Friday, February 20, 2009

Holiness

In Leviticus 11, God is giving instructions for clean and unclean food. In verse 44, God sums everything up..."consecrate yourselves and be holy, for I am holy."
As Christians, we like to-do lists. It makes everything clear and easy to define. What God says is slightly different than what we want it to say. After giving a big list of what is and isn't clean, the next part doesn't say that this will make you holy. In essence, it is telling his people how to consecrate themselves so that they can be on their way to holiness. God gives two different commands, not different versions of the same command. The first step is to be consecrated, to set ourselves apart, to remove the things that keep us from him. Only then can we begin to become holy. Holy isn't something to do, it's something to be. It's much easier to do something that to be something. To do something just means I have to put forth some effort. To be something requires that I change who I am.
That doesn't mean that our Christian walk should be marked by inactivity since we're so busy "being" holy. There are two separate things here and we need to be careful to tend to both. Just as inactive holiness is useless, so is activity that isn't marked by holiness. Our activities do not make us holy, or else God would have told the Israelites to do those things and they would have achieved holiness. At the same time, God gave them instructions anyway. If holiness isn't something that can be "done", then what's with the list? He was showing them the necessary steps to prepare themselves.
Just as holiness isn't something that we can do, we can never reach that place without a cost. I keep hearing this idea over and over in different places and different formats. In a very real sense, my salvation is a free gift. But that doesn't mean that it is without cost. To be holy demands that a price be paid. If I am not becoming holy, I am ignoring God's explicit instruction. If I am one of his children, then verse 44 applies directly to me. I am mandated to consecrate myself so that I can become holy. Why should I consecrate myself? Because it is the path to holiness, a necessary path to take. Why should I become holy? Because my Father is and he wants me to be more like him.

2 comments:

F.A. Morgan said...

Nicely written John... thanks for the reminder.

Jason Sharpe said...

John,

I have to wonder with you, do our lives really reflect who God has called us to be. I mean we all would love to say that we are Holy, and live Holy lives but in His eyes are we really holy? I think that we must strive to become more like Christ and holiness will follow. I have seen people who were so far from holiness, but yet called themselves followers of Christ. We must be very careful not to fall into a trap of what the world thinks holy is and we must become as Christ wanted us to be Holy, that is holy in the greatest way possible. Pure. Without blemish. Spotless. Just like our Savior. Will we ever be truly Holy until we reach Heaven. I cannot answer that, but I would argue that we may never get there until we stand face to face with Him. We can only strive to become more like Him. Thanks for sharing these thoughts John.

Jason