Summary: What Holiness is NOT.
Peter the Great was once quoted as saying, “I have conquered an empire, but I have not been able to conquer myself.”
1. Review of Last Week:
a. What holiness is not:
i. Last week, I introduced the subject of Holiness, and we discovered that we tend to have a misconception about what holiness is.
ii. Holiness to many people means “sinless,” “perfect,” and “boring.”
iii. It means to many people a list of “don’ts.” “Don’t touch, don’t use, don’t go there, don’t do that”.
b. What it is:
i. But we learned last week that at the foundation of the concept of holiness is something completely different.
1. We learned that it is something or someone being set apart to God, being made un-common, exceptional, and unlike anything else.
2. We found that holiness gets its primary quality from God, who is the ultimate in holiness. And when we speak of God’s holiness, we understand Him as totally other, exclusive, unlike anything in existence, utterly uncommon and apart. He is unlike created things because He Himself is the Creator.
ii. We also learned that holiness occurs when God touches something or someone and sets them apart for Himself.
1. We also learned that Holiness involves “setting apart TO” and “setting apart FROM” something.
a. Sin: results in the separation FROM God to our own self-rule
b. Holiness: results in the separation from Self/Sin TO God.
2. The entire people of Israel were called to be set apart, to be un-common, unlike their neighbors, that they were to be called holy.
3. They were to be unmixed, and their actions were to reflect this unique position and relationship that they had with God, of being special, peculiar, and belonging to Him.
iii. Biblical threads of Holiness:
1. Between the Old and New Testaments there exists a fundamental shift in the way God’s holiness is expressed through his people.
2. In the Old Testament, the holy is that which is set apart from the common so that it is isolated for God’s service.
a. It can be said that in their perfect, prefallen state Adam and Eve were holy, since they were created for and set apart to God.
b. However, their sin of disobedience soon resulted in a wall of separation between God and humankind. And since the earth was under the domain of Adam and Eve, it too became scarred by sin and separation from God.
c. Today both humans and the created order still testify to the existence of a Creator, although by itself such testimony is hazy and incomplete—kind of like a jigsaw puzzle with some important pieces missing.
d. This is due in large part to the fact that we humans are born into this world "skewed, broken, fallen, dysfunctional, and ’unsanctified”, separated from God.
e. In one respect, the Bible is God’s story of his love-filled efforts to resanctify the human race…to once again make us His own people.
i. While still in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve received God’s pronouncement of punishment for their transgression. And yet in the midst of his judgment, God hinted at a future deliverer.
ii. It was through the promise of a Messiah, that God revealed his refusal to allow sin to thwart his plan to have a people set apart to himself, to have a people who in response to his love would love and serve him
iii. The history of humankind is the history of God’s working to bring about our salvation through sanctification (holiness).
1. When he flooded the earth, God set apart Noah and his family.
2. When the earth was being filled with nations, God set apart Abram through whom to establish a nation uniquely his own, set apart to serve him and be a witness to a lost and dying world.
3. In the New Testament, holiness is a dynamic process.
a. Jesus came
i. The holy is actually the common, infused now by God’s Spirit and transformed from the INSIDE OUT for his service. Thus, our holiness has to do with God’s transforming us into persons whose actions in daily life are expressions of Himself.
b. .Holiness is Setting Apart. Uncommon, unique, exceptional = holy!
c. Then we discovered that holiness exists in three stages:
i. Positional Holiness - occurs when you are “saved” (it is about your position before God). Past Tense.
1. involves a change of relationship. The word holy, particularly in the Old Testament, does not refer to a moral state, but to a relationship.
a. There were holy cities, holy vessels, holy buildings.
b. When the Old Testament spoke of Jerusalem being holy, for example, or the nation being holy, it did not mean that they were good or morally pure.
c. It meant that they stood in a special relationship to God.