THE DEMAND AND REASON FOR HOLINESS
1. Definition of the word "holiness" : the quality or state of being holy, pure, godly.
The word, as used in the New Testament, comes from the Greek word
"haglos," which means to be:
These are not qualities or characteristics of God--they are the very
essence of God's nature--what He is!
The church also is to proclaim His holiness (the four beasts in the
book of Revelation represent the spiritual leaders in the church: "And
the four beasts had each of them six wings about him: and they were
full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy,
holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come"
"Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2).
God did not give Israel a thousand reasons why they must be holy, (nor is He forced to do the same for us). He told Israel simply, "Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy" (Leviticus 19:2). This demand of God was not to be confined to Israel, God's Old Testament church. Hundreds of years later, Peter wrote: "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (I Peter 1:15-16).
reason we can give why we should keep ourselves spiritually, morally,
and physically pure, is simply because God is holy and wants to have
fellowship with us. He wants us to live as His sons and daughters. If
we truly love Him, we will want to be more like Him: "Beloved,
now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall
be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for
we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him
purifieth himself, even as he is pure" (I John 3:2-3).
God gave them further commands as to what their relationship should be with the heathen when they came into the promised land to possess it: "Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire. For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth" (Deuteronomy 7:3-6).
Israel, God's Old Testament church, never attained to the holiness
God demanded and desired, because this kind of holiness can only come
from a life that has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, and
possessed by the Spirit of the living God. Thus the demands for holiness
are even stronger today than before the birth of the New Testament church.
The time came when God was ready to bring into existence a group of people who would indeed become a holy nation, the church of Jesus Christ. The angel spoke to Joseph: "Mary . . . shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus (JHVH Saviour): for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
What a beautiful promise! JHVH came into the world in the person of Jesus Christ to save us from, not in our sins. No wonder that the father of John the Baptist, Zacharias, prophesied: "That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life" (Luke 1:74-75).
Jesus Christ died on the cross to:
When we repent of our sins and are baptized in Jesus' name, our sins are forgiven (and even erased from the memory of God). But we still cannot live holy until the Holy Spirit comes in and takes control of our lives.
The church that was born on the day of Pentecost fulfilled the expectations of God like Israel never did! Peter was able to write of the New Testament church (including us who are a part of it today):
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (I Peter 2:9).
The apostles preached a balanced walk with God. They preached that we must love one another with the love of Jesus Christ. They preached that we must pray and seek God. They also preached a very strong holiness message. Be encouraged to look up and read the following scriptures that show us the importance of living a holy life, so that we can be ready when Jesus Christ comes back for His church:
Paul: Romans 6:1-2; 12:1-2; II Corinthians 6:14-18; 7:1; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 5:25-27; I Thessalonians 4:7; I Thessalonians 5:23; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 12:14
James: James 4:4
John: I John 2:15-17
Peter: II Peter 3:10-11 (ds)