Friday, April 12, 2013

"Be Holy, For I am Holy"

In 1 Peter 1:16, we are given the command by God: "Be holy, for I am holy." While this command is quoted here in the book of 1 Peter--which is in the New Testament--this original command from God to be holy is actually found in Leviticus (11:44-45 and 19:2)--which is in the Old Testament. Contrary to popular thought in Christian and church culture, just because something is in the Old Testament that does not mean we should disregard it. Being holy as God is holy somethings that God commands us to do. However, what does "holy" even mean? What does it look like? We have this command from God, how do we go about living it out?

"Be holy, for I am holy." First let's look at the word "holy." The simplest definition of this word is to be set apart. From this, we can gather that God is set apart, and that we are then called to be a people that are set apart.

The idea of God being holy--and set apart--speaks of his very nature. God is so set apart from everything and everybody else, that when we compare God to others, no one can compare. For example, let's look at God's creation versus some of mankind's creations. This is just one aspect that reveals how God is holy, but let's take a look to help us better understand the idea of God being holy.

Man has built some amazing things. From the pyramids of Egypt, to the great wall of china, to the empire state building, and even to the more recent technological advancements, we are able to see the incredible intelligence and ability that people have to create some amazing things. Now we compare man-made creations to what God created...

God created the entire universe, which includes billions of galaxies, which each include billions of stars, which each include their own planets, included in those planets is earth, which is filled with millions of species of plants and animals, as well as human beings, who are made up of trillions of cells. Oh, and by the way, God created mankind in such a way that we have the ability to think, and create things on our own. If God can create a human brain that can do that, just think of how far above us he really is! The truth is, God is holy. This example helps us see that. He is set apart from us puny human beings!

Now let's turn to ourselves. We are also called to be holy, to be a people set apart. This world is at a place where it accepts and practices many different lifestyles and practices that go against the standards of God that we find in Scripture. Just because the world accepts something, this does not mean we as Christians should. We cannot let the culture influence us in a way that pulls us away from the standards of God. Issues like drunkenness, sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, pornography, deception, and many other things are everywhere around us, and very much accepted by our culture. However, we are called to be a people set apart for God. If our culture accepts something, that does not mean we should!

If our lives do not look different than those who are unbelievers, we have a problem. If God did not have the ability and the intelligence to create things in such a way that makes our creations as people look pathetic, then in regards to that specific example, he would not be holy. And with us as Christians, if nothing separates us and sets us apart from the rest of the world (outside of going to church on Sundays), we need to examine our lives and see where we are going wrong. We should be different than the world, and we SHOULD disagree with the world when it comes to morality.

My challenge to you today is to examine each part of your life. Are your actions, your thoughts, and your attitudes any different from unbelievers you know? If not it's time to change some things. Otherwise, don't bother calling yourself a Christian, because all it is doing is giving a bad name for Jesus. It's time that the church stops blending in with the culture and starts to do what we are called by God to do, thus following the command: "Be holy, for I am holy."

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