Understand The True Meaning Of Holiness
What is holiness?
The bible teaches that GOD is holy and HE requires his people to be holy. Many churches have their interpretation of holiness. Some say that holiness must be shown in the way you dress because holiness is from the inside out. I will talk about that later. Others believe that in order to be holy, you can only be around Christians. Most people believe they know and understand what is holiness.
What really is holiness? The bible says in Hebrews 12:14, "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."
In the Old Testament, GOD's people are called to holiness, which involves being distinct from other people. This is seen in the command to separate from other nations and from everything that can compromise commitment to the Lord.
In Leviticus 20:22-26 says, “You shall therefore keep all my statutes and all my rules and do them, that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them. But I have said to you, ‘You shall inherit their land, and I will give it to you to possess, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from the peoples. You shall therefore separate the clean beast from the unclean, and the unclean bird from the clean. You shall not make yourselves detestable by beast or by bird or by anything with which the ground crawls, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean. You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.
In this passage we come to understand completely what holiness is. To be holy is to be set apart for GOD. The people of Israel had to keep the commands that GOD gave them in order for them to be holy. They were slaves in Egypt and had customs that GOD did not approve. GOD wanted to change that because the Egyptians worshipped other gods or idols. The people of Israel is a chosen nation by GOD. They did not choose GOD, but GOD chose Israel. Since the day that GOD revealed Himself to Abraham, GOD has set apart the descendant of Abraham. GOD chooses whatever or whoever HE wants to set apart.
The people of Israel had to distinguish between holy and the common, (Leviticus 10:10) by following the rules that GOD gave them and teach their children. In order to understand GOD's holiness they had to obey GOD's command. HE gave them a written law and rules to follow. GOD wanted the people of Israel to be holy, different than the other nations. We will discuss holiness in the New Testament in a little bit. The Old Testament is a shadow of the New Testament, much has not changed when it comes to holiness. Always remember GOD is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Holiness Of GOD
I would like to explain the holiness of GOD before discussing holiness in the New Testament. It is very important that we understand that GOD is Holy. If you want to live a holy life; you must understand and know as much as you can about the holiness. People walk around thinking that they are holy, set apart for GOD, but they are only living what other people have told them.
The people of Israel had to teach their children about the law and the rules that GOD gave them. Many people walking blind and thinking that they are holy. We must listen to our pastors and leaders, but we must also read our bibles to confirm everything that we are taught. GOD gave Israel written law and rules to follow. We have the Holy Spirit and Scriptures that can guide us through the process of sanctification. Sanctification is the process of becoming holy. It is a lifetime process until GOD comes to take those who are saved.
Christians are called to be holy as GOD is holy. When we understand the character of GOD and hold firmly to HIS holiness then we will begin to understand the character of our sins and hopelessness. People are helpless without GOD in their lives. We will realize that we need the Grace of GOD and only GOD can give us hope and peace.
GOD's holiness is found in HIS character: GOD is all knowing, has compassion, faithful, HE gives us grace and mercy, HE is just, patient, perfect, He is everywhere, righteous, sovereign, truthful, unique, HE is zealous with what is HIS.
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he." Deuteronomy 32:4
"But the Lord of Hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy GOD shows himself holy in righteousness." Isaiah 5:16
GOD has a plan for HIS creation which HE will certainly accomplish. It is carried out through the control of circumstances and His choice and use of people and above all in the life , death, resurrection and second coming of Jesus Christ.
Christians Are Called To Holiness
We are going to speak about holiness in the New Testament. We learned that GOD has called the people of Israel and they had to be distinct from the other nations. Their customs could not be the same as the other nations.
Christians are called to distance themselves from the ways and values of the world, which can be dishonoring to GOD and destructive to obedience to HIM.
Holiness is something that happen within us. When we give our heart to the Lord and believe what Jesus has done for us, we go through a process called sanctification.Jesus in John 17:17 prayed to the Father "Sanctify them by the truth". Jesus himself was set apart by the Father to carry out HIS will in the world. Sanctification is holiness.
GOD is holy, HE is completely separated from sin or evil. Holy GOD cannot have fellowship with sinful men and women. We have to somehow be made holy to have fellowship with GOD.
The Old Testament teaches that something may be separated from GOD by either sin or uncleanness.
The Fruit of The Spirit
How Can We Be Holy People When We Live In A Sinful World?
GOD's people can be holy even when they are surrounded by unclean things or people. When a fish is caught in salt water it contains no salt inside.
Many people want to show holiness with what they wear. The bible teaches us that we have to be different than the world. Holiness is not in what you wear. Holiness is what flow out from within you. I have heard many people say "holiness is from the inside out", referring to the type of clothes they wear. They are far from really knowing what holiness is. Don't get me wrong, we should dress modest. We should not dress in a seductive way. We should not dress in a certain way to tempt someone or catch their attention, but that has to do with being a stumbling block for someone. GOD does not approve of that. We should not be a stumbling block to anyone.
2 Peter 2:9-11 says, "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation."
Throughout the bible, GOD teaches that our ways should be different, our conduct should not be as of the world's. Our behavior should reflect GOD, which is the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit has to do with the way we behave ourselves. Holiness is from within and it flows out through our conduct or behavior.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law". Galatians 5:22-23
The Spirit and the flesh are always against each other. Which sometimes it is difficult to do the things you want to do. We preach so much about holiness in our churches, but we have a struggle with the flesh that we have to deal with.
"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions,divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Galatians 5:18-21