Summary: Some of God’s commandments & statutes we find easy to follow, others are a little more difficult for us to faithfully follow. God has given us a command that is explicit in the standard He expects us to live by: "You must be holy because I am holy"
God’s definition of Holy
We continue in our preaching series on discovering your destiny. For the next few weeks we are going to be considering how setting high standards in our lives is important as disciples of Jesus. This morning we are going to think about what it means to be decent and orderly in the sight of God.
Some of God’s commandments and statutes we find quite easy to follow, others are a little more difficult for us to faithfully follow.
When we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we repented, we turned away from our old sinful lives and turned to Christ. Because we chose to trust in Jesus,we were forgiven of our sins, God adopted us into His family and God has called us to live a different life.
We are human, we are not perfect, and God in His loving Grace and mercy has forgiven and continues to forgive us, but we should never use God’s forgiveness as a licence for us to behave however we want, whenever we want. If we are honest with ourselves this morning, it is true to say that each of us have experienced times in our lives when we have fallen short of God’s expectation and standards.
So what standard has God set? What does really God expect of us?
God has given us a command that is explicit in the standard He expects us to live by a command that is found in both the Old and New Testaments, Leviticus 11:44, Leviticus 20:26 and 1 Peter 1:16 says: “You must be holy because I am holy.”
You must be holy because God is holy...But what does it mean to be holy? What is holiness?
Google defines holiness in this way: holiness - the state of being holy - “a life of holiness and total devotion to God”
synonyms: sanctity, divinity, godliness, saintliness, sanctitude, sacredness, faith, devotion, devoutness, divineness, blessedness, spirituality, religiousness, piety, piousness, righteousness, goodness, perfection, virtue, virtuousness, purity, sinlessness.
Let’s be honest, for some people, “holiness” is seen as something too difficult to achieve.
When you think about being holy what pictures or thoughts come into your mind? Old musty churches and cathedrals? Monks and nuns? Victorian standards of dress; every man in a three-piece suit and highly polished shoes and every woman in church wearing a hat?
Or do you associate holiness with moral behaviour, sexual purity, financial honesty, and commitment to private prayer.
We can have legalistic notions of holiness. We can have moralistic notions of holiness. We can behave as if holiness is either outdated or something that only needs to effect a small part of our lives. Yet, God has commanded us “You must be holy because I am holy.”
What does really God expect of us?
The biblical idea of holiness, includes private morality and much, much more. The biblical idea of holiness involves us living the life God has planned and purposed for us. Living according to God’s standards and precepts, not by the world’s standards, not by our own standards, living by God’s standards. Holiness is not just for advanced spiritually-elite Christians, holiness is meant to be at centre of our lives.
Do you understand the importance of holiness in your own life?
The term Christian can mean so many things today, and because of the way many so called “Christians” live their everyday lives. It is easy to understand why many people call Christians hypocrites because many people in the world today do not see Christians as morally different in any meaningful way.
Many Christians have allowed themselves to be swayed by popular opinion or by what our modern culture thinks is acceptable, they have accepted compromise and error instead of standing firm on what God has said is right and wrong.
As a follower of Jesus, as a disciple of Christ, as one who has repented and turned away from sin, God has placed a call on our lives, a command to holy living, a command to be different, a command to be holy.
Has God set the bar too high? Has God set a standard that is too difficult for us to reach?
Let me give you an illustration, the high jump is a track and field event in which competitors must jump unaided over a horizontal bar placed at measured heights without dislodging it. In its modern most practised format, a bar is placed between two standards with a crash mat for landing. In 1912 the highest recorded high jump by a man was 6ft 6 and 3/4 inches or 2 metres. Since 1912, athletes have tried various techniques to jump higher and every so often the original record was beaten. In 1989 the Cuban athlete Javier Sotomayer achieved a high jump of 8ft, 2.44 meters. A foot and a half or 44 centimetres higher than the 1912 record. Not content with that record in 1993 Javier beat his own record by a 1/4 of an inch, another centimetre at 2.45 metres. 8 foot and a quarter inch, 2.45 metres, the record has not been broken since 1993.