Church

Being Set Apart

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
This attribute of Holiness shows us we are set before a God who is transcendent, with pure, moral perfection. His virtue surpasses not only our understanding, but also our ability to mimic it. This majesty is more than just a word in a praise song; it is a picture of God's ultimate...

Holiness also means being set apart, because pure holiness cannot be in contact with that which is not, thus God is set apart (sometimes put theologically as apartness and otherness) from us, and from all that is sin. Thus, we can have no direct contact with Him. The Fall caused a great partition that we could not bridge, and it separated us from God. God is greater than we could ever imagine!

This attribute of Holiness shows us we are set before a God who is transcendent, with pure, moral perfection. His virtue surpasses not only our understanding, but also our ability to mimic it. This majesty is more than just a word in a praise song; it is a picture of God's ultimate superiority. He is God. There is only one God, and, guess what? You are not HE! If you get this point, you will be light-years ahead of most people who live, and believe, that the universe orbits around them, and where God is an afterthought, or a scheduled appointment on Sundays at 9am, when there is time.

Holiness equals Pureness; this refers to the God who does what is right, always, and continually, even if, and when we do not understand it. God's nature is Holy, which means He is great and His actions are holy; this means He is good (James 1:17). Holiness is what makes Him great and good. This is very hard for us to understand, especially in the event of the loss of a loved one, and most especially, a child. Knowing that God never does what is wrong helps us to trust and rely on Him, and the deeper aspects of the faith are manifested as we start to yield our lives over to Him.

When tragedy happens, we are quick to blame God. Yet, we have to take comfort in the thought that there is no evil in God, thus there can be no malevolent action against us. He may allow things to come to pass that are caused by our sin, or the sin of others, but He continues to work things out, even to our benefit and good, further proving His goodness (Rom. 8:28-39).

Because of His perfection and purity He cannot tolerate any form of sin (Hab. 1:13)! He is absolutely just in His ability to judge, and is the ultimate Promise Keeper (Gen. 18:25; Psalm 7:11; 96:13; Acts 17:31; Rom. 2:5-16; 7:12; Rev. 16:5-7; 19:1-4). This means we have to be perfect. Now, how many of you have ever tried to be perfect for an hour, let alone for a lifetime? You may think you are, but your spouse or parent would have a very different tale to tell-Huh? This means we are in a state of subjugation before Him. It is not a pleasant way to exist.

Yet, this also means He is the ultimate Pardoner of sin, counteracting that hopeless state we should be in because of sin! This may seem like a contradiction--and it is, in our logic, but remember, God is beyond logic. Because God is just, He is active in saving His people from the various covenants and law of the OT and makes possible the state of Grace we enjoy today (Isa. 51:5-6; 56:1; 63:1; 1 John 1:9). So, when God justifies us, He is rescuing us by paying the cost for that sin, which our Lord Jesus Christ did on our behalf. We become justified by our faith in Christ! So, Holiness and Justification are connected, and justice is done (Rom. 3:25-26)!

There is also a call for us to heed and to respond to Holiness. In His majesty are pure love, glory, and goodness, that seek us out, bridging the chasm dug out by our sin, and which divided all of humanity. Majesty calls for worship, honor, reverence, and adoration. As John said, He is Love and He is Light, there is no darkness or reason to fear Him, other than the fear of awe, reverence, and respect (Prov. 3:5).

When you get God's goodness you should have no problem to be willing to surrender all to Him (Gal. 2:20-21)!

Holiness and Glory means He alone is worthy to be praised. We are to seek to please Him over and against our pride and personal agendas. This includes anything God has touched. When Moses approached God, the ground was holy, and he had to remove his sandals. God's presence and being there made it holy--set apart for His purpose and reason.

The objects for the Temple were also set apart for use in order to honor and worship God (Ex. 25-28). Thus, these, too, were Holy, in the sense that they were put aside for the purpose and reason to glorify God. Some of the ordinary objects, as well as the ground we use and walk on, were made to glorify Him, yet the rest of the objects and ground were normal. Another picture of God; He is majesty, and set apart. We are normal, needing His love and approval.

We are called to be Holy! This means we are different from other people. We are not better; we are saved by His Grace, and set apart for His service and glory. We are to do our best to understand and learn about Jesus so we can be more like Him in our character and behaviors. This does not mean we share in His divine nature, for He is still the One and only God and we are still human, but now we have a place in eternity and fellowship in Him!

