God's Holiness and Our Sanctification
1:16 Because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy.
A study of Sanctification:
It is both extremely interesting, and very practical for us.
We live in an unclean, unholy society
We are called to be sanctified (separate) as children of God (2 Corinthians 6:17-18) "
I am convinced that a thorough understanding of sanctification, and an acceptance of the obligations it entails for us will go a long way to solving many of the problems that are found among God's people today!
Let us begin by understanding that the the blessing of sanctification experienced by us as Christian far outstrips that found under the Old Covenant God had with Israel Hebrews 9:13-14
Additionally, that greater blessing bestows upon us greater responsibility Hebrews 2:1-4
This will be important as we describe the concept of sanctification as revealed in the Old Testament, and then make applications to our lives as Christians
Definition: Sanctify, Holy, Saint
(All from the same Greek word)
Sanctify - (hagiazo) To render or declare sacred or holy, consecrate... (2) to separate from things profane and dedicate to God to consecrate (Thayer)
Sanctification - (hagiasmos) "...is used of (a) separation to God... (b) the course of life befitting those so separated..." (Vine)
Sanctification should be viewed in two senses
An absolute sense, as a completed activity. A Christian is sanctified, or set apart from the world when he is baptized. He becomes a saint. In this sense it refers to his relationship with God.
A relative sense, as a process that continues with a view to service. In effect, because a Christian has been set apart from the world as holy, his life must be an example of sanctification. (2 Corinthians 6:16 7:1 - perfecting holiness)
The Holiness of God
The Bible speaks of the holiness of God many times, it is His Nature
A defining characteristic of God, perhaps above all others in emphasis in the Old Testament Isaiah 6:3
Genesis 18:25 God will do right
Psalm 73 God will correct all injustice in His time
Deuteronomy 32:4 God hates all iniquity
Psalm 7:9-12 God will deal with wickedness
He is unique in his Holiness. The Bible never speaks of God as becoming Sanctified. Holiness is not something God attained. It is not something he can lose. It is what He is! Exodus 15:11
Hell can only be explained by God's holiness. How could a loving God condemn his creation to torment?
God is HOLY!
He is different from all other living things in a number of important ways
He only has a divine nature Isaiah 43:10
He alone is holy in power. When God exerts His divine power, he demonstrates His holiness 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
He is morally perfect James 1:13
God alone is intrinsically holy. However, other things (and people) can attain a measure of holiness, derived from God (See Hebrews 12:14)
This is called sanctification... God setting something or someone apart as holy, in order to serve him. We must recognize that this is God's purpose for us as Christians
Sanctification in the Old Testament
Things sanctified (set apart as holy) by God
Lord's Word, angels, heaven, mountains and cities where God appeared, etc. (cf. Psalm 105:42; Deuteronomy 26:15; Job 15:15; Exodus 3:5)
Nation of Israel (As God's chosen people) Exodus 19:5-6
Certain ones among the Israelites: Priests, prophets, kings. (cf. Exodus 30:29-30; 2 Kings 4:9; Ps. 16:10) Nazarites (Numbers 6:8). The firstborn, both man and beast (Exodus 13:2)
sanctuary of God (both Tabernacle and Temple) was perhaps
most visible symbol of holiness
"Non-Israelites had to keep their distance from the sanctuary. Israelite laymen could approach to a designated point. The priests could enter the sanctuary itself, but they were forbidden from going into the most holy place. On the Day of Atonement the high priest was permitted to enter the inner sanctum, but his duties there were brief and came only once a year. If the high priest entered at any other time, he would die (Lev. 16). In reality, therefore, even the holiest person in Israel was excluded from the presence of the Lord. The sanctuary in Israel was both a symbol of God's desire to dwell with man and, at the same time, a constant reminder of sinful man's exclusion from God." (Martin Pickup, Sanctified in Christ, Florida Lectureship Book, 1996, page 32)
Leviticus 22:1-3 - cut off from my presence: I am the LORD.
A very clear emphasis in the Old Testament of the difference between the holy and the unholy
Clean and unclean animals (cf. Leviticus 11)
Leviticus 10:9-11 Distinguish between holy and unholy
Touching a dead body, leprosy, giving birth, certain biological conditions made a person unclean (cf. Leviticus 12, 15)
Note: Being an unclean person resulted in exclusion from the community. It was a serious thing. In this condition, it was unlawful to worship at God's sanctuary.
