Bible Verse: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
Scripture Reading: Leviticus 20:7-8, Ephesians 1:3-14
Yesterday, we discussed how the world looks at holiness. Today, we are exploring what holiness means according to Scripture.
There are 171 verses in the Bible that mention the word “holiness.”
Although anything or anyone that belongs to God is considered “holy,” holiness directly refers to God or the virtue of being born-again and belonging to God. In the books of the Old Testament, we see references to God’s holiness through His instructions to Israel or as part of their worship. People are inherently sinful, and Levite priests served as mediators between them and the Holy God of Israel. The priests had to follow meticulous rules and conduct burnt offerings to atone for the sins of the nation. The people were not able to be in God’s presence because He is holy, and man is not.
The New Testament has a different theme about holiness. The Saviour has died for our sins, and we are made holy through the blood of Christ. We no longer need a priest to mediate between God and man. We are now perfectly holy in the sight of God.
The New Testament refers to holiness as something we receive through the Holy Spirit as a compass to guide our steps, which changes us into people who are more and more holy (e.g. Mark 1:8; Romans 6:19; etc.).
We should not mistake being holy with perfectionism. Matthew 5:48 says we must “Be perfect,” as our Father in heaven is perfect. This verse has caused many Christians to worry about how to achieve perfection.
However, in this context, to be perfect means to be “complete” or “fully developed” in Christ.
We are holy and perfect because Christ made us holy and perfect through His perfect sacrifice on the Cross (Hebrews 10:14).
Prayer: Father, please help us to avoid adding any unnecessary legalistic expectations to become holy. Your Son died for our sins, making us perfectly holy. Although we are not flawless, we can still be in Your holy presence, all thanks to Christ. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Reflection: Are you striving for perfection on your own, or are you surrendering to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in becoming holy before your Creator?
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