Friday, June 17, 2022

Clothed in Holiness (Ephesians 4:17–32)

"Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph. 4:24).

What impact should the holiness of God have on our daily lives? To answer this question, we need to have a better understanding of the meaning of holiness. Many people think of holiness only in terms of moral purity or righteousness. While this is part of the meaning of holiness, the primary meaning is separation or apartness. When Israel was called a holy nation, it was set apart from the other nations. This did not mean every person was completely pure and righteous, but they were set apart or separated from the ungodly nations around them.

God is holy in that He is different from all else. He is infinite and transcendent, which goes above anything common. Because God is altogether different from His creation, we cannot think of God in terms of creatureliness. This would be unglorifying to Him. God is not bound by space and time like we are. He is not made of flesh like we are, but He is spirit—transcendent and omnipresent.

When something is considered sacred or holy, it does not take on these characteristics of God, but is considered holy because it has the touch of God upon it. The objects in the temple were considered holy because they were set apart by God. Likewise, the ark of the covenant was not some magical object, but was deemed holy because God had declared it to be so as the symbol of His presence among the people.

Our response to God’s holiness should be one of fear. Just as the foreign nations feared the ark of the covenant because it meant the power of God, so must we fear God because He is altogether different from anything else. When we fear God, we show Him reverence and awe.

Not only are we to show reverence and respect to God’s holy character, we are to reflect this in our lives. He is set apart from everything that is unclean. He is pure and righteous. As His people, we are called to bear witness to the righteousness of God by reflecting His character in our lives. We do this by obeying His laws and exhibiting the fruits of His Spirit. Sinfulness is contrary to God’s holiness and the more we put sin to death the more we are conformed to His holiness.

Read Leviticus 11. Why would God institute such regulations? How did these relate holiness to the Israelites? While these laws are not binding to us today, what can you learn from this passage about God’s view of holiness? What “unclean” things do you need to separate yourself from?