Holiness: Set apart for God
Do you own a set of “good dishes”? Dishes that you only bring out for important company or on special occasions? Or do you have a special outfit of clothes that you only wear when the event is really important? If you said yes, then you have some belongings that are set apart. These are things that are so important to you, so treasured that you don’t want them mingling in with the everyday stuff that gets handled roughly.
We are like these special treasures in the eyes of God! When we become Children of God, through surrendering of our lives to Jesus Christ, we are also set apart for special use. Being set apart by God, is called Sanctification. God wants His chosen people–you and I–to be set apart from the rest of the world. By that I don’t mean that God wants us hidden away–like the dishes in the back of the cupboard–He wants us out there mixing it up with our friends, family and neighbours who don’t know Him yet. But He wants us to look differently from the rest of the world while we are doing it! He wants us to be holy because He is holy. We are called to holy living as Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:15, “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy.'”
Maybe right now you are thinking to yourself that this sounds okay for some people, but that there is no way you could be holy. Maybe you are thinking about all the bad stuff in your life that still seems to take you captive, even though you really want to be free. The really good news in all of this is that we don’t have to work out our holiness on our own! The Holy Spirit was given to us for several important reasons, and this is one of them.
Holiness is about the Holy Spirit living inside of us, transforming us gradually, day by day. Holiness is an inside job. It starts on the inside and works its way out. When we become believers in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven of our sins. That was the work of Jesus on the cross. But what the Holy Spirit does in addition to that, is cleanse us from the place within us where sin originates. We receive a new standard of what is now acceptable thought and behavior planted in our hearts. What was once okay for us to do and think now becomes unacceptable. It is not that sin is impossible, but it now is possible not to sin!
Holiness is our ultimate destiny. But we can move the process along more swiftly if we draw on the power within our reach. Ask the Holy Spirit living within you to help you to turn away from the sins that entangle and trap you. Surrender to God–give every day to Him from start to finish. Obey faithfully from the little things to the big ones. And believe that the Holy Spirit is going to finish this work that has been started within us.