Summary: Christians are constantly tempted to live by the standard of the world. God repeatedly reminds us that the answer to this call is live in Holiness.
HOLINESS: THE ANSWER TO DOING WHAT COMES NATURALLY
The longer I live and the more I read and hear, the more concerned Ii have become regarding Christians living according to the sinful nature. This is variously called, living according to the desires of the flesh, carnal nature and indicates an incomplete divorce from the call of the world from the former way of life.
The concern is two-fold: God pronouncement- “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God” and our prevalence- the increasing posture of fence-sitting done by God’s redeemed people. Here are three example of behavior that falls under the “prevalence” caption and under the condemnation of the pronouncement factor.
My wife was recently speaking to a well-respected man in our brotherhood of faith. He told her how she could use her cell phone without paying any charges. He was not a crook, but a Christian. Apparently he made an arbitrary distinction between cheating an individual and a large company.
George Gallup was addressing a national seminar of Southern Baptist leaders. He said, “We find very little difference in ethical behaviour between churchgoers and those who are not active religiously. The levels of lying, cheating and stealing are remarkably similar in both groups.”
A preacher of the gospel was invited to dinner at the home of a very wealthy man in Texas. After the meal, the host led him to a place where they could get a good view of the surrounding area.
Pointing to the oil well punctuating the landscape, he boasted, “Twenty-five years ago I had nothing. Now, as far as I can see, its all mine.” Looking in the opposite direction at the sprawling fields of grain, he said, “That’s all mine ,” Turning to the east toward huge herds of cattle, he bragged, “They’re all mine.” Then pointing to the west and a beautiful forest, he exclaimed, “That’s all mine too.”
He paused, expecting the minister to compliment him on his great success. The preacher, however, placing one hand on the man’s shoulder and pointing heavenward with the other, simply said, “How much do you have in that direction? “The man hung his head and confessed, “I never thought of that dimension.”
As God’s children, we need to realize all the above actions are contrary to His will and fall under his condemnation. People who live according to the world’s standards would not agree with us, but we are, according to Jesus, “IN the world but not OF the world.” Jesus expect a life of holiness form his holy ones.
HOLINESS IS HOW WE LIVE SPIRITUALLY , DAILY.
Defined, this would literally be “set apart “or “different”. Perhaps this is demonstrated in the building of an altar of stones upon which is offered a sacrifice to God. It is intentionally separated from the earth.
The first two verses of the practical portion of the book of Romans lays it out for us. It says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”- Romans 12
It is helpful to note that the word “saint” is a translation of the exact same word in the original language and sanctified, sacred, and sanctuary are in the same family.
SOME OF THE THINGS WE KNOW OF AS HOLY
We believe in a HOLY GOD. See Isaiah 6 for a great illustration of this. We know that in Bible times certain buildings and rooms were designated “holy” or “more holy”. Some days were said to be “holy”. God referred to certain people as His “holy people”
However, the New Testament writings would indicate to us that today God only has “holy people!”. Note this telling passage- “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”- I Peter 1:14-16
Since this is so, do not be duped into saying, “I’m not saint...but...” Of course you are a saint, according to God’s Word, and that is all that counts. Not that you are a saint, one of God’s holy one, you must act like it.
HOLY PEOPLE ARE CONTAINERS FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT
We read this collectively - 16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. - I Cor. 3.
Paul also addressed the same group of Christians individually assuring them, 19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? - I Cor. 6.