Summary: To be Holy is to be set apart. And how are we set apart? By loving one another, by pursuing peace and by truly striving to be Holy.
Isaiah was a man of God, a Prophet to the people of Judah during the reign of four kings. We often read his prophetic words at Christmas time regarding the birth of Christ, “Therefore the Lord will give you a sign, behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and shall call His name Immanuel.” And “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given and His Name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” But in chapter 6 Isaiah writes about Holiness. “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.” And Isaiah says, “Woe is me for I am undone, because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts. And then God assures him that his iniquity has been removed and his sin has been purged and then asks him, “Whom shall I send, who will go for us?” And Isaiah said, “Send me.” Ordinary, sinful, full of shortcomings, far less than perfect old me.
When we think of Holiness what comes to mind?
Listen to the words of the text from the book of Hebrews chapter 12, verses 14 & 15. “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord; looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.”
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. We are to live our lives in such a way that people will see the Lord, by pursuing peace and holiness. What does it mean to be Holy? We have talked about this before. To be Holy is to be set apart, to be different according to the world’s standards. In this epistle, it is explained as drawing near to God with full faith and a cleansed conscience; a genuine acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Savior and sacrifice for sin. You see unbelievers will not be drawn to accept Christ if believers’ lives do not demonstrate the qualities God desires, including peace and holiness.
To be Holy is to be set apart. And how are we set apart? By loving one another, by pursuing peace and by truly striving to be Holy. Not striving to be religious. There are lots of religious people in our world, in our country, in our state, and in our community who are set apart. You know who they are. The untouchables, whose actions fall way short of their words, a “Holier than Thou” attitude. Today we call them cynics. In Jesus’ day they were called Pharisees.
Peter the disciple writes in his first letter chapter 1 starting with verse 13; “Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts as in your ignorance, but as He who called you is Holy, you also be Holy in your conduct, because it is written, be Holy, for I am Holy.”