). Holiness is an ongoing cooperative process in which believing Christians, alive to God and freed from sin (Romans 6:11, 14-18), are required to actively love and obey God and flee sin and wickedness with the help of God’s Holy Spirit and continually abiding or walking with Jesus Christ (John 15:1-17; Colossians 1:11; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:7; 2 Timothy 2:1). Thus, holiness is neither a self-reliant activity nor God-reliant inaction, but a daily God-dependent effort (2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 3:10-14; Hebrews 12:14).
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God. 1 Peter 2:9-12 (NIV)
Being sanctified, or made holy, is a work of God’s Holy Spirit on the basis of our faith in Jesus Christ’s atoning death on the Cross (Titus 2:14, Titus 3:4-5). Through our faith in Jesus Christ, God sends us His Holy Spirit to cleanse us from our sins (John 15:26-27; Acts 5:32). God’s Holy Spirit is the agent of holiness for God’s people (John 3:5; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:42). The Holy Spirit keeps the church pure (Acts 5:1-11) and promotes holiness in God’s people through our obedience to God (1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7). God’s Holy Spirit living within believing Christians give us the ability to obey God’s holy standards as He controls every aspect of our lives.
Our faith in Jesus Christ does not mean ignoring God’s righteousness. Instead as believing Christians, we willingly exchange a sinful way of living for God’s righteous way of life (Romans 6:15-23; see also 1 John 3:3, 6). Obedience to God produces holiness (Romans 6:22) and the end of the process is eternal life. There is no eternal life without holiness (Hebrews 12:14). Participation in God’s divine blessings is conditioned on obedience added to faith. Genuine faith in Jesus Christ will express itself in obedience to God (see James 2:14-26). Thus, worshipping God has a horizontal aspect -- that is, God is honored by our lives as we wholeheartedly obey Him and flee sin and evil. A central teaching of the Old Testament and the New Testament is that God desires obedience and a right heart, not empty compliance to rituals or hypocrisy (see e.g. 1 Samuel 15:22-23; Psalm 40:6-8; Psalm 51:16-19; Jeremiah 7:21-23; Hosea 6:6; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:6-8; Matthew 9:13).
Apostle Paul: And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)
Because of all that God has done for us through Jesus Christ, we should strive to be His holy people (Romans 12:1-2). As mentioned earlier, holiness is a twofold action: turning away from sin, and wholeheartedly turning toward God (2 Corinthians 7:1; see also Acts 20:21). We must devote every area of our life to God with absolute love and obedience in motives as well as practices (Matthew 22:37; Romans 12:1-2). God wants His people to imitate Him by following His high moral standards of love, truth, grace, mercy, and forgiveness (Exodus 34:6-7; Ephesians 5:1-2; see also Micah 6:6-8; Matthew 23:23). Jesus Christ, as God in human flesh, revealed to the whole world God’s love, humility, and mercy (Philippians 2:5-11) for a Christ-like life and attitude are part of what obedience and law-keeping means. As the Lord God passed in front of Moses, He declared “I am the Lord. The Lord is a God who shows mercy, who is kind, who does not become angry quickly, who has great love and faithfulness and is kind to thousands of people” (Exodus 34:6-7, NCV). The prophet Micah proclaimed “the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NLT).
God’s Scriptures gives us guidelines to help us remain separate —both socially and spiritually — from evil and wickedness. We can pray to God to give us strength to live holy lives and God is faithful to help us (see Psalms 99:6). We cannot become holy on our own, but God gives us His Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ to help us obey and to give us power to overcome sin and evil. Call on God's Holy Spirit power to help you live holy and free from sin.
Apostle Paul: Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:15-23 (NLT)
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