We are in a series titled “I am” based on the Scripture found in Ex 3:14 – “I AM WHO I AM.” We have spoken about being more than conquerors, being thankful, being prayerful, being a Temple of God. This week I want to highlight the thought – “I am Holy.” The Holiness of God is one of the most significant characteristics by which he reveals himself to us. “Holy” and “holiness” occur more than 900 times in Scripture, and both the Old and New Testaments speak more about his holiness than any other attribute. Jonathan Edwards said, “A true love of God must begin with a delight in His holiness, and not with a delight in any other attribute; for no other attribute is truly lovely without this.” God’s Holiness SETS HIM APART from his creation, there is none like him. So how do we develop a “delight” in holiness? How do we state “I am Holy” while living in a fallen and sinful world? Even preaching on holiness is challenging because I know that in some areas of my life I struggle with temptation and sin. Tozer found it difficult to preach about, because he sensed that he could never do it justice.
Beginning in Leviticus, we see that nature of God’s holiness introduced:
· I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy... (Lev 11:44a).
· I am the Lord who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy (Lev 11:45).
· 1 Peter 1:15-16 offers a direct quote from Leviticus – “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
What’s meant by “holy” in 1 Peter 1:15-16? The word translated “holy” means sacred, morally blameless, consecrated, and saint. God is looking for some people who are set apart or consecrated His use.
In our day and age there is much emphasis on “getting saved” and taking on the name Christian. We are told our – “Salvation is found in no one else (Jesus Christ), for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We receive instruction about getting saved and being born-again and this is all good. Our salvation rests on the great love and mercy of God as we see Ephesians 2:1-10… These are such fulfilling words of Scripture that captures of salvation experience with Jesus.
However, Christ does not just save us from our sin, he saves us so that we might become holy and blameless in his sight (Eph 1:3-4). Holiness, on the one hand, is apprehending God’s heart and holiness. It is an intentional connection with the Divine. On the other hand, holiness is separation from the ordinary and sinful ways of life. As followers of Jesus, we should stick out and stand out, in other words, be set apart. Our lifestyles should be unique from unbelievers and match our profession of faith. That is easier said than done. In a day and age where good is evil and evil is good, we are constantly faced with compromise and temptations to live in a manner which isn’t pleasing to God.
· Justification is the completed act of God not only forgiving the believer’s sins but imputing to him the righteousness of Christ (Rom 5:1)
· Sanctification is the lifelong process by which we become holy (1 Thess 5:23).
I am Holy
So back to the declaration, “I am Holy.” How can this be true? I confess that my spiritual life and position with God is one of having been forgiven and made righteous. However, I am justified because of what Jesus has done for me and if I was to die and pass into eternity today, I enter as a (holy) saint, not as a sinner. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of one who walked in holiness. If we look at how He lived and exemplified holiness, we see a life committed to honoring a Holy God, while showing love and mercy to us. Holiness and love in action is key – “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones” (1 Thess 3:12-13).
Here a five keys to practicing “I am Holy”
1. Apprehend God’s Heart and holiness.
Let us make holiness a goal in life. Rather than going with the flow of a society moving away from God, let’s seek God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. If you want to grow in holiness, learn to hang out with our Holy God (Hebr 12:14).
2. Don’t resist the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the one who applies God’s righteousness to our lives as holiness (1 Peter 1:2). The Spirit works in us so that we can be holy as Christ, a process referred to as sanctification, because we are growing and maturing toward holiness.
3. Obedience is essential.
In other words, there is no outward holiness without obedience. All the heroes of faith were set apart (made holy) by God as they obeyed by faith (Hebr 11:8).
4. Avoid legalism.
As we pursue God, we will become more like him in holiness. We must not make holiness into a set of morals or rules by which we live our lives. Our salvation started with the Spirit of God and must continue in our passion and pursuit of Jesus (Gal 3:1-5).
5. Aim for Progress, Not Perfection.
There are times when Christians don’t strive to be holy because we consider it impossible. God is not leading us to an unachievable level of perfection, but to persistently strive to growth in our faith. How? Through the power of God’s Word (John 17:17).
As believers we are to be holy not because we want to be loved by God but because we are already loved in Christ. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). And the best way to show that we love God is by seeking to become holy because he is holy. I am Holy and it is my desire to live in such a way as to honour our Holy God… Amen…