The One True God is Holy
by Gini Crawford, MSW
God is holy. This means He is completely separated from sin and evil; He is absolutely pure. He is the standard of holy. Since holiness comes from God, we cannot be holy without being associated with Him. God's holiness cannot tolerate sin, which means He can do no less than punish it. Holiness also has the idea of: to set apart, to sanctify, a separation from sin, as well as devotion to God and purity. (Leviticus 20:26; 1 Samuel 2:2; Isaiah 40:25).
...I the LORD ...am holy. Leviticus 21:8 NASB®
God's Holiness and our Sin
God's Word teaches us that we all are sinners just like Adam and Eve. This is because we are born with a nature that sins. (Psalm 51:3-5; Romans 3:9-18,23, 5:12-19). It is reasonable to think that it is unfair that what Adam and Eve did thousands of years ago affects us today. The sad truth is, we all would have eaten from that tree.
Do some people sin worse than others? Of course, some people's sins add up to pure evil. Just read the news. Think of history. However, James 2:10 tells us, even if we were capable of sinning only once in our lifetime, we would still fall short of God's perfect holiness. I figure, I sin more than once a day because my thoughts and actions are not always holy. Yes, we all sin.
Our sin clearly presented a problem for God. He loved us and wanted to be with us, but He cannot tolerate sin since He is holy. Sad but true, our sin separates us from God.
Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short, that it cannot save; nor is His ear so dull, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. Isaiah 59:1-2 NASB®
God's absolute holiness can have nothing to do with sin. In the Old Testament, if a person got near God's holy presence with intentional sin, in some cases that person would die (Leviticus 10:1-3). Even Israel's leader, Moses, who God said in Numbers chapter twelve was faithful in all God's household, didn't escape punishment because of his sin. In Numbers chapter twenty, God told Moses that since, as the people's leader, he didn't treat Him as holy by angrily disobeying God's instruction, he would not live to go into the land that God promised (Deuteronomy 32:48-52).
What does God's holiness mean to you? Does it make you afraid? It makes me afraid, and it should.
In the Old Testament times, people could have "a holiness" if they dedicated themselves to God - this meant setting themselves apart to God and abstaining from impurity. But people still struggled with sin, so they were always falling short of God's perfect holy standard. It was obvious something needed to be done about sin and God did it.
Holiness in Jesus
Jesus Christ solved the problem of our sin and God's holiness. Jesus, Who is perfectly holy and hates sin with His whole being, willingly took our sins upon Himself when He died on the cross. This allows all who believe in Jesus to be set free from the power of sin and reconciled to God, making them holy (sanctified), with the outcome of eternal life. When we are sanctified or made holy, this is called sanctification. (Mark 1:24; Romans 6:22-23; 2 Timothy 1:9).
...through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross... And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach... / ...but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. / ... To Him (Jesus) who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood... Colossians 1:20-22; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Revelation 1:5 NASB®
Jesus' death set you apart from sin, so you can have His holiness - making you holy. What are your thoughts on Jesus dying to make you holy?
Our holiness as Christians
As Christians, our position is one of holiness in Jesus Christ. However, as we live our lives as Christians, we still need to intentionally practice holiness and not sin. This is because our sin nature is still with us on this earth tempting us to sin.
You might be wondering what holiness should look like in our lives? It's a devotion to the One True God, with a commitment to follow His Word. It's also sharing in God's purity; with a determination to abstain from sin, even though we could never be sinless as God is. Read 2 Corinthians 1:12; Ephesians 1:3-4, 4:20-24, 1 Peter 1:14-16.
Our sanctification (holiness) in Jesus has three parts to it:
- Because of Jesus Christ and His Spirit coming to live within us - we are sanctified (set apart) from sin (made holy) at the moment of our salvation. (1 Corinthians 6:11; Colossians 1:19-22).
- As Christians, we experience the process of sanctification which we can call "growing in holiness." This is where the Holy Spirit, with our cooperation, slowly but surely throughout our lives, transforms us into the image of Jesus. (Romans 6:19, 8:6-8; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8).
- In heaven our sin nature will be gone. We will be completely set apart from our sins - living in perfect holiness. (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Jude 24-25).
Do you think you have been cooperating with the Holy Spirit in growing in holiness?
Reflecting on what holiness looks like for me: It's remembering I am only holy because my holy God took my sin upon Himself. It's recognizing my holiness comes from the Holy Spirit within me, so I need to be letting Him lead me. It's intentionally obeying God's Word, which allows me to live out holiness. It's wanting to please my holy God - not our sinful world, or my sinful self. What does holiness look like in your life?
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