May 18th, 2022
The word “holy” is one of those churchy words we hear from time to time. We might use the term to refer to the sacraments like “Holy Communion” or even to talk about the “Holy Bible.” But what does it mean exactly to be holy? How does holiness translate into everyday living when God says, “Be holy for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44-45, 1 Peter 1:16)?
It doesn’t take long to stumble upon the word holy when reading the scriptures. In Genesis 2:3, God calls the seventh day of creation “holy” and differentiates it by resting instead of creating as He did on the other six days. Later in Exodus 3:5, we read the famous story of Moses standing at the burning bush and hearing God say, “Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.” God told Moses that where He dwells becomes a holy place, different from other ordinary and mundane places. Holiness means to be separate, pure, and other-than. We see that it isn’t necessarily a time (Sabbath) or a space (particular ground) that makes God holy, but God, Himself, is holy, making the time and space in which He dwells holy.
In Leviticus, we read quite a bit about being “clean” or “pure.” Because God is pure and separate from sin and death, those who come into His presence must also be pure and separate from sin and death. But God also knows that humans make mistakes, so He gave the Israelites 603 laws, including animal sacrifices. Humans could then become clean and “holy” after failing and again enter into His presence. But we know that those ways of becoming holy could never last, so God sent His Son, Jesus, as the ultimate sacrifice to take away our sins and make us a holy people. This process is referred to as another long, churchy word called “sanctification” or “the action of making or declaring something holy.”
So, is that it? Once we are saved, are we permanently holy? Remember that once we are saved, we become God’s people, and we are set free from our sins and the shame and guilt that sin brings, but we must also continue to try and live a life as Jesus lived. In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” It’s vitally important that we never think this scripture says God will love us if we keep His commandments. Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” But to show our love for God, we keep His commandments to be holy and set apart from the rest of the world as God’s children. Some of the ways we do this are by staying morally pure (1 Corinthians 6:9-19), not using inappropriate language (1 Peter 3:10), attending church (Hebrews 10:25), and loving one another (John 13:34).
Keeping God’s commandments seems similar to the impossible task of the Israelites trying to keep the 603 laws. But don’t let your heart faint, friend! God sent us the Holy Spirit as our Helper and Counselor who will teach us what we should do and remind us of what God has said (John 14:26). Being led by the Holy Spirit is our key to holiness, and all it takes is to trust Him and yield to Him as He prompts us to make adjustments. Remember that God loves you, is for you, and has a beautiful plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). Join us Sundays at 3 pm online or in person at Regeneration Nashville as we worship God together and see Him move by the power of the Holy Spirit! Until then, may God bless you, keep you, and make His face shine upon you. Be Regenerated!
Your friend in Christ,
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Pastor Jasmine Brady