1 Peter 1:14-16 (ESV)
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
God is Holy.
(This is part 17 of our study on ‘Who is God‘)
I find it interesting – for years I have proclaimed God as Holy – we hear it in the psalms, we sing it in our worship songs. We hear it in our sermons; we write it when we share with others. But what does being holy mean?
Holy means in one sense without sin – but more than that it means separated from sin, not just without it, but utterly against it. God is totally, completely, and utterly separated from sin. God is set apart, perfect, and without fault.
So God is not only without sin, but he hates sin. That is why he sent Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins, that we might be right with Him. Because He is holy, He cannot accept our worship when we are sinful. He cannot be in fellowship with us because of our sin. But those who have accepted Jesus payment for that sin can once again be seen as holy before God, and be right with Him.
1 John 1:5 (ESV)
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
What does this mean for me?
There are two key messages I think we can take immediately from God’s holiness.
The first is, God hates sin. So when you sin, God can’t just ‘let it slide’ or excuse you. No, each time we sin we need to rely again on the blood of Jesus that cost so much, to atone for that sin. Do you want to be right with God? I would assume so since you are here reading this! Then you need to as much as possible, remove yourself from sin. It is a tough line to follow – yes, the blood of Jesus covers your sins. But that sacrifice was given at a great price – at the death of the incarnate Son of God. If you want a motivator not to sin, take some time to think on God’s holiness.
Matthew 12:50 (ESV)
For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.
I know – we can’t live a perfect life! Romans 6 and 7 are examples of this. We are caught in a ‘body of death’ that is born into sin and just can’t help it. But there are things we can do. When we see sin and recognise it, we need to run! When we see that we are being drawn into sin, we need to avoid it! When we feel tempted to sin, we need to pray that God might strengthen us to overcome it, or to run from it, anything but be a part of it.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (ESV)
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
The one last thing is we need to know we are not perfect. We need to not ‘think’ we can stand, that we can on our own resist sin and overcome it. Only Jesus lived a perfect life of obedience and without sin – it is simply beyond our natural means to live it. Don’t use that as an excuse though, but recognise then your need for God to intervene supernaturally into your life and circumstances, pray, and watch what miracle God will achieve!
Secondly, God does not author sin; God does not condone sin in any form. God is holy – He hates sin! There are times when things happen to us and we might claim ‘why is God doing this to me?’ God isn’t doing anything to you that involves sin! We live in a fallen world, and could take a long time discussing what that means. But know this – God doesn’t condone sin, and God does not author sin. People will sin against us, but God doesn’t direct them to do it. So when bad things do happen, because we live in a fallen sinful world which will stay that way until Jesus returns, call out to God! You may not like what is happening to you, but know that God hates sin more than you ever could.
Psalm 99:9 (ESV)
Exalt the LORD our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the LORD our God is holy!
Lord God, thank you for Your word that can teach us about You. Guide us to it, draw us to a place that we can’t help but read it every day, and meditate on it every hour. Teach us to know you more. Help us to know how truly holy You are, and what that means. Give us a desire to be holy, just as You are holy, as we look forward to the return of Jesus in this earth to set all things right once again. In Jesus Name. Amen.