Is Holiness Relevant For Today?

God’s command to the Israelites was, “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (Lev 20:7). Yet, the same command is repeated in the New Testament to born again believers, “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Holiness was not just for the Old Testament people of God.

imageHoliness is important to God. In fact, holiness is the very essence of who God is.

So what does holiness mean? The basic meaning of the word holiness is to be ‘set apart’ or dedicated to God.

Sadly, being holy is not discussed very often in churches today because it seems to be outdated and too challenging to live out. It’s important to understand that holiness is not just a matter of what I do or don’t do which would then qualify me as being holy or not.

In fact, I believe obeying certain guidelines and rules would be ‘easier’ than actually having to explore what is inside of me in striving for holiness. Our Pastor mentioned the other day the Bible verse, our ‘heart is desperately wicked, who can know it?’ (Jer 17:9). That is where holiness occurs…in our heart…our mind, will and emotions.

So in our pursuit of holiness, examining our heart against God’s holiness is the right place to start. God’s holiness is found in the Bible. When you start to read on the subject of holiness in the Bible, you see that holiness is much more than just being morally pure.  Morality is certainly part of holiness but that is not all that it is.

Holiness for you and I as believers is demonstrated through our day to day lives; our day to day behaviours including our thinking patterns.

God requires you and I to be set apart from the world. I don’t believe this means going and living on a compound somewhere away from society but rather that we live in the world by God’s standards and not the world’s standards. Marching to the beat of God’s drum rather than this world’s drum. In fact, when Jesus was on earth, He totally went against what the accepted religious believers lived and taught at that time. He was set apart.

If I am set apart – who am I set apart from?  God is asking you and I to be set apart from the value system of this world. So much of what the world projects today is self interest, self preservation and self promotion. Yet, the holiness that God teaches us is so different from this. God’s holiness teaches us to ‘in love prefer one another’ (Rom 12:1), ‘deny yourself’ (Mat 16:24) and ‘humble yourself before God’ (James 4:10).

Holiness is not like a garment that you can put on but rather it is something that is cultivated in our lives through the choices we make.  Choosing to spend time in prayer every day; reading and meditating on the Word of God every day; forgiving others; fellowshipping with other believers are the foundation of holiness.

Why is holiness so important?  Firstly, because holiness is important to God, it needs to be important to me.  I love God and I desire to obey His Word and please Him.

HolinessSecondly, the Bible says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord,” (Heb 12:14).  So cultivating holiness in my life is imperative if I desire to be saved.

I don’t want to be like the Pharisees – Jesus said of them, “Ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness,” (Mat 23:27).

I don’t just want to look the part on the outside but I want to be full of life (God’s power) and clean (through His righteousness) from the inside out!  How is that possible?  By allowing the Lord to cultivate in me His character.

Am I truly set apart from this world and dedicated to God and His Kingdom?  An interesting question to ask ourselves, don’t you think?

This is a post from Jena Grech, the Assistant Pastor of The Pentecostals of Sydney and author of “Fruitful in the Land of My Affliction”

Out of this World

You may have heard the saying; ‘Out of this World’… It’s a figure of speech that describes something as impressive or enjoyable. Like the latest decadent cronut dessert or the dream holiday experience, it would not be misplaced to ascribe this colloquialism to them. And rightly so in some cases.
What would also be appropriate is to attribute this same saying to the Children of God. We are in the world but we’re not of this world. Jesus spake this of his followers; “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” John 15:19

39931What Christ is referring to is based on the truth that the world’s system is ruled by Satan, considered the god of this world (2 Cor 4:4, Luke 4:5-6). As Believers, we live physically on this planet in this physical world but there is also a spiritual reality where the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts. As not being of this world, we have a different value system and different morals and ethics. We learn and apply such concepts and ideas from the Word of God and by the inspiration of God. Our attitudes, behaviours, thoughts, presentation, priorities and every other aspect of our lives are to be influenced and determined not by popular media or celebrities or even politicians but they are to be determined by the absolute truth of God’s Word.

It’s not to say that everything in the world is bad, it is not, in fact all truth is God’s Truth. But when issues conflict with the Word of God which is becoming common place in the world today, we as Christians must remain faithful to the standards of morality and holiness that must be applied in this world but is of another world.

The sad indictment on this world came in John 1:10 -11 where it says; “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” The God of all Creation came to the world that He created and yet the inhabitants of the world rejected him. It is no different with God’s Church, where we are in this world but rejected and mocked and persecuted because we are not of this world. Yes we are awesome! Because we serve a God who is ‘Out of this World’!

This is a blog post from Stanley Harvey, the Senior Pastor of the Pentecostals of Sydney.