Holiness. It’s not a word you hear much today. Yet it is an integral part of God’s character, and He calls us to pursue it in our own lives.
1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV) says, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”
Why does this matter? Much of the Old Testament focuses on the importance of obeying God’s commands, but the religious leaders in the New Testament were often criticized for their legalistic emphasis on the law. Jesus himself focused much more on faith, grace, and forgiveness. So if we are all sinners saved by grace, where does personal holiness fit into God’s game plan? His Word gives us the simple but convincing answer.
In 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV), the apostle Paul writes, “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
Our pursuit of holiness is a reflection of the respect we have for God. And it gives us the opportunity to honor the paradigm shift he made in establishing us as temples. While people once went to buildings of brick and mortar to seek the presence of God, now we carry his presence with us.
Tony pointed that holiness appears to mean different, distinct, and separate, and that Mirriam defines it as (in part) devoted entirely to God (as in holy temple or holy prophets), having a divine quality, and as venerated or as if sacred.
Some of the high points of the discussion:
- Ephesians 8:2-10: there is nothing I can do to make God love me more.
- John 17:16-19: they are not of the world even as I am not… sanctify them.
- Sin lives in us. Romans says “I do what I don’t want to do” and C interprets that to meant that it’s really not us that sins, but sin lives in us; if we can remain anchored in who we are in Christ, then we have to start seeing ourselves the way he sees us.
- To be like Christ, we need to be out among others because to be Christ-like means to love others.
- 2 Peter 3:9: God wants us all.
- The veil torn asunder at the moment of Jesus’ death is not a flimsy and diaphanous piece of fabric, but a wall 5-7 inches thick , 30 feet tall, and 60 feet wide. When it was torn in two, from top to bottom, it was not an act of humans reaching out to God, but God reaching down to us. With the death of Jesus, he opened a way for anyone to come to the holy of holies, God himself. (Outer court of temple was okay for gentiles, but only Jews could enter the inner court. Priests could enter the next room, the holy place. God dwells, though, in the holy of holies, on the mercy throne located on the arc of the covenant.)
This week’s scriptures were:
- Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
- John 17:16-19
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth (the Word is truth). As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
- Matthew 27:50-51
Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.
- Hebrews 4:14-16
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
- Hebrews 8:6
But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
- Luke 15:20-24
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called you son.” But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.” And they began to celebrate.
Food for thought: 1 Samuel 15:24. This verse comes up ALL the time!
Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice.
This week, the discussion about this focused on “we don’t have to fear because we are made holy by the blood.” Boys talk about weird stuff.
Source: Fierce Recovery