Can you believe it? Our in-depth teaching examining biblical holiness from a Hebraic perspective has come to an end. Our heartfelt prayer is that this study is the beginning of a lifetime of exploration and realization for you.
I would like to remind you that biblical holiness is the radical otherness of God; it is what makes him unique and set apart from the common and ordinary. He is not just a god, he is The God, who is holy, holy, holy. The holiness of God is the ultimate doxological predicate; which is to say it is the ultimate thing we can say of God in worship because this is the term that demarcates him from the work of his hands, from everything else in the universe.
It is not just another of God's attributes; it is the sum and root of them all. Said the other way around, all of his characteristics are extensions and expressions of his holiness.
Holiness is the very term he chooses to describe himself and our relationship with him, "you shall be holy for I the LORD your God am holy" (Lev 19:2). As his possession, we are called to be a peculiar people which means that we are to be distinct, different.
You have a high-calling to participate in and to extend the dimension of the holy in this world. You and I are the guardians of his holiness. We are the bearers of his reputation; we are the ambassadors of his kingship; we are the ones who by our actions and our conduct are to show this world that we serve a wholly other, holy God.
Here are four essential points we have covered along with the link to the specific teaching on the jcstudies.com blog:
Space can be holy when God chooses to dwell there. (read it here)
Time can also be sacred when it is set apart by and for God. (read it here)
God's holiness intersects with and becomes manifest in people. (read it here)
The Holy One dwelt fully in and manifested completely through Jesus of Nazareth. (read it here)
As believers in Jesus, we are both holy and called to be holy. (read it here)
In light of this cosmic reality, here are four appropriate responses.
(1) Cultivate a spirit of radical amazement and wonder. (read it here)
(2) Worship continually by exalting him and humbling ourselves. (read it here)
(3) Properly understand our worth from his perspective. Let's unpack this a bit.
Until you come to understand who God is, you will struggle to grasp your true worth in his eyes. Knowing God as he is, in his holiness, forms a healthy sense of identity. That is why so many of us are confused—are so spiritually, emotionally, and physically dysfunctional. We don’t have a clear conception of who we are because we don’t understand the holiness of God; he is the Creator, and we are the creatures.
Then, and only then will we be amazed and undone by the fact that he desires our fellowship and our love. Why? Because he loves us with an unfathomable love, "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." (Zeph 3:17)
The God of Israel is both a God of mercy and a God of justice. He is both a Father and a King; he loves you, and he earnestly desires the response of your love. In such a dynamic relationship of loving and serving, you come to an unshakeable knowledge of who you are, and it transforms you. Everything about your life—your conduct, your mindset, your thoughts, your past, your dysfunctions, your hang-ups, your perversions, your griefs, your pride, your ambitions—can be cleansed and purged by the consuming fire of the holiness of God.
(4) And finally, our appropriate response to holiness is to serve him with all of our heart.
Our obedience sanctifies his great name. Leviticus 22:3-1-33 expresses this clearly, “So you shall keep my commandments and do them: I am the LORD. And you shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel. I am the LORD who sanctifies you, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the LORD.” When we obey, God’s holiness is honored.
Just like our Father in heaven, the holy is made visible in what we say and do. Obedient words and actions are like the searchlight of God’s holiness penetrating the darkness of a profane world. You can light up your world by learning to be faithful. Together we can let holiness penetrate this profane place with lives compelled by the love of God in Christ Jesus. We take action, he provides the illumination.
Let me leave you with this thought. There are two possible ways to read Ex 29:43 and I think the ambiguity is deliberate. One interpretation says that God's glory will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar. By using the same Hebrew letters but giving different vowel points the same phrase reads that those spaces shall be consecrated by those who sanctify me. Both are true. God makes a place holy by his glory, but we also make a place holy by our actions.
Our highest duty and greatest delight in life are to live with a difference–a holy difference–that sanctifies and honors the One who is Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh!
* This is an audio transcript, listen to the original message here.