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UCB Word For You

True holiness

26 April 2021
‘Holiness unto the LORD.’

Yesterday we thought about what ‘sin’ really means. Today, we’re thinking about ‘holiness’. In a similar vein to the word ‘sin’, the word ‘holy’ can become just another piece of Christian jargon. Both are words that we hear a lot in churches, and don’t often take time to properly define. We see a flawed example of performing false holiness in the Pharisees throughout the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They make a song and dance about their own piety, without much to show of a genuine love of God. In Matthew 23:33, we see Jesus say to them: ‘You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?’ (NIV). God is not impressed when we pretend to be holy by making a show of following rules and regulations. Holiness must mean something other than being religious. Often in the Old Testament, the Hebrew word used for holiness is godesh, which can be translated to mean ‘apartness’, ‘separateness’, or ‘sacredness’. By His very nature, God is separate from the world, and therefore our model of true holiness. John 4:24 tells us that ‘God is Spirit’ (NIV), which sets Him apart from earthly things, and makes Him sacred. Thankfully, Jesus bridges this separation, and through the Holy Spirit, we can share in God’s holiness. We become ‘sacred’ too, something clothed in Spirit and different from the rest of this world. We are set apart to carry His presence here. This doesn’t mean that we should be isolated from everything around us, but that we should be noticeably set apart for God’s purposes. That is what’s meant by being in the world, but not of it. We can’t make any differences without getting involved in the earthly community around us, but we have to stay holy through our ongoing relationship with God.

What Now?

Let’s be the opposite of the performative Pharisees. Do something godly for someone anonymously today. Don’t take credit.

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