Things Christians Need to Talk About: Holiness
How often have you heard “God loves me just as I am”? How true is it, do you think? From what I’ve read in scripture, this isn’t the case at all. One of the 10 commandments (number three, to be exact) says “Do not take the name of the Lord your God in Vain.” God values His name Highly. He destroyed Israel and Judah for what they did to His name in the way they acted and conducted themselves. For His Name’s Sake, God Raised up kingdoms, and leveled kingdoms. This is how He values His name. When we presume “God loves me just as I am,” what we’re really stating is “I can have God on my terms, I can do what I want, and have it all.” That’s not true. God is Holy. What does Holy mean, exactly? It means set apart, above, other than. God is not like us in the least. To arrogantly presume that we can just waltz in to God’s presence, make a list of demands and He’s going to be cool with it speaks to our flesh and rebellious nature.
I will argue that God doesn’t love us AS we are, but He loves us WHERE we are, and His desire is to restore us to His design. He desires to make us Holy, as He is Holy. Holiness should be something we seek. Consider, if you will, all of the things we watch, listen to, or participate in. Are they things that will draw us to the Holiness of God, or drive us further from Him? It’s not to say we shouldn’t enjoy the gifts God has given us. We should, however, desire God’s Holiness. We should desire His presence and His Holiness to be close to us always. This was the reason for the laws on Purity in the Old Testament, and this is the gift we get in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit because of Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice. We shouldn’t take it for granted! The Holiness of God is in His presence, and His presence is where all believers should desire to be. God is so good, wonderful, holy, just, kind, and marvelous, and there is no adequate amount of time, or words in any language to describe His glory, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to talk about it! So seek God’s Holiness! Speak of it always!
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
1 Peter 1: 13-25
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 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.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.