Be Holy

by Stephen F. Olford

Text:  "But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Pet. 1:15-16).

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Thought:  Holiness is a subject which frightens most people. In one sense this can be readily understood, especially when we read a verse like the one we have chosen for our Points to Ponder. But the fact is that holiness is the key to a life of healthiness and happiness. This is why Jesus said, "Blessed (or happy) are the pure in heart; for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8). It behooves us, therefore, to understand Scriptural holiness:

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1. The Essence of Scriptural Holiness: "Be holy; for I am holy" (v. 16).  To understand the meaning of holiness, we must examine the word itself. In the Old Testament, the term "holy" is derived from a Hebrew word which suggests "sanctity," or a "setting apart" of a person or thing described as sacred to the purpose of God alone. The New Testament employs another term for holiness and sanctification. Although etymologically the word is not the same as the one used in the Old Testament, its meaning is identical. It signifies something full of awe, or awe-inspiring, because the object so described belongs peculiarly and only to God. So we might state the essence of holiness as follows:  given spiritual life, holiness means the maintaining in health of that life before God, and the setting apart of that life for His service alone.

2. The Experience of Scriptural Holiness: "Be holy." In terms of experience, holiness is a life in Christ, which is provided by God   (1 Cor. 1:30).  Holiness is also a life in Christ which is preserved by God (see 1 Thess. 5:23-24). The final realization of the perfection of holiness will be experienced at the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3. The Expression of Scriptural Holiness: Paul tells us that "God did not call us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness" (1 Thess. 4:7). This not only implies a life of development, but also involves a life of discipline. We are to "pursueholiness" (Heb.12:14). May we be determined to be holy, even as He is holy.

Robert Murray McCheyne once said:  "The greatest ambition of my life is to be a holy man." Is it yours?              

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Take time to be holy,

Speak oft with thy Lord;

Abide in Him always,

And feed on His Word.

Make friends of God's children;

Help those who are weak;

Forgetting in nothing

His blessing to seek.

William D. Longstaff

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