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8th December 2013
What comes to mind when you hear or read the word 'holy'? The biblical term 'holy' is primarily used to describe God, separating Him utterly from us and from anything else created. When it is applied to God's people, it also means 'set apart' – called out, separated from all other people to be distinctively different, to follow Him and to be His treasured possession. Holiness isn't about behaviour; it's about our position.
For Israel, being holy looked like following very particular and specific rules, rituals, laws and duties. There were the Ten Commandments, but also numerous other laws that God gave His people. Many that we read in Leviticus 19 make sense, but some seem very odd indeed! Why did God set out the Law and all these requirements? To distinguish them from every other nation on the face of the Earth – to show that they belonged to God and were different to everyone around them.
Being holy has the same purpose for us today, but looks very different. The Bible says that those who follow Jesus are "a chosen race, a holy nation, a people for His own possession" (1 Peter 2:9-10). Some of us might be tempted to follow the same protocol that Israel followed; others of us might say we can throw it all out now that Jesus has died in our place.
We can't pick and choose -- we either live up to the whole Law or none of it. Actually, we're not supposed to follow every aspect to the letter, but nor are we to do away with it completely. We live under a better covenant, where Jesus has dealt with our sin so we can be holy. Now, we keep the Ten Commandments in a completely new way. Not because we're obliged to keep them or it's demanded of us, but because our hearts have been changed!
We are called to be holy, to be set apart, and today this happens by God pouring out His Spirit into our hearts, making us distinctively different, living internally transformed with God's laws written on our hearts. We are set apart as holy, called to know Him and surrender ourselves to His will by the power of the Spirit! Being holy starts with our true position – God's treasured possession – and from that, our behaviour changes as we want to follow Christ.
To download the life application questions and the sermon, click here.
Posted by Santino Hamberis