Summary: God sets His people apart to be Holy in an unholy world.
Be Holy Because He is Holy!
You have all seen the television commercial for the Armed Forces "Be all that you can be." Everybody wants to be all that they can be. We all hunger for that, we don’t all reach our potential, but we do all desire to be all that we believe we are capable of being. No matter how degraded, downcast or frustrated, everyone longs for fulfillment. And yet, as we watch what happened last Tuesday September 11th, in New York and D.C. we shake our heads at the seeming impossibility of mankind ever being all that it could be. We listen all week, almost every week of stories describing endless shame, hurt, pain, murder, terrorism, divorce, abuse, cruelty and personal failure.
We ask ourselves is there really any hope? Is there really any real possibility of reversing this mayhem in people’s lives? Can the downward slide we are in ever be arrested and turned around?
The Good News Gospel answers these questions with a Loud and Resounding "YES!"
In fact this is exactly what the apostle Paul is saying to the Colossians, listen to Paul’s words in Ch. 1: 21-23.
Col 1:21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,
Col 1:22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach--( Listen or look very closely at the next word, because it contains a pivotal word "if" and an action word "faith"- faith which demands our obedience)
Col 1:23 if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
At its most basic level, “holy” refers to the condition of being set apart, separated from others, and different. It is a word whose highest meaning is found in referring to God, and to objects and people that God has set apart for His own use and service.
The term “saint” sounds different, but it comes from the same root as “holy.” In biblical terms, a saint is a person whom God has set apart for Himself. Saints are not just honored people of the past. They include real-life, down-to-earth, common people who have been set apart as the Lord’s own special possession, and as receivers of His special favor. All who know Christ as Savior are called saints because God has called them His people, His spiritual children—distinct from nonbelievers.
Holiness is what God wants and expects from us. Holiness is a reflection of God’s character, and He wants His children to look like Him.
When we look to God, we get a right view of holiness. And a right view of holiness leads to a right view of sin. The cost for us to be Holy was the precious blood of Christ.
How THEN Can We Be HOLY?
1. Like Isaiah we have had to have had this personal encounter with Jesus Christ the Savior- for a reversal in our attitudes our pneuma our spirit little "s" to occur. Paul tells the Ephesians and the Colossians and all of us pretty much the same thing-"There was a time when you were alienated from God and we were enemies of God in our own minds and because we were separate from God we committed evil acts." There was a time that we were under God’s wrath because we had no use for God, we did not consider Him important, we thought only of ourselves and our personal desires, never did we think of God and what He wanted from us. We went about our plans, building up things in our lives living for ourselves. We did what we felt like doing, never figured God into the process and if we did think of God, it was only that He was out there on the horizon. Maybe He was in the sunrise or sunset, but we never expected anything from Him--even though it was He who sustained our very lives--we remained hostile in our minds toward God. Be very clear about this it was our alienation from God in our innermost parts that caused our hostility toward Him-and it is that that leads to evil behavior.
2. But, when we understand up front and personal, that the death of Jesus was for us-something happens. When we begin to understand that God wanted to do something about our estrangement, our brokeness and our hurt and that He and only He can deliver us from our evil behavior and through Jesus present us holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation. We move toward HOLINESS only when we recognize that our whole life has been changed, we are not who we used to be.