God did not say it is impossible or difficult, but simply commanded us to be holy. So it is not an option, but a command to be followed.
We should be thankful that God pointed us to himself as the model to follow for holiness (see Leviticus 11:44). The Bible declares that God is light and there is no darkness in him at all (1 John 1:5). Therefore the command be holy has to do with us coming into God’s light.
Jesus said that we love to stay in darkness because light exposes our deeds. Therefore the first step to be holy is our willingness to be exposed by the light of God (John 3:20). It is only when we come into his light will we be enabled to see how we look like in the light of the holiness of God.
Secondly, there is the idea of separation from the world. And separation unto God. That is the thought behind the word, “consecrate yourselves and be holy (see Leviticus 11:44).” Simply wishing to be holy will only be wishful thinking.
To become practical you have to earnestly desire to be holy; renew your mind and offer our bodies as living sacrifices (see Romans 12:1, 2). What does all that mean? It simply means that there is a battle involved.
Our flesh won’t submit to holiness. We need to keep the attitude of holiness constantly in front of us; and our own inner fleshly attitudes will fight against it. Therefore it is not going to be easy.
Thirdly, God is a jealous God. He has used the image of being a husband to his people. And he expects us to have a single-minded pure devotion to him like a faithful bride (see 2 Corinthians 11:2).
You cannot flirt with the world and have a relationship with God. That is why James uses the term “adulterous people” to denote those who have a friendship with the world (James 4:4). What is your situation? Are you having a friendship with the world. Then you are in enmity with God and a walk of holiness is impossible.
Fourthly, without a knowledge of God you cannot even desire to be holy.
Think about it. If your knowledge of God through reading and meditating on Scripture is limited, your desire to be separated unto him will also be limited.
Without doubt, your unwillingness to spend time with God by reading his word is the single biggest point of failure in your life. Without falling in love with God’s Word, you can never know God.
And unless you have a big vision of God you will never desire to be holy.
Finally, there is a divine element and a human element in being holy.
The human element is expressed in David’s cry: “Create in me a pure heart, O God (Psalm 51:10a).” He had understood that his sin was primarily against God (Psalm 51:4). He also realized that cleansing should be deeper than just asking for forgiveness.
Isaiah too had this realization as he saw a vision of God. Seraphs crying out “Holy, Holy, Holy,” was too much for him to handle. So he cried out, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips (see Isaiah 6:5).”
Then God takes the initiative to cleanse his lips with fire from the altar (see verses 6, 7). Remember Isaiah was a prophet of the Lord and a godly man. Yet his righteousness was like filthy rags before God (see Isaiah 64:6). He needed cleansing. How much more do we?
Unless God helps us we cannot walk in holiness in our own effort. But we need to count ourselves dead to sin (Romans 6:11) and also put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature (see Colossians 3:5). But we often, instead of putting to death, put to sleep so that it can wake up and restart whenever needed.
Paul cries out to crucify the sinful nature with its passion and desires (Galatians 5:24). Unfortunately the cross has become an ornament of gold to most of us and a fashion statement rockstars wear. We have forgotten that the cross is a bloody instrument to torture to death. That is what Paul is asking us to do—crucify your flesh! There cannot be a compromise here if we have to be holy.
Sinless perfection is not what is understood by holiness. John makes it clear: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:9).” Therefore when you fail and fall find your way back to the cleansing fountain of the blood of Jesus immediately (1 John 1:7, Zechariah 13:1). Trust in nothing else. Ultimately it is the blood of Jesus alone that enables you to be holy before God. Amen.
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