"I am the vine, you are the branches"
What is Holiness, Part 2
We found three clues in part one of “What is Holiness”: holiness is in God’s Time—the seventh day Sabbath; holiness is in God’s Space—wherever God is present, especially in His sanctuary; and holiness is obedience to God—keeping His Commandments. We are now going to continue in searching for clues.
1 Peter 2:9 Peter tells us, “You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for He called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.” We are to be priests before God, bringing our sacrifices to His altar. But we cannot come to God just any old way: we must come before him set-apart—holy.
If we must all come before God holy and clean then, being priests, our example is to look at the Aaronic priesthood. They served in a sanctuary that was a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle, "See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain (Hebrews 8:5). When we realize that our place of worship, be it individual or congregational, represents the heavenly sanctuary of God then we need to be properly dressed. We start by being clean. The sanctuary was all about cleanliness and holiness. We also must come before God clean by repenting of our sins and being washed in the blood of Yeshua/Jesus.
As priests we too must put on holy garments. God tells Moses in Exodus 28:2, “You are to make for your brother Aaron (the High Priest) garments set apart for serving God, expressing dignity and splendor.” This word splendor in Hebrew means beauty. The same root of the word is found in Isaiah 61:10, “I will rejoice [delight] greatly in the Lord; all that I am [my soul] rejoices [exults] in my God. He has covered me with clothes [garments] of salvation and wrapped me with a coat [robe] of goodness[righteousness], like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding [or who adorns himself with a headdress like a priest], like a bride dressed in [adorns herself with] jewels.” Here we have a picture of the Bridegroom beautifully dressed. What a great picture of the Bridegroom serving his bride in their little house, the Tabernacle of God. We too must put on these holy garments, the garments of praise.
Isaiah speaks to this in Isaiah 61:3, “Provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” Once again we see this beautiful picture of God’s people dressed in splendor.
These garments added beauty to the sanctuary. Many of these garments are also found in the armour of God, the head piece, the breastplate, and the sash. Ephesians 6: 14-17, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” On our headpiece we have the name of Yeshua written. It is by His name that we enter into prayer and it is by His blood that we draw near. He is our righteousness that we robe ourselves in; and when we enter into prayer, just like the High priest that entered into the holy of holies with the incense from the altar, we join with God as one, and God hears us and runs to our aid and together we defeat the enemy of our soul. Today, lift up your holy hands and put on the oil of gladness. Wash your garments in the blood of Yeshua, repentant and completely surrendered, praising the Creator of all things. Bring the fruit of your lips. Long for the day when our Messiah will return. He will dwell with us as we dwell with Him in the Temple of our God. We will minister to Him in His Temple, the Body of Messiah, in garments of glory, garments of splendor, garments of beauty as Peter tells us, “You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
We see here our fourth clue to holiness, and that is: our garments must be clean when entering into God’s presence.
If we are to be holy and we are to worship the holy God, then we must worship according to what is required of us so that we will be accepted into His presence.
Romans 12:1-2 tells us: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
John 4:23-24 says, “But a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him.” God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Our lives are an act of worship unto God. They are to be living sacrifices offered up to Him every day of our lives. This means that we need to remain in a state of holiness. We can not offer a sacrifice to God that is blemished. If God tells us to be holy then that means that we can be holy. We must start by repenting of our sins daily, even every time we sin we must allow the conviction of the Holy Spirit to bring us to repentance. We are not to be conformed to this world. 1 John 2:16 tells us, “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.”
Galatians 5:16-25 tells us, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.”
Romans 8:13-14 says, “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” Romans 8:5 says, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”
So then how do we live in the truth by walking in the Spirit?
First: Ephesians 6:17 tells us that the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. So God’s Word and the Holy Spirit go together. You can’t have one without the other because it is the Holy Spirit that helps us to walk in the truth of God’s Word.
Second: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Proverbs 3:13-18 tells us, “Blessed are those who find wisdom (God’s word), those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.” To live a holy life we need to partake of that which is holy. Yeshua tells us in John 6:53 “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And this bread, which I will give for the life of the world, is My flesh.”
We need to eat the Bread of Life and drink from the Well of Salvation, but then we need to live the Word. James 1:22-25 tells us, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves. For anyone who hears the Word but does not carry it out is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
Our Fifth clue is walking in the Spirit, and living by the Word of God
God tells us to be holy, and we have seen that that means to be set apart from the world. We are to be as set apart from the world as light is from darkness, and wickedness is from godliness. We know that our whole life is an act of worship unto God and so every area of our lives must be holy, reflecting a holy God. Yeshua is our example of what it means to be holy.
Our next and final clue is just that: as disciples of Yeshua our Messiah, we must follow His example in all things so that we too may be examples of holiness to the world. We are going to briefly look at His life according to the gospels.
John the Baptist cries out “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). First, I must say that we all must be like John and point others to the Master. If we are to be like Yeshua then we too must become lambs of God. Lambs were used as sacrificial offerings. Paul tells us in Romans 12 that we too are to be living sacrifices. In John 2:13-17 we see Yeshua cleansing the temple, because His Father’s house was to be a house of prayer and not the worldliness of corruption. How about our churches and congregations today? Do we stand up to the things that are not holy and righteous? Do we stand up and say, “STOP,” when we let our House of Prayer become corrupted with worldliness? We are to be keepers of all holiness in our churches and congregations, and when we see something that does not line up with the Word of God or God’s character we need to cry foul! Yeshua talks about being born again in John 3, but so many people do not realize that being born again means that we have set ourselves apart from the world’s ways in thought, word, and deed. Yeshua went about and did good. He also did many miracles. How about us? Yeshua was baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:13-14). He operated in the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12). We saw on the day of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit came down upon the apostles and they too were filled with the Spirit. Signs and miracles are all part of a person’s life who has separated himself from the world. We are to be like our Master Yeshua. He said in John 14:12, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 6 tells us that Yeshua was the Bread of Life. When we preach and teach others the Word of God and they eat that which is life, we too, become breads of life. In John 8:12, Yeshua tells us that He is the Light of the world. In Matthew 5:14, He tells us that we too are the light to the world. In John 10:11 Yeshua says this: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). We too are to lay down our lives for each other in so many ways, by not thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3) or by putting others first (Philippians 2:3) and serving one another. Yeshua told His disciples, “See I have washed your feet now go and do the same” (John 13:12-15). Yeshua prayed for His disciples and for future believers. We too are to pray for each other and for the Body of believers. And let us not forget to pray for those who are being persecuted in the world.
Finally, we see Yeshua was crucified. We too, are to crucify the flesh, and as Paul tells us in Philippians 3:10-11, “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” Yeshua told His disciples to follow Him, and that is what it is all about, following Yeshua the holy Son of God, the holy Word of God. Even Paul says, “Follow me as I follow Messiah.”
We have seen many ways that we can be holy. The Father has sent us the Holy Spirit to lead us in all truth, and we know that the way to life is through truth.