Sunday 8 December 2013

Paul Noble - What is Holiness?

This article is also on Paul Noble's blog here

When the Bible talks about being holy it is not really talking about being sinless. If it was, how could days, ground, places, garments, pots and pans, the Bible, cities, and even the law be sinless?

What the Bible means by the word holiness is for something or someone to be set be set apart, special or unique. I like the word to be different.

If you believe in Jesus Christ, you are called to be different to be special and unique – just like God:

1 Peter 1:15 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;”

So, because you are different, unique and special, don’t live like everyone else, swim against the tide - be like God: He is holy, unique, and special, there is none like him!

1 Samuel 2:2 “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.”

So, you are not trying to be holy (different). You are already different; you have a holy calling (2 Tim 1:9). The Bible calls you a saint: a holy one. We are part of a chosen generation, a holy nation, and a royal priesthood.

1 Peter 2:9 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 marvellous light:

For example, Prince Charles is called to be the King Of England someday. He is set apart for that office. Therefore, he cannot live like a commoner, even though he enjoys amazing privileges, he also accepts restrictions in keeping with his calling.

Likewise, because of the amazing calling on our lives, we should get rid of everything that is not in keeping with that calling.

2 Cor 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

So, the answer is not to withdraw from the world and from a sinful environment (Jesus didn’t become a Pharisee or a separate one). In fact, the religious Pharisees hated Jesus so much that they were prepared to have him killed (permanently separate themselves from him!) They were proud that they were different and not like the sinner not realizing that they were children of the devil!

No, God doesn’t call us to separate ourselves from the world by living as monks or nuns in a monastery. No, we are to put on Christ, wear him as our identity and get our hands dirty!

Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness

We are to follow the example of - the Son of God and become the friend of prostitutes and sinners. Was he worried that sin might contaminate him? Did he withdraw himself from the sinner because God couldn’t look upon sin? No, he contaminated sinners with the love of God, the most powerful antidote to sin on the planet!

See also

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