In this week's blog, I am talking about holiness. The Greek word for
'to make holy' in Hebrews 2:11 is the word 'hag-ee-ad'-zo' which means
to ceremonially purify or consecrate; to sanctify. This is the same
word used in Romans 15:16 where Paul writes that the offering of the
Gentiles is 'sanctified' by the Holy Spirit.
In 1 Peter 1:15-16, we read the following exhortation... 15
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16
for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (NIV) If we look at
this command to 'be holy as God is holy' in our own natural ability,
we will most certainly feel completely overwhelmed. For in our hearts
we know that the truth is, no matter how good we can try to be, it is
simply not possible to live up to God's standards in our human effort.
3:10 clearly tells us that there is no one who is righteous...not one.
James affirms this by saying that if we keep all of the law every day
of our lives and just make one tiny mistake, it is as if we have broken
the entire law (James 2:10). So it is obvious that the road to
holiness is definitely not based upon on our natural ability to keep
the law because we just can't do it.
I think that it would be
safe to say that in most Christian circles, we would all theologically
agree that holiness is not produced from our own actions but on Christ
and on His shed blood alone. After all, Hebrews 10:10 tells us... And
by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body
of Jesus Christ once for all. (NIV)
While we may all agree that
Hebrews 10:10 is a theological truth, how does it work out in our lives
on a day to day basis? Do we live each day knowing that we are
completely loved and accepted by God no matter what we do? Do we live
our Christian life with the life changing realization that the finished
work of Christ on the cross was enough? Do we truly believe that that
we are holy even as Jesus is holy even when we fail? ...Or do we still
act as if our sanctification is the result of our own self-effort?
the definition of holiness in many evangelical circles is more about
our behavior modification rather than our being a completely new
creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). The truth is that if holiness
is something that I can do in my own strength by keeping the law, then
Christ died in vain (Galatians 2:21).
Even though I know that I
have already been made holy by the blood of the Lamb, there are still
days when I act as if it is something that I am supposed to make happen
in my own strength. If you are anything like me, you may wrestle with
this from time to time too. It is a kind of a spiritual schizophrenia
where we live our lives pulling out flower petals repeatedly saying "He
loves me, He loves me not" depending upon our performance and our
It is at these times that we may find it easier to
believe that we are holy on the good days when we read our Bible, pray
and maybe witness to others. But what about on the bad days? ...When
we are discouraged, fearful and not full of faith? Can we believe that
we are still absolutely loved and set apart for His purposes in these
dark and lonely times?
The remnant of the orphan heart that
still remains in us struggles to believe that God's love and His
extravagant grace and mercy are more than enough. The part of us that
has not yet surrendered to love still believes that we have to do
something in order to be accepted.
I know that this is a poor
example, but our son Steve will always be an 'Adams'. He was born into
our family and will carry our name no matter what he does in life. He
didn't do anything to earn being part of our family, he was simply born
into it. I think this is but a shadow of what it means to be born into
the family of God. When we become born again, we inherit everything
good that is in God's family. Jesus' holiness, His righteousness, His
relationship with God... everything!
To walk in holiness is not
to live by a set of do's and don'ts in our lives, but to simply live
out of the new spiritual DNA that God has already deposited in us by
His Holy Spirit. We are God's kids (1 John 3:1) and are partakers of
His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4)! The only reason we are holy is because
our Father and our Big Brother are holy! ...Not because we could do
anything to ever earn it, deserve it or sustain it.
that our God and Father wants to love all of the remaining orphan
beliefs right out of us and convince us that the shed blood of Jesus is
enough. Period. My prayer today is that our Heavenly Father would give
us a deeper revelation of the 'once and for all sacrifice' of our
Elder Brother Jesus.
I pray that we would all know beyond a
shadow of a doubt that our holiness, our righteousness, our
sanctification, and our eternal acceptance is not rooted in our own
efforts but in the everlasting and immeasurable love of God. I pray
that we would know that God already sees us as holy because of our
union with the Firstborn of many brothers and sisters (Romans 8:29).
unalterable fact that Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers and
sisters should cause us to shout the good news from the rooftops! We
share the same spiritual DNA as God Himself (1 John 3:9) and as a
result, we share in His holiness too!
Does this give us a
license to go out and sin? God forbid! (Romans 6:1-2) I believe the
more that we are able to believe that we are completely loved and
accepted now, the more we will respond to this love by living a life
worthy of our calling. (Ephesians 4:1)
May each and every person
who has called on the name of the Lord know that we have been made
holy simply because we have been joined to Jesus who has become our
righteousness and our sanctification (2 Corinthians 5:21). May this
good news cause you to cease from your own self effort and enter into
the glorious Sabbath rest of Almighty God (Hebrews 4:9-11) and sink into
your new identity as a much loved, holy, child of the Most High.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 May
the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole
spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord
Jesus Christ. (WEB)