General,  Lessons,  Spiritual Growth,  Test

Embrace God’s Holiness

Today, in this 4-part series, I want us to look at how to embrace God’s holiness…not just know about it, but embrace it. You can read the first post here, on embracing God’s love and the second on here, about God’s forgiveness.

Do you know what the most loved hymn is?  As I was studying about God’s holiness I found out, it’s not Great is Thy Faithfulness or Rock of Ages. It’s Holy, Holy, Holy. There is something mysterious and wonderful about God’s holiness.

I read, in Our Daily Bread(April 21, 1997), a story about a little animal called the ermine that lives in the forests of northern Europe and Asia:

Apologetics Press Photo

He is known for his snow-white fur in winter. He instinctively protects his white coat against anything that would soil it. Fur hunters take advantage of this unusual trait of the ermine. They don’t set a snare to catch him, but instead they find his home, which is usually a cleft in a rock or a hollow in an old tree. They smear the entrance and interior with grime. Then the hunters set their dogs loose to find and chase the ermine. The frightened animal flees toward home but doesn’t enter because of the filth. Rather than soil his white coat, he is trapped by the dogs and captured while preserving his purity. For the ermine, purity is more precious than life. – HGB

What do you think of when you hear the word “holy”? I often think: quiet, hushed, perfect, saintly…can’t touch that! But it primarily means set apart. For Christians it means belonging to God for His purposes and His glory. And it means moral wholeness.

In the song Lord, I Need You, Matt Maher wrote, “holiness is Christ in me.”

Holiness also indicates separation from sin. We understand that God is always perfect, and this is also our goal, though we will not become completely sinless till we reach heaven. We must ask ourselves if we are continually increasingly growing toward that goal? 

In Revelation 4:8 (see also Isaiah 6:1-8 for the prophet’s similar vision), the writer John, was taken into Heaven’s throne room and this is what he heard: ”Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come. “

God says He Himself is holy, as He speaks to Israel in Leviticus 20:26 when He says, You are to be holy to Me because I, Yahweh, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be Mine”. There is absolutely no sin or evil thought in God at all. His holiness is the definition of that which is pure and righteous in all the universe.

Belonging to Him, we are to be holy. As we embrace Him and His holiness, we seek to live holy lives that honor Him. 

Holiness is more important that happiness even though our world says just the opposite. God knows our obedience to him ultimately brings us the greatest joy. 

As we embrace His holiness we understand, holiness for us is a heart that belongs to Him while living  in a sinful world.

Genesis 1:27 tells us we are God’s image bearer: “So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.” I highly recommend Jen Wilkin’s book, In His Image, for more on this topic. The introduction got my attention with its title, “Asking the Better Question.” Jen encourages us to stop asking, “What is God’s will for my life” and ask instead, “Who should I be?” 

As we study scripture to know who God is, we begin to love Him more, and then we learn to obey Him more. We also start asking “Who am I to be for Him.” 

Jen says, “God’s purpose for us is clear in Scripture. It’s more about becoming better people than about making better choices. Our choices are important, of course, but as we become better people, sanctified continually by the Holy Spirit, then we make better choices.”

She also reminds us, “Jesus Christ is the living proof of God, the perfect image bearer, pure and imminently valuable, unsullied by sin…As we grow in holiness, love, goodness, justice, mercy, grace, faith, patience, truth and wisdom, we look increasingly like Christ, who looks exactly like God.”

Whose image do you seek to emulate today? God’s will is clear: we are to be like Christ. Ask Him today how you can grow in Christlikeness so that you can reflect His image to a world who needs to know His love.

Are you submitted to His authority?  In Luke 6:46 Jesus says, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? “ We must CHOOSE to be holy!

C. S. Lewis wrote: “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

You can read these passages for just a few examples of what holiness looks like for us: 1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22, Ephesians 4:22-24, and 1 Peter 1.

We don’t become holy by accident, it must be a pursuit. Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgumuth said, “The more you concede to sin, the more you dull your capacity for truth.” We are to be set apart, transparent with our own struggles, yet proclaim God’s faithfulness.

1 Peter 1:13-16 reminds us, Therefore, get your minds ready for action, being self-disciplined, and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance but, as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.”  

When we obey Christ and seek to live holy lives, this is what Paul tells us will happen: “So if anyone purifies himself from these things, he will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21)

Gloria Furman gives great advice in her study Raised Together: A Study of Colossians, “One way to fight the temptation to sin is to imagine the ways that sin would affect people in your life.”  Nothing in our life, that if observed by another should lead another person into unholiness.

D. L. Moody once said “A holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine.” (Source unknown)

8 Take Aways:

  1. Know who the enemy is as you walk in victory daily in Christ’s power to live a holy life.
  2. Pray and ask God to help you choose a Bible reading plan and get in the Word daily to counteract the lies of the enemy and renew your mind in Truth.
  3. If you think something sounds like Truth, measure it only by the standard of God’s Word.
  4. Ask a friend to pray for you in areas where you are subject to the enemies untruths toward unholiness.
  5. If you have stumbled into the lies of the enemy, repent and walk the other way NOW!
  6. Stand on His love and forgiveness, not the enemies condemnation.
  7. Share your victory with someone else who is struggling.
  8. Walk in accountability with someone else who seeks to understand and live out HIS holiness.

C. S. Lewis said, Obedience is the road to freedom.” That’s a freedom we should all strive for.

Here’s the deal, His holiness never changes. And He desires us to live in holiness as well…not perfection, but actively seeking His holiness to flow from us to those around us.

Read Part 4 here.

Banner photo by Fabrizio Conti on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.