There is a lot to be said about holiness. When we think of holiness – or at least how most Christians frame it – we think of holy dress, women in long dresses with no makeup, men with short hair and long beards. We think of holiness as those who don’t cuss, smoke, or chew – or hang around with those who do. We think of holiness in terms of those who ostracize society at large, instead opting to socialize in religious cliques.
The truth of the matter is that when we are grafted into Christ, we are sanctified! Sanctification is not a process; it is a key component of the Finished Word!
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. (John 17:17-19)
The Bible gives two renditions of the same Scripture in both the Old Testament and the New. And, if you’re not careful, you may be led to believe that – even though they say the same thing – they mean the same thing.
“Be ye holy for I am holy…”
The first occurrence of this in Scripture is found in Leviticus 11:44-45
44 For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 45 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.
In the Old Testament, “Be ye holy for I am Holy” is a command. It is what God expected of the Saints of old based on their performance relative to the Law.
The second occurrence of this in Scripture is found in 1 Peter 1:15-16
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
The big difference is that in the New Testament: “Be ye holy for I am Holy” is a statement of truth. It is not based on the performance of individuals but upon the Finished Work of Jesus!
The New Testament iteration of this verse is a revelation and fulfillment of the Old Testament iteration. Because we are under a new covenant and the debt of sin was satisfied by Jesus, what was once a command to do something is now a statement of who you are in Christ!
A chair is capable of being a chair because it is created to be a seating platform for people. It does not have to perpetrate being a chair, it only has to fulfill its purpose. A plastic bin can serve as a chair – temporarily – but it will ultimately fail in that capacity because that is not what it was designed to do.
The use of something outside its purpose is a good working definition of abuse…
Ephesians 4:23-24 puts it this way:
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness
Do you catch that, the new birth has re-created you with imputed righteousness and imparted holiness!
Now one more verse that is typically misunderstood is Hebrews 12:14
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
The question then would be, what manner of holiness must I have in order to see God? Let me put it this way, if you are relying on your own holiness (or righteousness) you will not see God. I’ll take it a step further, you cannot even have a relationship with Him based on your own merit!
You need Jesus. You need His sanctification. If you try and sanctify yourself, you will fail. This is another reason we see manifest powerlessness in churches because folks are obsessed with doing holy instead of resting in holiness! It is only through HIS holiness that we will ever behold Him through a glass darkly, much less face-to-face.
Now for the really good news: Jesus didn’t just sanctify those He was speaking to, He sanctified all who would believe:
Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching, (John 17:20 – AMP)
There’s a whole lot of “doing” in the church and not a lot of “being…”
Holiness is not an “it,” holiness is a “whom;” and His name is Jesus!
I am nothing without Jesus but I’m not without Jesus. Therefore I’m holy!
If you are truly born-again, you are submitted to God – and therefore, holy!
Jesus is not just the author and the finisher of our faith, He is the author and the finisher…period! I am holy because I’m in Him and He’s holy!
© 2014 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)