By Ken Chumbley
One of the attributes of God clearly seen in studying the Bible is that of “holiness,” our God is a holy God. In examining the scriptures we see that this Holy God requires that His people be a holy people. This holds true both respecting the Israelites, God’s people under the Old Covenant, and to Christians, God’s people under the New Covenant. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:15-16).
The word “holy” is a translation of the Greek word “HAGIOS” and is used in the sense of being devoted or set aside to God. The word translated “saint” is from the same Greek root and thus it is proper to call saints “holy ones.” The Christian, then, is one who is devoted to God, who is set aside to the service of God. Since this is so, then Peter points out that the Christians manner of life (conversation) must be holy.
The essentiality of the child of God being holy is seen in that it is a prerequisite of seeing God:
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). For one to be holy implies a purity of life: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
Since the Christian is devoted and set aside for the service of God, it follows that he will be opposed to sin as is God: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein? …But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:1-2, 22).
The apostle Peter, when speaking of the end of the world and the return of the Lord points out what kind of persons Christians are to be in light of our Lord’s return: “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God” (II Peter 3:11-12).
Let us then remember the admonitions of God’s word and strive to live pure, holy and separated lives that others might see that we are different because we are God’s people and do not indulge in those things that are contrary to the Lord’s will. Also, we must realize that only as we are living a life that is devoted to God and separate from sin can we have the hope of seeing the Lord.
- Ken Chumbley preaches for the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC. He may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org