Mercy To All .NET
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Dispelling The Myth
Spirit Controlled Behaviour
Sodom And Gomorroh
Laws Of Moses
Romans
I Corinthians
Who are The Eunuchs?
Who Can Be Saved?
Glossary

The Purpose of Bible Study
How To Get Saved
Setting People Free
Discovering The Word of God
Discovering The Will Of God
The Word of God
Knowing God
Experiencing Who God Is
The Essentials of Hearing God
Is that You, LORD?
Beware of False Prophets
Leading The Flock
Understanding
The Baptism Of
The Holy Spirit

Understanding Covenant;
Dispensation of Grace

The Standard of Holiness
Righteousness
Repentance
Fire In The Hole
Getting All Fired Up
An Open Church Letter
Romans 12
1st Peter
Learning To Stop Taking Offense
Examining The Sermon On The Mount

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The Standard of Holiness

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.' If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ." - 1 Peter 1:13-19 (NASB)

Holiness. A word greatly abused by a few and misunderstood by many. As with many teachings in the modern church, the doctrine of "holiness" has been intentionally mis-defined by some trying to maintain control over the behaviors of other members of the church. Whatever the real standard of holiness is, it cannot and should not change with the social morays of each generation. It is changeless and has to do with the things of God, for all that He is in relationship with is holy.

Most of the time in the modern church "holiness" is treated as a sort of "Code of Conduct". It is narrowly defined by those who need to dominate and held up as the standard that God has set over the head of each person. It is used to judge the spirituality of each person. The old Judaic Mosaic Law was understood to be inadequate to bring about real redemption. The early church began to realize that a new law had replaced it - the "Law of Grace" introduced by Jesus and expounded upon by Paul.

But almost immediately this "Law of Grace" was challenged for its short comings: its inability to control people's behavior. Though God has not changed His mind about grace, some have gone ahead anyway and replaced the "Law of Grace" with a new set of laws narrowly defined by the church elite. A law of "holiness." They carefully define the do's and don't's for their people and call it holiness. These standards may be okay for those associated within that group, but they often spill out on to others. When this happens, the church finds itself put into a position of condemnation and is perceived by onlookers as judgmental. This kind of "holiness" is not only unattractive, it drives people away. But is this what holiness really is? Can holiness be nothing but a new law defined by narrow-minded conservative beliefs?

In the Old Testament we are introduced to the God of Holiness, Whose Name is holy and in Whose presence one is compelled to remove their shoes because even the ground is holy. The Hebrew root word kawdash' carries the idea of being set apart for special purpose; appointed or ordained by God. While we usually feel this is a characteristic of the behavior of saints, holiness applies to all believers and everything else that has to do with God. The altar of sacrifice is holy and everything that touches the altar is holy. The priest himself is holy; all of his tools and his vestments are holy. From this standard given in the Old Testament law, we learn that holiness is a state of being proclaimed by God, and not attained through obedience to puritanical teaching and / or good behavior. The command for us to “be holy” can therefore only be understood as the practice of being holy because you have been ordained by God to be holy.

Peter no doubt quoting from Exodus 19:6 reminds his readers:

"But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY." - 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NASB)

We are holy – we just need to act holy. So many Christians do not know they are holy. They do not know they should be holy, but would if they knew they were supposed to and knew how. What is the key to acting holy and how do we do it? There are seven steps:

1. Recognize God. This is simple, but perhaps the most missed step. God’s character is the standard for holiness since He is the God of holiness; even His Name is holy. We’re told to "acknowledge Him in all our ways, and He will make our paths straight" (Proverbs 3:6). Looking for God everywhere and seeing God in everything is practicing the presence of God and trains us to see how He "causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) "For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God." (Hebrews 3:4)

2. Recognize yourself. You are a sinner saved by grace; a servant whose Master is the King of the Universe, but a servant nonetheless. Too often when God empowers us for some task, a memory loss overtakes humility and pride rushes in to fill the gap. It is God who is working His will through you. Not you by yourself. So as you make your plan of attack in ministry, do so with reverent fear and humble piety. (See Philippians 2:12-13)

3. Worship Him. Stay on Him. The joy that a dog shows anticipating his master's return. The excitement he demonstrates as the sound of the front door lock is heard is our example. His loyalty is unquestionable and his dedication is certain. Be loyal to God in your relationship and give Him no cause for uncertainly about you. He is a jealous God. We should look forward to being in the Lord’s presence, close to His glory. Worship is a fancy way of saying, “I love you!” and we should take every opportunity to bring praise and honor and glory to His Name.

4. Let Him wash you. The Greek word hagios means holy: to be set apart unto the Lord. A derivative word, hagiazo is translated to the word "sanctification," which a word used to talk about the clean up brought about by God’s Spirit as we yield ourselves to His control. It is necessary; (John 13:8) even Jesus was sanctified in truth. Speaking of His followers, Jesus prayed these words on the night before His crucifixion:

"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word." - John 17:17-20 (NASB)

Paul’s mission, given to Him by the Lord who commissioned him on the way to Damascus for a ministry to the Gentiles, "to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me." (Acts 26:18) Faith sanctifies.

5. Fix your mind upon Jesus. "Turn your eyes upon Jesus" as the hymn says. "Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." I thank Peter, John and Paul for their observations and their contribution to the faith of all believers. But the power source for our faith as declared by Paul is Christ Himself. Many decisions we make are determined on the basis of clearly right or clearly wrong sets of circumstances. But most of life is lived in the gray zone where we need the mind of Christ in order to make godly decisions. With love leading the charge, humility and mercy bring up the rear as we tackle real life situations using the mind of Christ. (Philippians 2:1-8)

6. Turn away from sensuality. Most people think that this means sexual sin. But sensuality is more than that. It is the practice of validating truth by using the five senses: taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing. I would also add intellect, which is the "figuring out" center receiving the input coming from the senses. Gathering information from the five senses and determining truth based on that data may seem spiritual to some, but it is not from the spirit. It is pure soul life. Truth can only be realized through a supernatural encounter with God.

"So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way." - Ephesians 4:17-20 (NASB)

As we learn to hear the voice of God, the Holy Spirit, we grow accustomed to His ways and we can leave our natural ways of thinking a doing in favor of hearing His voice and responding in obedience.

7. Operate under the power of the Holy Spirit. The scripture declares that in order to defeat the flesh, we must walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16) And Paul instructs us, "as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him." (Colossians 2:6) How did we receive Him? By faith. So our walk, after receiving Him by faith, is also by faith. According to Jesus, the three-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit is conviction. (John 16:8-11) Like a lawyer addressing the jury, we listen to Him by faith we become convinced of sin or righteousness or judgment by faith. Unless we listen to Him by faith, we cannot rightly discern truth, for He is the Spirit of Truth, whose assignment is to reveal truth to you. In our spirits we hear the Holy Spirit by faith.

After mastering these steps, and indeed while in the process of doing so, we are declared holy. Why, because we belong to God and He belongs to us. Operating by faith, God is pleased. (Hebrews 11:6) Guided by the Holy Spirit, we are sanctified by truth: focused on both understanding and doing the will of God.