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Holy, Holy, Holy: The Demands of the Holy (part 6)

As I mentioned before, in language familiar yet shocking to Jewish ears, Paul makes a remarkable claim about this man Jesus in Colossians 1:15-20, "He is the image of the invisible God." We can translate it like this, he is the exact likeness of the image of God. We must listen carefully to this text. Notice, the fullness of God dwells in him; but something even more extraordinary (to me, because it relates to me and to you) is at work. Paul uses the language that Jesus is seated at God's right hand, referring to the place of power in the heavenly realms, in the spiritual dimensions. How can you describe the Holy? My point is that it is indescribable, there is no title that will apply, there is no description that is apt, there is no comprehension of the circumference of the Holy and what the Holy did in the Holy One of Israel. He is beyond, other than, distinct from all these things—in this age and in the age to come. I love the way Paul thinks, he starts by the Spirit and keeps going and going under the anointing; he pulls things together, stretching your cranium till it cracks. The result? We declare, "holy, holy, holy is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the Father ... and Jesus his Son!" And you and I are to be the fullness of Christ who fills everything in every way, he continues. Pretty mind boggling! I can relate to Peter's sense of unworthiness, "Father, I am not worthy to be part of a church which is to be the fullness of him who is the fullness, of him who is holy—woe is me, woe is the church, we are undone!"

As believers you and I are both already holy, and called to be holy. That same Peter, an apostle in light of Jesus' resurrection and Spirit outpouring, commands disciples to be holy (1 Pet 1:13-16). Notice in chapter 2, verse 9 he also says that you already are, "a royal priesthood, a holy nation…" You are already holy in the sense that you have been made distinct, set apart from everything else that is common and ordinary by virtue of what Jesus Christ accomplished. You have been ushered into the kingdom of light, into the presence of the holy God. Because of this kingdom reality, you are commanded to continue in holiness; don’t conform yourselves to the common ordinary profane ways of the world: be different, be distinct, be other than. You are children of a holy God, therefore in your actions, behavior, and attitudes reflect the character and nature of your Father in heaven.

Be holy, for you are holy!

* This is an audio transcript, listen to the original message here.

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This study is from a professionally produced transcription of the audio recording. It was edited for readability by the team at JC Studies.

Dwight A. Pryor (1945-2011) was a gifted Bible teacher of exceptional clarity and depth who earned the friendship and admiration of both Christian and Jewish scholars—in the United States and Israel—as well as the respect and appreciation of followers of Jesus around the world. His expertise in the language, literature, and culture of Israel during the life and time of Jesus and the early church yield insights that nourish every area of faith and practice.

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