Sowing two different seeds in the same field, yoking together different kinds of animals, (cf. Deuteronomy 22:9-11; Leviticus 19:19)
Impure Blood God is not prejudiced. He was seeking a pure bloodline for Christ.
Marriage out of Israel children were impure. Deuteronomy 23:3 (Exception Edomites (Esau, brother of Jacob) and Egyptians (Israel lived in their land 3 generations)
Conception out of wedlock (fornication, adultery, rape, incest) All children were excluded for 10 generations. Deuteronomy 23:2
Psalm 122:1 Why was David glad? 1st to be able to enter sanctuary. Genesis 38:18 Tamar had Perez by her father-in-law, Jacob. See the lineage in Matthew 1:3-6
One was considered IMPURE, and unworthy to be present before God in that state!
Not a matter of salvation A matter of holiness vs. impurity.
SIN is another type of uncleanness
An Israelite became impure when he sinned against His God!
Psalm 106:39 defiled by their own works
Isaiah 64:6 our righteousness is like filthy rags
Isaiah 59:1-2 your sins have separated you
A sad fact is that the history of Israel is marred by continual, flagrant rebellion against God
Unholy conditions necessitated either Sanctification, or Judgment
God could, and often did sanctify His people, by cleansing them of their defilements
Whether it was ceremonial uncleanness, or moral impurity, sin and guilt offerings had to be offered Leviticus 5:1-6
Interesting that no distinction was made in this matter between the ceremonial uncleanness, and actual sin in this matter
The Message: GOD'S PEOPLE MUST BE HOLY BEFORE HIM!
SOMETIMES, THE TRANSGRESSIONS WERE TOO GRAVE, TOO REBELLIOUS, AND IT BECAME NECESSARY (BECAUSE OF HIS NATURE) FOR GOD TO EXERCISE JUDGMENT
Crimes such as murder, homosexuality, incest, punishment was death (no sacrifice)
Law of Moses contained no provision for the sanctification of those willful or defiant in their sin Psalm 19:13 presumptuous sin
God demonstrated His holiness in His judgments against Israel Isaiah 5:16
NOTE: Israel's status as "God's chosen people" did not exempt them from God's judgment, in fact, it made it all the more necessary Amos 3:2
Sanctification in the New Testament
The Old Testament serves as a teacher for us as we examine the concept of holiness in the New Covenant we have with God
As Christians, we are saints (sanctified) 1 Corinthians 1:2
Note, he called them sanctified, despite the fact that they were failing in their walk
In fact, the reason for his admonitions is that God had set them apart as holy for his service, and they were not living up to that calling Christians are a special people 1 Peter 2:9
If the call to holiness was so stringent in the Old Testament, are not our obligations even greater in the New? Hebrews 2:1-4
Sanctification in the New Testament means that you are set apart from sin, and dedicated to the service of Christ Romans 12:1-2
There is a difference between the concept of holiness in the Old Testament and in the New Testament
The definition is much more narrow in the New Testament Matthew 15:10-20
Remember the Lord's injunction to Peter Acts 10:15
The sphere of holiness in the New Testament has reference to morality, and obedience to the doctrine of Christ... not ritualistic purity and impurity like in the Old Testament.
Sanctification under the new covenant is of a higher order Hebrews 9:13-15
Therefore, the demand for holy behavior is also of a higher order 1 Peter 1:14-16; Ephesians 1:4; Romans 8:1; 1 Timothy 2:8; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Romans 6:19
The application: A Holy Life!
We must separate ourselves from live above the morals of the world
2 Corinthians 6:16-18 Come of from among them
Revelation 18:4 Come out of her, my people
Ephesians 5:3 as becomes saints
Reverence at Worship (cf. Leviticus 8:6-10, 22-24, 30-36)
Inattention at Bible Study and Worship -
Dress - Especially when before the congregation
Kids getting up and walking out. Disruptive to those who sit behind. Get drinks and bathroom breaks out of the way before service starts
Decorum during the Lord's Supper
Study / Read the Bible Knowledge, Deeper Faith
Prayer life Often, Not Doubt, In Faith
Growth Faith, Desire, Commitment
I recognize that these are outward, some may say superficial. However, they indicate what is within, and they are important both to God and his people
Conclusion: 1 Thessalonians 5:23
The Bible's message to sinful man:
Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: (NKJV)