God desires holiness

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God desires holiness       

Leviticus 11:44 “You shall be holy for I am holy”

Extra Reading: Leviticus 11:1-47.

In Scripture, the term “holiness” most commonly derives from the Hebrew word ‘qadash’ or the Greek word ‘hagios’. The issue of holiness, however, must begin with understanding the holy God who determines the standard for holiness. The concept of holiness is to be developed via the self-revelation of God’s character and nature. The concept of holiness must be introduced by understanding and imitating the holiness of God. It is for this reason Peter reminds the church of the same responsibility which Israel had, that is, all of God’s people are to be like God in holiness: “You shall be holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). In the New Testament, the Greek ‘hagios’ occurs more than 200 times and has as its basic meaning “separation”. Holiness means we should keep ourselves pure and clean in the eyes of God. Israel is told to be holy because God is holy, and they were therefore to be separate from the practices and attitudes of the Canaanite people around them.

Thus it must be assumed that the basic concept behind holiness is separation from those things which God has determined to be impure or those things which God has separated out for his own use. In Scripture, a great variety of items can be holy: cities (Matt. 4:5); ground (Acts 7:33); buildings (1 Kings 8:6-11); created beings (Mark 8:38); humans (2 Peter 1:32); the law (Romans 7:12); and bodies of believes (Romans 12:1). It would appear that any object, place, person, or act can be holy when used in the purpose of God. Holiness is also a quality of character. It implies a disposition and attitude toward those things consistent with the nature of God. Believers are commanded to be holy like God himself (1 Peter 1:15) and therefore holiness is the norm for standard of conduct. Holiness, however, must never be confused with ‘religiousness’ or self-righteousness. Christian missionaries must protect themselves from impurities which will affect the way they are seen by the people who are being reached. Since missionaries represent God to the people to whom they are ministering, lifestyle and attitude are to be compatible with God. This may require special sensitivity toward particularly offensive practices in each culture. We need to correctly demonstrate God’s holy character to those who must understand God’s message of sin and salvation

Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us to lead holy lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

Rev. Samuel N. Modise      

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