Summary: “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy” Lev. 19:2.
Theme: Jesus, our perfect example of holiness
Text: Lev. 19:1-2, 9-18; 1 Cor. 3:16-23; Matt. 5:38-48
Holiness is necessary to come before a holy God and to be the source of our blessing the Lord commands us to be holy as He is holy. This simple command has generated many debates and interpretations that has and still creates a big problem for many Churches and for many people. There are some people and Churches that equate holiness with outward behaviour and appearances. There are some Churches that in the pursuit of so called Holiness require that women not wear trousers, make up, or jewellery. Their preaching and understanding of holiness leads some people to view holiness as the result of reading the Bible, praying, paying tithes, and spending time in Church. All these Church activities are important but being holy is a ministry of the Holy Spirit who unites your mind with the mind of God so that you can glorify Him by doing His will. Jesus is our perfect example of holiness.
Jesus Christ is our perfect example of holiness. As God He is the Word of God but as a man He relied on the Word of God in every situation. His reliance on the Word of God made Him to have the mind of God. Through His reliance on the Word of God He loved what God loved and hated what God hated. Jesus lived a holy life according to the will of God because He valued and nurtured a relationship with God through His life of prayer. The more intimate you are with a person the better you know that person and Jesus had the same mind with God through His intimate relationship with Him. Jesus Christ was so intimate with God that He depended on His Spirit to lead and guide Him. He did not do anything apart from the Holy Spirit that was given to Him “without measure”. (John 3:34)
Holiness, as the word implies, is the work of the Holy Spirit. It means to be like minded with God and set apart for His service. In the Old Testament, God set apart a people and gave them commandments that revealed His will. These commandments concerned the welfare and care for the needy. The evidence of their concern was to be demonstrated in their lives. During the harvest, they were not to harvest the edges of their fields but leave them for the poor to glean. God revealed His will when He commanded them to love and treat others with respect. He revealed His will when He commanded them not to steal, lie or oppress the poor but act justly. In the New Testament God makes it possible for us to live a life of holiness in the power of the Holy Spirit and the life of Christ is our perfect example of holiness. It is expressed in His reliance on the Holy Spirit and His obedience to the Word of God. Jesus Christ is not only our example but also the One who sanctifies the believer. He who sanctifies others must himself be holy “For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers.” (Heb. 2:11)
The death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has made a life of holiness possible for believers. The blood of Christ was shed for our redemption to fulfil the Scriptures, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The death, burial and resurrection of Christ led to our forgiveness, justification and sanctification. Christ took our sin and gave us His righteousness. His blood was also shed for our justification. We become just as if we had never sinned because God has chosen not to remember our sin anymore. He declares, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more”. (Jer. 31:34) Christ died that we might be justified and sanctified, made holy, by the Holy Spirit. His word declares “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them”. (Ez. 36:26-27)
The commandments of the Lord pointed the way to holiness but lacked the power to make one holy. God provided the way when He instituted the sacrifice of animals to pay the penalty for sin and make one righteous. The sacrifice of animals served only a temporary purpose and had to be often repeated. It however pointed to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ which was once and for all time. Jesus Christ shed His blood to make us holy and a holy life is not possible without Christ. When we believe in Christ and are saved our spirits are recreated perfect and become “God's temple for God’s Spirit to live in”. (1 Cor. 3:16) God’s Spirit then leads us to renew our minds so that we can have the mind of Christ and be “conformed to His image”. (Romans 8:29) Jesus Christ has freed us from sin and Satan and given us the Holy Spirit to make it possible for us to walk in His statutes. When we accept Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord the Holy Spirit comes to live in us and empowers us to live holy lives.