Posts Tagged ‘holiness’

I became a police officer in 1981. I came to faith in 1984. Young, stupid, and un-discipled, I eventually fell back into my old, sinful ways. I did not yet understand the spiritual principle regarding holiness — the notion of being set apart for God and endeavoring to make it known, perpetually.
I attempted to share my faith, but rapidly succumb to the ridicule of both criminal and coworker. I blame neither for my downward spiral – – the fault was my own. I was like the seed that sprang up quickly and the one that fell among the thorns: shallow roots growing amongst weeds. In other words: I was not growing in my faith and I was not practicing holiness (set-apartness).
It reminds me of Lot.
Consider one of the most disturbing portions of Scripture:
“Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing.” (Genesis 19:8)
For centuries scholars have debated why a man would make such a despicable offer. Some have even attempted to defend Lot’s action. The truth be told, the deed is indefensible. We can however surmise that Lot got to this horrendous condition through a lack of spiritual growth and a lack of holiness.
Sodom was a vile place, replete with depravity, perversion, and sexual sin. Why Lot chose to live in such a place we may never know, but we can speculate that on day one, week one, or even year one of living in Sodom, Lot would not have offered his daughters up to be raped. However, after 25 years of living there, he was worn down by the continual vice, brutality, and materialism. Two and a half decades of compromise, turning a blind-eye, cowering in fear, and concealing his faith brought Lot to this place. It did not happen overnight. Shallow roots among thorns have little chance.
On the other hand, consider Abraham. While not a perfect man, he was a faith-filled man, a man who grew in his knowledge of the Lord and exercised holiness, opting to remain untethered to the world as a nomadic tent dweller. Sodom essentially lay at his doorstep, but he was not of Sodom. He was free to engage with the world on his terms and not on theirs. As a result, he was used mightily by God.
As with Lot, God did not abandon me, He rescued me. Like Lot, my salvation was secure because by faith I believed. But in those days, I was not of much use to God. Thankfully our Lord is both gracious and merciful, and remains faithful when we are not. He restores what the locust devours, that is if we allow Him to.
Study the word, be in prayer, and be ye holy.

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Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:13

This is a good thing, right? In the previous verses we see Saul rejected by God as king and then here we see a young David anointed as king over Israel. The problem, as we know, is that Saul will remain in power for many, many more years to come.


I submit to you that God’s reasons are innumerable, but that this event pictures Christ Jesus and His earthly reign to come. Jesus has been anointed as our King and although the faithful see Him as such, He has not yet been entirely received by the world—one day He will be so received. Odd as it may seem, satan, the prince of this world still usurps his power on earth. We have our peace in knowing that our Father allows him to do so because true love requires true choice—satan is merely an ignorant tool in the Masters hand.

Back to David

The fact of the matter is that David is anointed three times: first here by the Lord in the midst of his brethren, then later on by his tribesmen (2 Samuel 2:4), then finally by the entire nation (2 Samuel 5:3). As David waits on the Lord for his earthly throne we get to see his awesome witness and testimony as he faithfully loves the man (Saul) who continually attempts to kill him.

Those in our Anointed Path

Have you been anointed by the Lord for a specific role in the kingdom? Then you should glean from the triple anointing process David underwent. David was set aside by the Lord for a special work in the midst of some friends, but it was a while before he was accepted by the entire tribe. And only then after proving himself was he then accepted by the entire nation. If this is the process Jesus is submitted to, then it should be an acceptable process for us to endure as we patiently wait for our spiritual positioning to materialize.

Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on theLord! Psalms 27:14

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Also you shall have a place outside the camp, where you may go out; and you shall have an implement among your equipment, and when you sit down outside, you shall dig with it and turn and cover your refuse. For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you and give your enemies over to you; therefore your camp shall be holy, that He may see no unclean thing among you, and turn away from you. Deuteronomy 23:12-14

When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go

There are critical issues being addressed in this seemingly insignificant passage. The first revolves around the matter of privacy and/or those things we do that we think God knows nothing about. God knows. What better way to drive that fact home by His addressing this particular subject. Our God is omniscient–all knowing, omnipotent–all powerful, and like it or not, omnipresent–always in attendance. The biblical application is not that we merely cover-over the refuse of our lives, but we bury it as if it were worthless and as if it were dead.

It is in our gratitude and reverence of Him we clean-up after ourselves, reckoning our old man dead and buried. He is in our midst; therefore we should not subject Him to an untidy home, filthy language, and/or inappropriate television programming. And that’s just the short list. If our Lord is concerned with our basest functions (and He is), is it not safe to assume He cares deeply about purity in all these other areas of our lives.

But it Doesn’t Make Any Sense

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, ” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

To the Jews of this day, the idea of going outside the camp in order to do one’s business, and then burying it, was ludicrous. Today, we see the wisdom, but to Israel [then] it made no sense whatsoever. This passage demonstrates, as do so many others, that although we may not understand the reasoning behind our Father’s mandates, it is still a wise thing to execute them.

Consider for example the mom signaling her child from the road because she sees the truck barreling closer. She perceives the eminent danger, but in the time it might take to explain the circumstances, the child would be exposed to a great danger. Similarly, and with greatest accuracy, God sees down a much bigger road and the dangers that loom ahead for all humanity. God provides direction that may seem illogical in the present, but will be proved righteous in the passing of all time. Sometimes, God does take the time to explain, but when He does not we must trust His counsel.

Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; The righteous walk in them, But transgressors stumble in them. Hosea 14:9

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“Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ’You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy’…You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.” Leviticus 19:2 + 19

It’s all about holiness. We have been created as a people who might recognize that we have been set apart for a specific use—God’s good will. If you have ever been confused why God made you, there’s your reason—stop being confused. Once we get with the program (God’s program that is) everything begins to make sense and wrestling with His agenda only serves to obstruct the flow of His blessing. But that’s just a part of the holiness equation…

Holiness = Wholeness

I don’t mean to be flippant about it, but God is One happy Guy and He wants us to share in this His delight. Read through His holiness doctrine prescribed in the 19th chapter of Leviticus. Essentially God is saying that adherence to these divine values will result in holiness; an assurance of wholeness for a specific godly purpose. Our Father, via holiness, wants us to live the fullest life possible on earth as preparation for the life we will live eternally with Him. Leviticus 19 is the formula.

Peculiar Edicts

Most of the Levitical canon makes sense to us. Reverence for parents, keeping Sabbaths, and turning away from idols all appear to be logical pursuits that might lead a believer towards holiness. However we may ask what cross-breeding cattle, planting diverse crops, and fusing linen and wool into garments has to do with the subject. I submit to you that God was not merely outlawing these practices for the prohibition’s sake, but rather because in our observance of them we would habitually remember that God hates mixture.

Crossbred Cattle

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14

It is a basic tenant—God does not want us tethered to nonbelievers. We are certainly called to be among them and to share freely and lovingly with them, but there is a line we must not cross lest our holiness (and wholeness) be affected. A person’s salvation is not necessarily in jeopardy, but their capacity to be full in the Lord. It is true that some unequally yoked Christians have guided their unbelieving spouses over, but these occurrences are rare and usually result in the believer being pulled asunder.

Variable Seeded Fields

The seed is the word of God. Luke 8:11b

Throughout the Bible, seed is a euphuism for the Word of God. It should be obvious to every follower of Christ Jesus that we cannot combine doctrines from other false religions, even if we see similarities. Additionally it is an all to common practice for Christians to quote non-Christian sources and secular writings. The danger of course is that in so doing we erroneously give credence to those sources. Please think about that before the next time you desire to reference Gandhi, Mark Twain, etc.

Linen and Wool

And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Revelation 19:14

The analogy might be a stretch, but it is applicable: linen is light and un-burdensome, while wool is heavy and hot. Nowhere in the Bible do we see God’s people striving away in woolen garments—Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light, so isn’t it fitting that the spiritual garments we sport be likewise. There are certainly practical reasons why stitching wool and linen together is a inane pursuit and likely a source for numerous sermons, but in abstention we recall God’s disdain for impurity.

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Gone a Whoring“Whatever man of the house of Israel who kills an ox or lamb or goat in the camp, or who kills it outside the camp, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting to offer an offering to the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord, the guilt of bloodshed shall be imputed to that man…They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.” Leviticus 17:3-4, 7

Not Guilty?

Were the Jews of this day actually making sacrifices to satan and/or his demons? It would seem that they were on occasion, but for the Christian that is not really the issue. For those who consider themselves followers of Christ Jesus what matters is how we might construct a modern-day application for this passage so we may not do similarly. To do so, the very first thing we must examine is whether or not we are offering our sacrifices of praise and/or thanksgiving to the devil; have we too gone a whoring?

”Of course not, ” I suspect everyone is saying, ”my praises and the thanks I give are solely to the Lord!”

For brevity’s sake, I concur, Not guilty!” In fact (and you might agree with me), I do a pretty good job of giving thanks; i.e. remembering God for all the goodness He has provided. But what about the times I do not give thanks? Oh not the times I forget (which is also common), but when I choose to not thank God for His provision—what about those times?

The truth of the matter is simply this—when I opt to not thank God for that which I am about to receive, regardless if it is victuals or vocations, chances are it is because I know that the thing I am about to partake of is not of God. In other words I have gone a whoring. What might that look like? Often times it’s apparent in what I may elect to view on TV or at the movies. Would I invite Jesus to watch with me? Would I give Him thanks for providing the opportunity to watch it?

Here is the bottom line from God’s perspective: if I cannot thank Him for it, then I should not be a part of it. This is precisely what He was conveying to Israel in the Leviticus passage and it’s what He is communicating to us today. Give thanks always and to Him only.


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An Example to OthersThen Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. And Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke, saying: ’By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.’ ” So Aaron held his peace. Leviticus 10:1-3Why?

Why did Nadab and Abihu do this irreverent deed and why did God kill them for doing it? Many suggest that Nadab and Abihu were drunk (and perhaps they were), but the root of their sin was unquestionably pride. Their behavior, fueled by a flawed awareness of their own self-importance, was arrogant. They had lost their perspective of who God is and where they stood in relationship to Him. It is for this reason God said that He must always be regarded as holy and that He alone must be glorified.

I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another… Isaiah 42:8a

God is Serious

God is very serious about holiness and glory, so much so that He devoured Nadab and Abihu by fire as a perpetual example for us. If mere words had been sufficient, Nadab and Abihu would not have died (for these were things that they knew). We might then ask, “Why does God want all the glory for Himself—is God selfish? This is not the case; God is not egocentric.

God Knows That…

When man gets the glory, or a ministry, or a church, those things will eventually come to disappoint and frustrate us. If we suffer discontentment chances are we have become enamored in the temporary splendor of man or ourselves. God knows these things and this is precisely the reason He demands the glory must be His alone. In Him, no one is ever saddened or dissatisfied.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13

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