There are two categories of God's nature and character: communicable and incommunicable. The incommunicable are the types of God's character we do not share nor can we emulate, such as His omnipresence, as we cannot be everywhere all at once let alone two places at a time. The communicable is what we can share, that God asks us to emulate in the practice of our lives, such as goodness and holiness.

Our Holiness is to reflect our gratitude and love for what He has given us, for His rescue of our soul. This is a response to His great gift of atonement and salvation. Because He saved us, we should live a life pleasing to Him. This does not mean we are perfect, but we can strive our best to be our best for His glory!

The work and cross of Christ is so essential for us. Without Jesus, we could never know God, because He covers our sin and replaces that separation with an intimate relationship. This is called Atonement; Christ covered us so we can come before God as clean and pure. Our responsibility is to peruse Holiness by living a righteous life, which will reflect what Christ has done for us!

Being a receiver of Holiness as a Christian is freedom, because of the bond we have by being in Christ. Bond means we have been grafted in Him, and the Holy Spirit is living in us. We do not have the freedom to do whatever we desire, thus sinning and breaking God's moral law. We must surrender, and yield ourselves to Him to obtain true freedom (Rom. 6:1‑14) (Instruments in v. 13 refers to a weapon, as soldiers presenting arms to their Sergeant!) Pursuing holiness means we live with the knowledge that our sin is covered (Atonement) and must remain dead (Gal. 2:20; 3:20).

There is only one kind of people--sinners--and one kind of Holiness--Jesus! God places His Holiness in us. We are not to be copies, but real, as Christ is exhibited in us, and to be filled with His fullness (Eph. 3:19), not ours. We must see our sin and weakness, and be humble before the Holiness of God. We may not be able to overcome all of our sins, but our desire must be to go in the right direction.

Our response is to pursue Holiness to the best of our ability, to be communicable in our faith, as in infectious. We can do this by growing in character and living righteously by Christ's example. Our concern and pursuit is to learn and grow in Him in maturity and faith through obedience and the practice of the Christian walk (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; Heb. 12:10-17; 1 John 1:5-2:1). We may not be able to be perfect as He is perfect, but we can strive our best in receiving His Spirit and Word, and applying it in all aspects of our lives.

Holiness does not mean we set ourselves apart from others whom we do not like, or whom we consider sinful, because we are all sinful. Remember, Jesus Himself had direct contact with the sinners of life, and called the worst sinners, like Paul, to spread His Gospel. Yet, we are not to yield to or undertake their sins and temptations. Being salt without losing our saltiness, or being light not hidden under a bowl means being there in love and care without becoming like the world (Matt. 5:13-16). As A Christian, we all called to reach out and be effective to those around us, so our salt will remain salty and our light can shine (Duet. 30:1-10; Matt. 5-6; Eph. 4:17-5:14; 1 Pet. 1:13-22).

Our human tendency is to try to persuade others to agree with our views. God's purpose is to get us in line with His views. Yet, so many Christians spend all of their time as pursuers of arguments, not pursuers of Holiness! There are times when we need to take a stand for correct doctrine and virtue with His Word, and there are times we need to separate childish, petty things from real things. For example, I love the KJV Bible, but thinking that the KJV is the only true version of God's Word is just plain stupidity, and goes against Hebrews 4:11-16. Yet, so many fight for this belief, and do not pursue what they are called to do! So, all of our church energies are put into conflict and not into perusing Holiness and His call!

What effect will Holiness have on me?
 
When we grasp the incredible Holiness of God, and start to realize the inconceivable magnitude of the forgiveness we have received by what Christ has done, it takes hold and our lives are changed forever (Eph. 3:18)! We are humbled, and motivated to yield our will to His, causing us to hate sin, and preparing us to take our faith seriously with more conviction and passion, as we have a deeper sense of reverence for God. It helps conform our character to His standards and we begin virtuous living, embracing the beauty of the holy life. It allows us to proclaim His glory to others with excitement and confidence. We will realize that we are called to be of noble character, set apart for His purpose. We are no longer of this world; neither do we desire its distractions or causing others to be distracted from perusing Christ (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; Heb. 12:10-17; 1 John 1:5-2:1).

©2002, totally revised 2005 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org/

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