Ask a believer what his holiness is and you might get a denial. Even when one treasures the designation “saint” it is likely that the believer sees holiness in the same category as a lot of holy things. Since holiness is necessary for both identity and progress the believer ought to have a solid appreciation of the Lord himself. Holiness can have only one source and resource: Christ the Incarnate Word and the Sacred Texts related to him.
Being holy is not like being in therapy. Even miraculous healing does not move the patient closer to immortality. Becoming holy is not like stretching out a withered hand, or getting up from a bed of paralysis. It is literally the dead coming to life. We do not see a dead Lazarus cooperating to end his decay.
Holy flesh and holy veg
We should be able to quickly recognize the emptiness of the sacred items of the former and rudimentary things and the difference between saints and holy things. We are not consumables! We have been transformed by a personal connection with God; a genuine one-to-one. The assembly of the clans of Israel, the High Court of Israel, the Church in Synod, or the local elders in council do not transmit this holiness we partake of. We cannot invest male rams with efficacy, nor their blood with divinity. The slaughter of animals, the handling of their blood, the burning of their bodies and incense and animals are quite common features of human life. These activities may now glorify God but they provide no holiness.
And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram and the bread that is in the basket in the entrance of the tent of meeting. Exo. 29:32 They shall eat those things with which atonement was made at their ordination and consecration, but an outsider shall not eat of them, because they are holy. Exo. 29:33
And if any of the flesh for the ordination or of the bread remain until the morning, then you shall burn the remainder with fire. It shall not be eaten, because it is holy. Exo. 29:34Exodus 29:32-34
Holy Call and Standard
The divine message “Y’all must be holy because I am” has become a weapon of terror. If Yeshua says it we have (a) his words to tell us what his holiness is (b) his actions for a practical guide and (c) the Holy Spirit’s practical help. As it comes from the previous arrangement with Israel (and Judah) the holiness is simple distinctiveness. Israel’s sanctification has little to do with cleansed consciences and likeness to God. What the priests and kings gave to the world is fables and a distorted story of Abraham’s faith, all the while disavowing his philanthropy and childlike trust in God.
“BE HOLY” is a command (a grammatical imperative). Like the Sinai Covenant commands the form is the future (Hebrew imperfect) tense which stands for incomplete actions. It is not a promise. The Sinai Covenant is not 10 promises. Imroperly interpreted we avoid blaming people for not complying. How does the unholy become holy? Do we want to propose that the life given to the repentant comes about by his or her will? Do we want to build our hope on the leopard changing his spots? No dead person can hear God’s command to live and take any credit for the trip from death to life.
A command is responsible for
- the created world (sun, moon, stars, land, sea, animals and plants)
- the flood and various judgments
- The initiatives in preparation of the incarnation and the cross
- The reversal of conditions (illness, death, guilt, imprisonment, persecution, and barren wombs)
By no stretch of the imagination can becoming holy be a matter of festivals, food, drink, or changed behaviours. Believe it or not, corrupt and malevolent people frequently find themselves in compliance with “You shall not lie”, or “You shall not covet”, or “You shall not commit adultery”. Prostitution was Israel’s distint scandal. Her holiness stands in being God’s chosen vessel for unveiling the agenda for global salvation. This is a matter for which Jews have no Mosaic warrant.
Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth. John 17:17
Don’t even try telling anyone that you are living by every word of God because you probably have not read and the vast majority of Christians leaders have shown little stomach for reading and much less for interpreting the once-for-all-time gospel. Holiness never came from following all that is written.