There is no greater honor to me than to be given the Word, the revelation of the One who chose to make Himself known for my salvation. There is no greater joy to me than to be called son of the Most High; I, the rebellious handful of dust about whom there is nothing grandiose to be said. There is no greater curiosity than to search and know my Savior better. But at the same time, there also is no greater challenge than to allow the knowledge of God to overwrite what I think I am, transforming every bit of me to mirror Him. Why are we so interested in knowing but so resistant to becoming? Perhaps it is because we seek to simply enhance a life that already overflows with ego, instead of emptying the ego and being filled with the “I AM.”
We like to know that our God is infinite in power, and He is. We boast of a God that will always be faithful, and we should. A God who cannot be anything else but eternally just, loving, merciful, fully involved in our lives, and sacrificially caring. He is indeed all of these, He is an awesome God, but whether or not He is our God is a matter that goes far beyond simply knowing of Him.
When God appeared to the people of Israel, He introduced himself both as YHWH, the one who is too holy to even have his name read out loud, and as “your God,” the one who set them in a personal relationship with Himself; and out of these two realities, it became obvious that a relationship with the Most Holy would imply with necessity the holiness of those called to be His. Knowing God personally had nothing to do with acknowledging a YHWH among all the other gods, or even with simply accepting to follow a god that claimed to be the supreme, but rather having Him as “your God” had ultimately to do with becoming like Him. Consequently, a life lived in resemblance of His character (expressed through the Law) became a desirable life, while one that would disagree with or misrepresent His character became a relationship breaker.
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33)
This holy God is perfectly and eternally holy, which means that although our covenant with Him has changed, He is just as holy today as He was when he presented himself to Israel (Malachi 3:6). Moreover, it is not only God who remains the same, but the substance of our covenant with Him hasn’t changed either. If in the Old Testament the Law was a description of God’s character and a prescription of how to become like Him, once Christ placed us in a new covenant with God, He transferred the law of God in our hearts (Jeremiah 33:31). Thus the law acts now not as an exterior guardian or accuser, but from the inside out (Galatians 3:23-26). In fact, once Christ made it possible that we would be God’s children and call Him our God, the Spirit started working in us the fulfillment of His will (Ezekiel 36:26-28), which ultimately still is our holiness (1 Thessalonians 4:3a).
I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. (Ezekiel 36:27)
For this reason, Peter urged us to imitate God and His holiness in all aspects of our lives (1 Peter 1:15-16), because if He is our God, then we must strive to be like Him. As children of God, our holiness is unconditional. It is not dependent upon certain circumstances or exterior norms, but it is the essence of our new identity. We must be holy, because we are His. If this is the case, then we must think seriously on our approach to the unstable, uncertain, and concerning context of today.
We all have seen too many people for whom the end justifies the means these days, or perhaps some for whom the amplitude of the crisis justifies the wickedness of the reactions. People who abused resources and systems for a false, selfish impression of security. People for whom it suddenly became morally admissible to put others in danger, to spread insulting remarks, or even delight in or promote racism. Going even a step forward, as many of us have more time to spare and are not able to gather much with the Body, we have become more vulnerable to lowering our standards of faithfulness and trust in God, allowing panic, anxiety, or idleness to take control over certain areas of our lives. Although we are not perfect and we often fail, it is alarming today that many of us have the sense that it is OK to somehow disregard holiness because this is an unprecedented, terrible period.
but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:15-16)
Today, it is especially important to make sure that we stand for and practice holiness. Today, we cannot afford to put aside our spiritual state and prioritize anxious or selfish impulses. Today we must resemble God as clear as we can so that this desperate world can see Him through our lives. We must allow His Word to transform us, shaping us into a people who loves others as sacrificially as Jesus does, who trusts the Lord and finds peace daily in Him, who spreads joy and hope instead of anger and despair, and who fixes their eyes to things that are eternal. A people for whom knowing how great God is implies becoming, through the Spirit, more and more like Him.
We don’t know what circumstances the future weeks will hold, but let us be holy in our relationships with Him and those around us regardless of the times, because we have been set aside and called to be holy (1 Corinthians 1:2).