-A call to holiness is a call to wholeness. Holiness/wholeness is what God wants to do in us, make us whole, complete, and healthy in our minds, emotions, and body, so that we are like Jesus.
You are human and there is grace in Jesus for your humanity. However, do not let your humanity, your fallen state, be an excuse for your ungodliness.
Just because you struggle with it does not mean you have to surrender to it. Just because it is natural, does not mean it is normal; not for the born again, Spirit filled child of God.
Understand that holiness is not about acting a certain way, it is about living in freedom. The decision to walk in holiness and wholeness is yours. Jesus has shown you the way.
The Levitical rules were to show that God’s holiness must affect all areas of their lives.
When Jesus spoke in Matthew 5-7, He was laying out for His disciples His rules for those who would be subjects of His kingdom. Those whom Christ saves are to display a life that is different from the kingdom from which they have been delivered.
The same was true for God’s old covenant people. Leviticus 19 has been called the Old Testament’s Sermon on the Mount. This chapter is one of the most far-reaching ethical mandates in the Old Testament.
Contrary to popular theology, holiness is definable. Holiness is practical.
When it comes to holiness, those who have been redeemed by the grace of God are responsible to pursue the practice of holiness in their lives.
If we pursue holiness, in the power of Christ, then we will find ourselves experiencing the abundant life. The pursuit of holiness is a profitable pursuit.
Four Principles of Holiness that Lead to Wholeness
- Holiness is a commanded responsibility
The Lord commanded His people to pursue holiness. Leviticus 19:1-2 says:
“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”
It is not merely a good suggestion but a binding obligation. We are not to be corrupted by the world around us but rather to live in loyalty to the Lord who has saved us.
- Holiness is a countercultural responsibility.
Holiness is a word that can suffer from the malady of Christianese. It becomes a buzzword that believers use but oftentimes have little idea of what it means.
Currid defines holiness as “imitation Dei (imitation of God),” Jesus taught this principle when He said, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
The differences that exist between Christians and non-Christians relate to desires, beliefs, values, and aspirations. Therefore, there will be a difference in behavior, at some level, between Christians and non-Christians.
In a day in which the church is often exhorted to “incarnational ministry,” we need the reminder that we must never be apologetic for behaving in a way that offends many of our cultural norms. This includes our beliefs and behaviors.
- Holiness is a communal responsibility
Moses was commanded to command the entire congregation to be holy because God is holy. No one, not even the stranger in the congregation, was exempt from this (18:26).
The responsibility to answer the call to holiness is corporate under the New Testament as much as it was in the Old Testament.
- Holiness is a comprehensive responsibility
In vv. 3-18, we learn that holiness is a comprehensive responsibility. There seems to be a discernible broad order in how these laws are revealed particularly with reference to vv. 3-18.
It seems that they work themselves out from the home to the sanctuary and then to society at large. These laws are comprehensive in that they address every major sphere of life.
In fact, it has been noted by several interpreters that each of the Ten Commandments is alluded to in Chapter 19. This chapter is a practical revelation of obedience to God’s morally all sufficient words.
The Practice of Holiness
The Israelites were called to live differently, just as Christians are called to be set apart from the world today.
Having looked at some of the principles undergirding our responsibility for holiness, now we need to consider the practical pursuit of holiness.
The Scripture informs us of some very definite behavior that God expects those who claim Him as their Father.
In vv. 3-9, we learn that holiness involves loving God. This must be done in several practical ways:
- Love God
- Respect your parents
- Make most of the Lord’s Day
- Resist idolatry
- Respect the rules
- Live to bless
- Be honest
- Don’t take advantage of others
- Act justly
- Add value
The Results of Holiness
If we obey God’s laws of holiness, then we will realize a growing wholeness in our lives. Holiness is a Christian responsibility.
Our experience reveals that, as we seek to live that distinctively different life, we soon feel the weight of failure. Even though our actions may be spot on, our hearts feel convicted.
It is this conviction that drives us to the only one who ever perfectly fulfilled these laws, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Christian will therefore confess his sin, repenting and turning to Christ alone for forgiveness and for the ability to seek such righteous and holy living.
Pastor Chris Williams
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