Summary: As Christians we've all been called to be Holy, but what does that calling entail?
For those of you who have kids, do you remember when your children were little, and you envisioned all they could be? You never pictured them as being average, normal yes, average no. You had high expectations for what your child could be and would be. If they played hockey they’d be the next Gretzky, if they sang they would be Bono or Gaga or whoever tops your iTunes play list. And you encouraged them to be the very best that they could be, to try their best and to do their best.
When they hit the wrong note, sang off key or scored on their own team you took it as a personal affront. But you continued to encourage them, “Just do your best” you’d say, but your version of their best may not have been the same as their version of their best.
And there is nothing wrong with having high expectations for your kids, as long as they don’t become unhealthy.
Way back in the Old Testament God set the bar fairly high for his people, the people of Israel. He tells them through his prophet Isaiah Isaiah 62:11-12 The LORD has sent this message to every land: “Tell the people of Israel, ‘Look, your Savior is coming. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes.’” They will be called “The Holy People” and “The People Redeemed by the LORD.”
Wow, you ever feel like you’ve just received an impossible mission? A goal that is just too great, a target that’s just too far away? I wonder if that is how the people of Israel felt when they heard the prophet Isaiah make the proclamation.
It’s one thing to be called a chosen people, or a special people, even a redeemed people, but what is this “Holy People” thing that Isaiah is speaking of?
A Holy People, the People Redeemed by the Lord. That’s pretty heavy isn’t it.
And for all you who think, “Well yeah but that was the Israelites.” Listen again to the scripture that was read for us early to what Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:15-16 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” That’s quite a statement isn’t it, you must be holy in everything you do. Why? Because you are a chosen people a people called to be Holy.
And it’s gets even heavier because the word that Peter uses here for holy is a Greek word. Now I was probably the dumbest person in the world but when I first became a believer, I thought the Bible had been written in English. Duhh. But it had actually been written in Greek, at least the New Testament, the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. And the Greek word that Peter used here is Hagios and it means, “Sacred, (physically pure, morally blameless and religiously and ceremonially consecrated.) What do you think? Pretty accurate description of you? No?
In 2016 too many Christians think that holiness is just for certain people, and they would certainly never think of themselves as a Holy People. Instead they figure that holiness is for the Super Saints or else it comes with age. When I was in Bible College I had a theology professor by the name of Bruce Bridgeo, a saint of a man confirmed by the fact that his mother-in-law lived with them. Now Rev. Bridgeo’s mother-in-law’s name was Grammy Hayward and she was a thousand years old. Well I was nineteen and she looked a thousand years old. And anyone who says there’s no such thing as Christian perfection had never met Grammy Hayward. And we think “When I’m a thousand years old then I’ll be holy too.” But the word of God does not say that old people shall be called a Holy People and It doesn’t say Super Saints will be called a Holy People, instead It says that those who have been redeemed will be called a Holy People. And if’n you’re a Christian then you have been redeemed and you can figure out the rest of it for yourself.