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Home The Light Articles from 2000 "Be Ye Holy For I Am Holy"

"Be Ye Holy For I Am Holy"

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"Be Ye Holy For I Am Holy"

by Raymond Stiner

These words, taken from 1 Pet. 1:16, and actually borrowed from many Old Testament passages are frightening to the average Christian. We do not think that being a Christian is too difficult to do. To be saved doesn’t even sound that hard. To be striving to go to heaven is indeed a pleasurable concept. But to be Holy seems, to most Christians, an im-possible task and one that would indeed involve a lot of sacrifice.

Some people actually resist holiness. We even make fun of it. We use such expressions as: "Holy Joe," "Holier than thou," etc. We mock it. The idea of being holy is foreign to us. We tend to attach a stigma to a person who wants to be holy, yet the Bible tells us that we are to be holy.

I used to have a misconception of holiness. Many years ago in many of the major airports there were members of cults such as the "Hari-Krishnas," the "Moonies," etc. and they would walk around begging money in white robes and shaved heads trying to suggest that they lived very holy lives because they were dressed that way. There are other cults that live in a secluded area away from any contamination of the world, and they think they are holy because they have secluded themselves from the world. But I have learned through a study of the Word that white robes and shaved heads and mountain monasteries do not make a person holy. Holiness is not a matter of dress, it is not a place. A holy man is not a man who goes away to a monastery. A man or woman can be holy in a monastery or white robe, but those things are not the sign of holiness. It is not where you are, but rather who you are, that determines your state of holiness.

What does it mean to be holy? The word holy means to be distinct, separate, or set apart for a special cause. A holy person is not just dead to the world he is alive unto God. The word in the Greek that is translated "Holy" is (hagios). And from that word there are three New Testament words that are used. They are: Holy, Saint, and Sanctification. The basic meaning of the word is to be separated, set apart, and different. Morally it means pure, sinless, righteous, holy. Thus something that is holy is set apart, separated, or different from all other things around it. It is something that God has set aside for Himself.

A simple way to describe a state of holiness is found in God’s beautiful establishment of the home. I know that the world views marriage in a different light, but God has a standard for the husband and wife. It is something like this: When a man finds a woman that he loves and wants to marry and spend the rest of his life with, he will leave father and mother and will cleave (be glued together) to his wife and they twain will be one flesh(Matt. 19:5-6). Now when this man chooses this woman to be his wife he separates, or sets himself apart from all others, and dedicates his life to this one woman only. He keeps himself pure unto her and her alone. He does not have eyes for another, but his whole life is consumed in their life together. This to me best describes my being holy to God.

If I have become a Christian there are several things that happen. One of those things is that I have separated myself from the world and its temptation. I have separated myself from the control of Satan in my life. I have set myself apart from all others that I might dedicate my allegiance to the one and only God. I am determined to follow the command of Jesus to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. I am determined to keep myself pure and free from sin because I belong to God in whom there is no sin. And so you see, it is not all that frightening to be holy for I have been doing that in my relationship to my wife, and so I just need to put it on the next higher level and be faithful to my God because God has been faithful to me. Be ye holy for I am holy.

We are to be holy because those things that have a special connection with God are holy. For instance the ground upon which Moses stood when God confronted him at the burning bush was called holy ground (Ex. 3:1-5). The Temple was said to be a Holy place (Matt. 24:15), and the Holy of Holies was especially Holy (Heb. 9:1-3). The mountain where Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James, and John was said to be a holy mountain (2 Pet. 1:18). Jesus was referred to as the Holy thing that should be born of Mary (Luke 1:35). The Gospel and the scriptures are referred to as holy. (Matt.7:6, Romans 1:2). The principle that I learn from all these passages is that anything that becomes associated with God is set apart unto God in a very special sense and becomes different from all other things.

The Jews were called a holy nation: "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel" (Ex. 19:6 ). Also we read, "For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy" (Lev. 11:45). These Jews were set apart in a very special way to God. In fact God said "And ye shall be holy unto me, for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine" (Lev. 20:26). This verse perhaps is the best definition of holiness in the entire Bible. Thus the Jewish people were holy in that they were to be different from other nations, different in that they were to believe in God and serve him and only him faithfully. God knew them in a very special way above all the other nations of the earth. The Jewish priesthood was holy, being different from all other men in the Hebrew race. Lev. 21:6: "They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God…" Even the tithe that was offered unto God was separate from all other moneys or goods that they might have. "And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s: it is holy unto the Lord" (Lev. 27:30). Even the Temple was holy and different from all other buildings (Lev. 26: 33). But the sad thing is that after all that God had separated unto himself in this nation they refused to be holy unto Him. The Old Testament is a continuous record of their rejection of God’s will. When God sent his Son into the world as their redeemer they committed the supreme and lasting rejection. They refused to acknowledge him and they put the Holy Son of God to death.

Jesus Christ was the transition of God’s dealing with the Jewish nation as holy to a new people as being holy. When the Jews rejected God’s Son, they showed their ultimate refusal to follow God, to be holy and separated unto him. Therefore, God had no choice but to raise up another people to be separated unto him. The new people are those of all nations who will truly dedicate themselves to God and separate themselves from the world. Jesus spoke of this new group of people in his prayer to God found in John 17:14-16: "I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

It is the church today that is called a holy nation in 1 Pet. 2:5,9: "Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." Thus the church of which you as a Christian are an individual member, is a people who set themselves apart unto God as holy, and separated and different, who utterly trust him and abandon themselves and all others to follow him.

My concern at this point is, are we really dedicated to the things of God and have we truly separated ourselves unto him. If the tendency that we find between the loyalty of husbands and wives today is any indication, with all the adultery and fornication being openly committed, it may be very hard to find those who are holy unto God.

Do you let others come between you and God. Do you have eyes and feelings for other relationships. Do you let your family, friends, or work come between you and your worship of God. If so it may be that you are not holy unto God. Even in heaven at this very hour are those whom God has designated to express holiness unto him: "And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come" (Rev. 4:8). But God also demands it of us, and our eternal happiness is dependant upon it. So be ye holy for God is Holy. –Box 4, LeContes Mills, PA 16850

 

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