1 Peter 2:9
But you are a special people, a holy nation, priests and kings, a people given up completely to God, so that you may make clear the virtues of him who took you out of the dark into the light of heaven.
God speaks to Israel and he calls them a special people, a holy nation. We always repeat in our local assembly the teaching that says that Holy means different. Holy means special. Holy means separation of one thing from others. God is constantly calling us away from the world into holiness.
Often we don’t realize that we already have the capacity and the grace for holiness. Our sanctification is asserted by our holy living, we are separated from the world through sanctification.
Today I want us to talk about the 3 key truths about holiness.
- Holiness begins with self-denial. Even as we are fasting, we have to deny ourselves food in order to come closer to God. Holiness requires that we deny ourselves the comfort and pleasures of the flesh that we may seek God. I have often learned that in times of comfort man is furthest from God. Our most affluent societies are the most godless societies. To leave comfort and search for God intentionally is a true blessing in the pursuit of holiness.
- Holiness is protective, not restrictive. There are 613 laws given by God in the Old Testament. 365 of them were proscriptions and 248 were prescriptions. It is easy to deduce that holiness is being told what not to do, but the greater revelation is that holiness is preservation. God was trying to preserve a nation. All sin leads to death, the bible says the penalty of sin is always death. (Romans 6:23) Holiness protects you from the penalty that comes through sin, it’s not meant to make you feel like God doesn’t want you to live and have fun, but God wants to preserve you.
- Holiness is community. Holiness is not isolation, holiness is community. When a lot of people hear about being set apart and being a special person they think they should be isolated. Instead they should be in a community of like-minded people. God does not call individuals into holiness; God calls communities and families into it. What we should do is to plug into a holy community. It is to find people who believe in God and live a holy and consecrated life with them. Every single event in scripture among the Jews was a community process. Sanctification is impossible if you are a one man island. Our churches and faith communities should be places where we connect to the right people that we live with into the promise and purpose of God