“I am Adonai, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.” ~ Leviticus 11:45
“Following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, ‘You are to be holy because I am holy.’” ~ 1 Kefa 1:15-16
In this post, we will continue to consider that holiness for us as Believers is NOT an option that we can ignore.
Holiness Is Not an Option ~ Part B
As we learned in my last post, God’s nature demands holiness in the life of a Believer. When He calls us to salvation, He calls us to fellowship with Himself and His Son Yeshua (see I John 1:3). But God is light; in Him is no darkness at all (see I John 1:5). How then can we have fellowship with Him if we continue to walk in darkness?
- Holiness is required for fellowship with God. David asked the question, “Adonai, who can rest in your tent? Who can live on your holy mountain?” (Psalm 15:1). The answer given in the next four verses may be summarized as “he who leads a holy life.” Prayer is a vital part of our fellowship with God; yet the psalmist said, “Had I cherished evil thoughts, Adonai would not have listened.” (Psalm 66:18) To regard wickedness is to cherish some sin, to love it to the extent that I am not willing to part with it. I know it is there, yet I justify it in some way like the child who says, “Well, he hit me first.” When we are holding on to some sin, we are not pursuing holiness and we cannot have fellowship with God. God does not require a perfect, sinless life to have fellowship with Him, but He does require that we be serious about holiness, that we grieve over sin in our lives instead of justifying it, and that we earnestly pursue holiness as a way of life. According to Psalm 5:4-6, God hates sin. We cannot be presumptuous, by ignoring sin in our attitude and heart, and expect God to respond to our prayers. We need to confess our sins to Him and be cleansed.
- Holiness is also required for our own well-being. Scripture says, “For Adonai disciplines those he loves and whips everyone he accepts as a son.” (Hebrews 12:6) This statement presupposes our need of discipline, for God is not capricious in administering it. He disciplines us because we need discipline. David described the discipline of the Lord this way: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away because of my groaning all day long; day and night your hand was heavy on me; the sap in me dried up as in a summer drought.” (Psalm 32:3-4) When God speaks to us about some sin, we need to heed and take action. To fail to deal with that sin is to risk incurring His hand of discipline. God is serious about holiness in the lives of His people, and He will discipline us to attain it.
- Holiness is necessary for effective service to God. Sha’ul wrote to Timothy, “If a person keeps himself free of defilement by the latter [dishonorable conduct], he will be a vessel set aside for honorable use by the master of the house and ready for every kind of good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21). Holiness and usefulness are linked together. We cannot bring our service to God in an unclean vessel. The One who makes our service effective and who empowers us for service is the Ruach HaKodesh. When we indulge our sinful natures and dwell in ungodliness, the Ruach is grieved (see Ephesians 4:30) and will not prosper our service. These are not times when we fall into temptation and immediately seek God’s forgiveness and cleansing, but life’s that are characterized by unholy living.
- Holiness is necessary for our assurance of salvation – not at the moment of salvation, but over the course of our lives. True faith will always show itself by its fruits. “Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation – the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The only safe evidence that we are in Yeshua is a holy life. John said everyone who has within him the hope of eternal life purifies himself just as Yeshua is pure (see I John 3:3). Sha’ul said, “All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons.” (Romans 8:14) If we know nothing of holiness, we may flatter ourselves that we are Believers but we do not have the Ruach dwelling within us.
Everyone, then, who professes to be a Believer should ask himself, “Is there evidence of practical holiness in my life? Do I desire and strive after holiness? Do I grieve over my sins and lack of holiness and earnestly seek the help of God to be holy?”
It is not those who profess to know Yeshua who will enter heaven, but those whose lives are holy. Even those who do “great works” will not enter heaven unless they also do the will of God. Yeshua said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. On that Day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name?’ Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
Hear these words. Mediate on these words. Confess your sins to God and make restitution as necessary. Be holy, because He is holy. Holiness is not an option; it is a command of our Father.
In my next post, we will begin to explore the Holiness of Yeshua.