Holiness Lesson # 1 >>>

LESSON 1 of 5


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:
a. physically pure
b. morally blameless
c. religiously set aside for the service of God

2. In the Bible we read that:
a. God is a Spirit (John 4:24).
b. God is light (I John 1:5).
c. God is love (I John 4:8, 16).
d. God is holy (Leviticus 19:2).

These are not qualities or characteristics of God--they are the very essence of God's nature--what He is!

God has special angels that proclaim His holiness: "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory" (Isaiah 6:1-3).

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" (Revelation 4:8).

The first man was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). It can be said that he was holy, because he was spiritually, morally, and physically pure before the fall. He had been especially set aside for fellowship with God, and God would come into the garden and fellowship with the man He had created. When Adam fell into sin, this beautiful fellowship came to a halt, not because God did not love Adam, but because God is holy, and He cannot fellowship where there is sin. (This fellowship was partially restored when God killed two animals, instead of Adam and Eve, thus instituting the substituionary sacrifice system.)

"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).

The strongest 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).

When God brought Israel out of Egypt, at Mount Sinai He gave them an important message: "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Exodus 19:4-6).

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.

Although God gave Israel the law, the priesthood, and the tabernacle to help them become a holy nation, they failed miserably in that respect. The law taught them what was good and right, but they did not have the spiritual strength to keep it (Romans 7:14).

The whole problem is man's carnal nature. Man is "born in sin . . . shapen in iniquity" (Psalm 51:5). Our own self-achieved righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). The entire Old Testament is a four thousand-year history of man trying to live right, and utterly failing to do so. The law revealed to man his sins, but did not give him power to overcome them.

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:
1. destroy Satan's power over us (Hebrews 2:14-15).
2. give us forgiveness for our past sins (Hebrews 9:22, 28; I John 1:7-9).
3. give us all things that pertain unto life and godly living (II Peter 1:3).

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)


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