This morning I've been thinking about holiness and holy living. What kicked this off was this familiar verse is 1 Peter v. 16 "Ye shall be holy; for I am holy." Therefore our goal in life is not happiness, health or any of these things (these are the things added "unto you") but holiness.
Unfortunately I have been less-than-holy so many times! Sheeeeesh! From childhood I have associated holiness with this long string of do's and don'ts. But seeing holiness as rule keeping really causes some major problems and really limits what Biblical holiness is. OK, the "rules" more likely than not are Biblically based there is this big tendency to obey rules instead of God. And this concern for the letter of the law which cause us to lose its spirit. Then comes this attitude that we can be holy through our own efforts in spite of the fact Paul said that there can be no holiness apart from the Holy Spirit, and its grace that causes us to even want to be holy! Then there are those whose pious efforts at rule keeping, and are even good at it publicly at least. These are the ones who like to point fingers at others, gossip ect. I've been the one who has had the fingers pointed at me and on many occasions. Then it dawned on me "Thank God I'm everything I never wanted to be," you know what I mean? Its obvious I can never live up to it and am totally dependent on grace. I can never make it on following the rules. Rule keeping leads to self righteousness anyways which is the very opposite of true holiness! Its hard to be humble and "esteem our brothers (and sisters) above ourselves" when we are doing it on our own.
This may be a Tim tangent but I think it fits. From Exodus to Revelation we have this imagery of God "pitching His tent" among His people. A truly awesome thought when you think about it for any length of time. In Exodus 29:44-45 "...I will dwell among the Israelites." In John 1:14 "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." And taken to its conclusion, John when describing the new heaven and new earth in Revelation 21:3 "...He shall dwell among them,..." Each time the word "dwell" means to "pitch a tent" in the original language. Now we are getting to what holiness is. God pitching His tent; first in the tabernacle, then in Christ and Christ in us, and then in our future life... At its base holiness means wholeness. One cannot be whole without a relationship with their Creator. It is living in Gods presence .. He has pitched His tent among us.
These are strange verses maybe to quote on this subject from Zechariah 14:20-21. This is a picture of the millennial reign of God. "On that day "Holy to the Lord" will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lords house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judea will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and pans and cook in them." Say what?!
Heres what I think its getting at; When God is at the center of your life, then every moment, every commonplace object of your existence is touched by His presence. Visibly true some future day, spiritually true now. There is this talk of "victory" in the Christian life which I think is kinda skewed. It seems to mean how God will conquer sin for us and is self centered. Sin is not simply the wrong we do to others and/or ourselves. All sin is a root rebellion or offense to God Himself. Its all about Jesus, what we can do to please Him, not what He can do for us. Personal victories may come but is the result, not the object. I'll conclude with Jesus' parable of the vine and its branches. (John 15:1-8) Holiness is walking with our creator completing us to be what we are supposed to be. In this passage Jesus explained that we do not PRODUCE fruit through our own efforts but BEAR fruit only by abiding in Him and letting Him work through us. Another thing that comes out of this passage is that what we are called to do or be is IMPOSSIBLE! "Apart from me you can do nothing." To grow in holiness is to grow closer to Jesus, knowing Him more clearly, practicing His presence in even the littlest of things, loving Him more, obeying Him more... Even when we seemingly screw up our lives repeatedly, He cleans up and we are back into holiness with our first step of obedience.
We are (not will be but ARE) a Holy Nation 1 Peter 2:9...