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Holy - Who Me?

by Susan Budensiek  
9/02/2017 / Christian Living


We have lost the vision of being holy, and as believers, are merely a group of people who claim to share a common belief in Jesus as our Savior, who live no differently day-to-day than the culture we are surrounded by. Jesus bequeathed to us that vision when He gave his disciples what we call the Great commission in Matthew 28:19-20 (NAS). "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

 

Many places in the scripture tell us that Christians are a people who are supposed to be holy, set apart, consecrated – “a peculiar people” as it is put in the KJV. This is God’s design, His plan, and like everything He does, it requires a response from us – us, we who proudly profess that He is our Lord, our Savior, and our Master…not that an observer would be able to discern it from watching most of us. “Therefore consecrate yourselves—you people must be holy, because I am ADONAI your God. Observe my regulations, and obey them; I am ADONAI, who sets you apart to be holy.” Leviticus 20:7-8 (CJB)

 

Everyone should have a general idea of what holiness is, but let’s assume for now that a definition or description is necessary. Since there is an incomplete doctrine that is very popular these days making its mark in the world, the first thing to recognize is that this ‘holiness’ we are talking about is NOT referring to being justified or saved by ‘works.’ Nor is it advocating we must be ‘perfect’ as we normally think of the word. Matthew 5:48 says, “Therefore, be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” In this context, ‘perfect’ means entire, complete, with sincerity fully developed.” (CJB)

 

Furthermore, except maybe for those who have been deceived into believing the Law with its moral code is irrelevant now, we [who claim to be Christians] would say we should live holy lives because the scriptures tell us so. But stop and think how horrendously rampant such lip service is today. Christians say the right things while at the same time daily carry on as if they are above having to live holy lives, as Hebrews 12:14 (CJB) says: “Keep pursuing shalom with everyone and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

 

It is one thing to slip up and an entirely different thing to practice sin day after day. I would hate to think we are so stupid as to not realize that basic immoral lifestyles – sexual impurity of all kinds, cheating (even on taxes!), lying (even a little), gossip, drunkenness, etc. – are sin and fall far short of the holiness God demands of those who associate themselves with His name. “As people who obey God, do not let yourselves be shaped by the evil desires you used to have when you were still ignorant. On the contrary, following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, ‘You are to be holy because I am holy.’” 1 Peter 1:14-16 (CJB)

 

This would probably be a good time to bring to mind the words of James 4:17: “So then, anyone who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it is committing a sin.” (CJB) Simply put, responsibility = the right thing to do. We are responsible for living a ‘holy’ life and most of us try our best for as much as we know. Once we know something we are held responsible by God, to do what we know is right. “In the past, God overlooked such ignorance; but now he is commanding all people everywhere to turn to Him from their sins.” (Acts 17:30 CJB) But what about when we see other professing Christians living contrary to God’s demands? Left un-addressed, this evil corrupts the entire body of believers.

 

Just imagine for a moment, that you know someone in this astronomical number of people, who doesn’t realize that he/she is doing the wrong thing by living any one of these lifestyles and using the excuse, “I’m not hurting anyone.” You know what is going on. You are a Christian. What, if any, is your responsibility? Equally as plainly told to us is the answer in Ezekiel 33. Before we are halfway through the chapter we are told three times what our duty is and what the outcome will be when we do the right thing…..and if we fail to do the right thing. In a nutshell if we don’t warn others when they are doing wrong, we are just as guilty. Don’t like the Old Testament? Then look at the little tiny book of 2 John. Only thirteen verses long, it speaks volumes, but for this discussion we are particularly concerned with verses 9-11: “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” (NAS)

 

The first thing that would come to my mind if someone gave me this instruction would be, “that’s easier said than done,” and truly it is. It would be unethical, hypocritical, and I dare say, sanctimonious, to presume to teach what I have not done myself. It is never easy and some of my most earnest prayers were born of my wimpy heart begging God for a way out of having to take a stand and confront those other professing Christians with the sins they were practicing. I think the hardest time was speaking with the pastor’s wife about her seemingly uncontrollable need to gossip about the other church members to me. No, it wasn’t easy or pleasant. No, we did not continue to be friends – she didn’t take it well.

 

Yes, reminding people, no matter how carefully and gently, usually spelled out the end of a friendship. Yes, it is always worth it. I am, by nature, one of those people who doesn’t like to make waves at all but I would have had a VERY hard time forgiving myself if I had knowingly refused to do the right thing, and thereby telling my Father in heaven that my friendship with another person was more important than being obedient to Him.

 

“Stay alert, stand firm in the faith, behave like a mentsh [good, reliable, moral, compassionate person], grow strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 (CJB)

I was raised in church but always felt like I was missing something. Now the Word of God excites me! My curiosity enhances pursuance of discernment. I have often felt dismayed but not discouraged knowing that in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

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