13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:13 NKJV
We're continuing in a study examining the lies religious tradition has taught us. Concepts taught in such a way that it almost seems blasphemous to dare and question it. Ideas spoke of for so long they've become strongholds in the minds of many.
In this study, we've exposed the lies that God is the author of sickness and disease. That He is the sender of disaster and storms. The One causing evil to come about so that good may come. That poverty and lack are His best for you. That the Spirit of God and His power have ceased, that Faith in God is powerless today to change things. We've looked at the truth of spiritual warfare, that we are the triumphant Church, not a timid one.
In our last study, we exposed the lie that God has no promise for the life that now is. Today, it seemed good to revisit an area I've addressed before on this blog. The truth about holiness. What it is and what it isn't. Is holiness a state of being we strive for? Do we pursue holiness? Do we achieve holiness? What does God say about this?
Holiness defined Biblically
Here is this word holy defined with the original Greek language;
ἅγιος hagios-sacred(physically pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially consecrated): - (most) holy (one, thing), saint.
This word has a comparison to another word;
ἁγνός hagnos- properly clean, that is, (figuratively) innocent, modest, perfect: - chaste, clean, pure.
Interesting definitions of the word holy. A saint, a most holy one. The comparison word declares one who has been cleansed, pure. Now isn't this what actually happened when we received Jesus?
Let's look at the word holiness;
ἁγιασμός hagiasmos-properly purification, that is, (the state) purity; concretely (by Hebraism) a purifier: - holiness, sanctification.
Let's see what Thayer's Greek dictionary says;
1) consecration, purification 2) the effect of consecration 2a) sanctification of heart and life
So we have God's definition of holiness. What don't we see? Striving. Struggling. Achieving. Attaining. Not one place in the definition of the words holy or holiness is there a sense of achieving holiness. Rather, it shows a state of being, a new position in Christ.
Holiness is purification, sanctification, cleansing, consecration. These are things we can never do in our strength and will power. No amount of self-will causes us to achieve a purifying cleansing. Only the precious Blood of Jesus can accomplish this.
What we've been taught through traditional religion is that holiness is defined by how much sin we abstain from. How many hobbies, interests, and events we can forgo. How often we can say no to entertainment, and see how many spiritual disciplines and rituals we can add to our life. In the midst of this, God's definition of holiness is ignored therefore we attempt to become something we've already been made in the Finished Work.
Look at what Paul stated in 1 Corinthians.
16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and [that is what you are. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NASB
Paul tells us who we already are. He declared we are already made holy. God, through Paul, was telling us, hey this is who you are already, so be you.
Holiness, in a nutshell, means uncommon. We are made uncommon. What's that mean? It means we do things uncommonly.
You see the World's ways are the common way. When they get offended they give someone a piece of their mind. They love conditionally, "you fulfill my needs and I'll love you." Generally, they get what they can, can all they get and sit on the can. They hold grudges. They seek their own and not others.
That's the common way. Holiness is uncommon. We walk in love and the more we grow in His love, we can mature into a place where we don't even get offended. Even if we do get offended, we are quick to show love and forgive. We don't hold grudges. We bless people, not "bless them out." We live to give not to hoard. This is the uncommon way. This is what holiness looks like.
In the area of morality, the common way is to go with the flow, if you will. Whatever the current climate of the culture says is ok and acceptable and good the common way is to follow that flow. Have sexual relations before marriage? "Hey, 'that's hip'," forget the emotional connections left hurting, the selfish fleshly desire that only seeks its own gratification, 'do what thou wilt.' That's the common way. Go ahead and cheat on those tax forms, the Govt has enough money they won't notice. Whatever feels good do it, whatever is right in your own eyes do it. This is the common way.
The uncommon way is to live our life unto our Savior. No matter what the current culture calls acceptable, we live the standards Jesus set. Love God and love others and ourselves. If we love others we won't seek our own sexual gratification at the expense of our purity and the purity of the other. We won't give ourselves away without the loving commitment of the covenant of marriage. The uncommon way is to trust God as our source. We don't look to cheat or defraud anyone or any Govt entity.
In summation, defining holiness as uncommon is the best way to understand the behavioral aspect of the Gospel. Does behavior matter? Yes for two reasons. One, we want to honor the Finished Work with the way we live. Second, we want others to be drawn to this amazing Good News of Jesus Christ. How He loves us, accepts us and approves us and how He gives life its purpose and value and meaning. Look how Paul plainly shows the common way versus the uncommon.
17 So with the wisdom given to me from the Lord I say: You should not live like the unbelievers around you who walk in their empty delusions. 18 Their corrupted logic has been clouded because their hearts are so far from God—their blinded understanding and deep-seated moral darkness keeps them from the true knowledge of God. Ephesians 4:17-18 TPT
Paul is saying don't walk as the others walk. In other words, don't live commonly. Live uncommonly, this is the life God has created you for. Live out of the New Creation reality. Live out who He already made you in the Finished Work.
Holiness is not a position we achieve. It is not something we pursue or strive to become. It's not cosmetic free women who also are forbidden to cut their hair, or people not wearing jewelry, or people not owning a Television or enjoying entertainment. It's not defined as doing something or abstaining from something in order to become. It's living life being loved by the Savior and living out of the New Creation. It's maturing into who He already made you. It's living uncommonly. It's be holy, or in other words be you, the New you, He perfectly recreated in the Finished Work.
Let me leave you with one last passage to solidify this truth;
22 But now, as God’s loving servants, you live in joyous freedom from the power of sin. So consider the benefits you now enjoy—you are brought deeper into the experience of true holiness that ends with eternal life!
Romans 6:22 TPT
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