Summary: Holiness defines the life of that one who walks with the Lord. Holiness is not caught, it is cultivated. Unrighteousness, however, is contagious.

“On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: Ask the priests about the law: “If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?”’ The priests answered and said, ‘No.’ Then Haggai said, ‘If someone who is unclean by contact with a dead body touches any of these, does it become unclean?’ The priests answered and said, ‘It does become unclean.’ Then Haggai answered and said, ‘So is it with this people, and with this nation before me, declares the LORD, and so with every work of their hands. And what they offer there is unclean. Now then, consider from this day onward. Before stone was placed upon stone in the temple of the LORD, how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the LORD. Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid, consider: Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you.’” [1]

When I first began working on this message, last December, I was suffering with a severe flu. My wife was not eager to share my illness, so she carefully avoided touching anything that might be contaminated. She wiped counter surfaces with disinfectant, even going so far as to wipe down the channel changer if I had handled it. She refused to allow me to do any cooking, something I truly enjoy doing, lest I inadvertently sneeze on the food and contaminate her. Actually, she was being quite sensible, acting as would anyone concerned for their own health.

We do all we can to avoid catching a virus, don’t we? In modern society, we are trained to avoid shaking hands during the cold and flu season. Instead, we touch elbows, admittedly a weird action, but necessitated by the fact that we recognise that colds and flus are communicable. We have been introduced to “social distancing.” Talk about keeping people at arms length! You can come to within six feet of me, and no farther. We wipe down the bathroom and kitchen counters, using chemicals which will kill “99% of the viruses that cause colds and flus.”

Though we seldom articulate the principles involved in our actions, the principles are biblical, though few would know that. The message today is an appeal to reason, an appeal to common sense, if you will. If what we shall be considering this morning is not common sense, then, surely it qualifies as biblically sensible. The question raised by the message is simple—can one catch health. I’ve phrased the question in this way: If I can catch the coronavirus, can I catch health? The answer is obvious; and, yet, people, even professing Christians, seem baffled when we focus on the realm of spiritual health.

PRINCIPLE NUMBER ONE: HOLINESS IS NOT CONTAGIOUS — “Ask the priests about the law: ‘If someone carries holy meat in the fold of his garment and touches with his fold bread or stew or wine or oil or any kind of food, does it become holy?’ The priests answered and said, ‘No’” [HAGGAI 2:10-12]. The principle is—you can’t catch holiness! Holiness is not communicable. Hanging around godly people will not make you godly.

Let’s restate this principle in language that has been used on other occasions by numerous individuals. You are not a Christian because your mother was a Christian. Because your granddad was saved doesn’t mean you are saved. Being born in a bagel factory doesn’t make you Jewish. Living in a garage doesn’t make you a Mercedes Benz, and going to church services doesn’t make you a Christian. A right standing with the Living God, must be attained by each individual. Salvation is not transferable; you can’t “catch” salvation. Sanctification is not contagious; holiness doesn’t rub off.

To be certain, there are benefits to being raised in a home with Christian parents. In the First Letter to Corinthian Christians which was written by the Apostle, we read this insightful instruction to believers, “To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy” [1 CORINTHIANS 7:12-14].

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