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Part II: Does God makes us holy?

Part II: Does God makes us holy?
Part II: Does God makes us holy?
The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh
The Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer

Background text: 2 Timothy 1:9

Devotional text: 1 Peter 1:13-16

Last week, we looked at scripture from the Old Testament, particularly in Leviticus, to discover what God means when he tells us to be holy. We found it is not anything we can do ourselves, but our holiness comes from God.

Let’s review three of the scriptures found in Leviticus. The first is Chapter 11:44-45: “ … consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy for I am holy.” The next is Chapter 20:7: “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord who makes you holy.” And the third, Chapter 20:26: “You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have set you apart from the nations to be my own.”

When we consecrate ourselves to God, we are entirely devoted to him and seek always to follow his ways and teachings. Keeping the words of God sacred in our hearts, we keep his laws and commands so we can be a holy people.

As we go on to the New Testament, the meaning of being set apart becomes even clearer for those who profess belief in Jesus today.

Although there are many scriptures about separating from the world and following God, 2 Corinthians 6:17 has this to say to us: “Therefore, go out from their midst (those who reject God) and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.”

In Matthew 5:48, which is a piece of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, we read Jesus saying to the crowds, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

What can these words mean for us when we know that not one person has ever been perfect, accept for Jesus the Messiah?

God, of course, knows we are not perfect.  However, as we follow Christ’s teachings we grow into being the best people we can possibly be. That doesn’t mean we become perfect, only under the covering of Jesus does God see us as perfect, as we become believers. Our perfect life is yet to happen when we reach our heavenly home.

Just like the religious leaders of the time of Jesus, who lived a righteous life, separated themselves from worldly ways that were sinful, we too are called to be separate from the sinful world. As believers, we are called to follow God and show his love and mercy to the world. As we stay close to God and his word, we mature in knowing how to follow God.

Romans 12:2 reminds us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

In the writings found in 1 Peter 1:13-16, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled, set your hope fully on the grace that is to be given to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the evil desires that you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written, ‘Be holy, because I am holy’.”

These verses discuss the purpose of living a life set apart from the ways of the world that are destructive, to always look for ways to give glory to God, to develop discipline, attention and righteous living. These are the ways we become holy through God.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to young Timothy, who was leading the church in Ephesus, and who was like a son to him, he had this to say about holiness in 2 Timothy 1:9: “God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Jesus Christ before the ages began.”

What a wonderful thought. God had planned all along to offer salvation to humankind, before time even began. God had a plan for all of us, once we believed in Jesus, a plan to save us, to give us holiness, to be set aside by God as his people who will show the world God’s glory.

As we continue on with Hebrews 12:14, we find that being holy includes living in peace. As we grow in our relationship with God, our other relationships on earth soften, become more peaceful, for peacefulness is an indication of holiness.

When we seek to follow God and to stay close to him, we become better at treating people in good and right ways, showing them mercy and compassion.

From the letter known as 1 John 2:15-17, we are again reminded, “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them. For all that is in the world — the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions — is not from the Father but is from the world … ”

Although we cannot become holy on our own, as believers in Jesus, we also have an advocate, a counselor, a comforter, who teaches and reminds us of God’s word. That person is known as the Holy Spirit, the one given to us by Jesus when he left this earth, who reminds us and helps us to live a holy life.

Does God make us holy? The answer is a resounding, “Yes!” as we take to heart and act on the righteousness and the never-ending love of God.