The Source of Holy Living
Dr. Valson Abraham
Holy living means learning to live as God Himself.
God’s central quality is His holiness. His holiness makes Him incomparable to all others.
His holiness is the one outstanding quality about which the angels sing.
When Isaiah saw God in the temple, God’s holiness caused Isaiah to cry out, “Woe is me!” When Peter caught the great load of fish that broke his nets, he perceived above all else the holiness of Jesus and his own impurity. He said, “Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
Holiness is a quality both real and elusive. Even the greatest artist or sculptor cannot capture it on canvas or in stone. For that reason, God forbids us to make images of Him for worship. They convey the wrong message of who God is and why He is incomparable to all other deities.
God walked this earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Even Jesus’ most bitter enemies could find no fault in His life and attitudes. He never had to apologize to anyone because He was pure and holy.
Although we are not to make images of Him, God tells us, “Be holy even as I am holy.”
How do we lead holy lives? It is not by keeping a set of rules. That was the fatal error of the Pharisees. Too often, Christians fall into the same trap.
We get a hint of what holy living really means in 1 John 3:2,3: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
And every man that has this hope in Him purifies himself even as He is pure.”
As this passage indicates, we cannot “be holy” apart from a work by God Himself. In this passage, we understand that we are changed into His likeness when we see Him after death. But we may also “see” God now.
To “see” God is both crushing and renewing. Isaiah saw God in the temple and was crushed by his life of unclean lips. But God transformed his unclean lips to bear the prophetic word of God. Paul was crushed by Jesus Christ after a life of persecuting Christians. God transformed him into history’s outstanding missionary of the gospel. God also wants to do an outstanding work through you and me.
Today, we “see” God primarily through the Holy Spirit. We must hunger and thirst after the righteousness of God, and then, Jesus tells us, we will be filled. Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard echoes Jesus when he says, “Purity is to will one thing.”
How does God change us when we “see” Him? I suggest five ways (not exhaustive) in how He does this: (1) He gives us a stronger amazement at God for loving us, (2) A deeper love for God and desire to be like Him, (3) Increased love for the people of God, (4) New hatred for sin and desire for purity, (5) New love for the people God loves. Read Ephesians 4-6 for other signs that we have “seen” God.
Such people sense a special calling and a deeper assurance of heaven. They receive new power to accomplish great things for God and transform people’s lives in ways they never dreamed possible. Even in tribulation, they gain new power to enjoy life.
Merely trying to keep “holy” rules is worldly thinking. Holy Spirit-filled living cannot be lived in any other way apart from the Holy Spirit. When we have truly “seen” God through the Holy Spirit, the world will know. People will want what we have because they will discern the immortal treasure that we bear in our mortal bodies. These are the kinds of people God seeks in you and me.
As Robert McCheyne has said, “A holy person is a powerful weapon in the hands of God.”
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Father God, make us holy people to will one thing and become powerful weapons in your hands. In Jesus’ Name.