Bible Ballistics: Vol. 11 No. 08 Holey?? Holy?? Or Wholly??
I’d like to share a few brief thoughts with you today. My pastor recently used a ‘visual aid’ that has stuck in my mind, and I’d like to share some of my thoughts about it with you today.
The subject he was teaching about was regarding ‘holiness’, ‘heresy’, and ‘truth’. The thing I want to focus on today is holiness. The aid that our pastor used was a large card (poster board), on one side it had holes like a piece of Swiss cheese, to remind us of “holiness”, which the dictionary says is, “the quality or state of being holy, sanctity…”.
The word used for ‘holy’ in the New Testament is “hagios”: “holy, set apart, sanctified, consecrated”, and comes from a root that means “chaste, pure…..with a fundamental idea of, separation, consecration, and devotion to God, and sharing in God’s purity and abstaining from earth’s defilement” (From Spiros Zodihates Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament.). Now that’s a mouth-full, much less a heart and mind full! But full of what? Our own ways? Or God’s ways?
“Holey” means ‘having holes’. Are we living a life with “holes” in it? Do we continually have gaps in judgment, speech or behavior? Are we conforming to the world instead of God and His Word? Are we continually striving for ‘holiness’ before God and man, as HE has called and enabled us to be/do?
“But as he which hath called you is holy,
so be ye holy
in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written,
Be ye holy;
for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
Conversation, as mentioned here is a reference to “life style” not just our speech, but also our way of living, and God calls us to live a holy life.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren,
by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies
a living sacrifice,
acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1
Many today have come far afield of Paul’s call to live godly lives of sacrifice and holiness. Let’s examine this passage and then look at the rest of the call in verse 2. Paul says that our call (I beseech you) is so important that he begs the Romans, and us, to stand up, not on our own power, but by “the mercies of God”. Even as Paul reminded the Philippians:
“I can do all things
which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13
We can’t be “holy” apart from the power of God—the power that makes us the “sons of God” (children of God). Jesus saves and gives us abundant life—life “in HIM”—life that can rise above the world’s drain, by the God’s power that supplies that “all things through Christ” power! Paul implores us to live godly lives by God’s mercy extended to them/us, as we present our “bodies a living sacrifice” unto God! Our lives yielded to God for HIS service—to sacrifice our lives by our ‘living’ so that HIS holiness will be seen in us in all we do and say! He goes on to help us know how to accomplish this.
“And be not conformed
to this world:
but be ye transformed
by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove
what is that good,
will of God.
3 For I say,
through the grace
given unto me,
to every man
that is among you,
not to think of himself
than he ought to think;
but to think soberly,
according as God hath dealt
to every man
the measure of faith.” Romans 12:2-3
I love this passage, and just as Paul called us to sacrifice our living unto God, he helps us understand that it involves not just “holy” living, but a determination to “be not conformed to this world”, but to renew our minds by the Word of God, which is part of the transforming power of God! What does transformation look like? We can gain a lot of insight by understanding the word “transformed”; it is from a Greek word, “metamorphoo”. It may look familiar to you, for it is the root from which we get our English word “metamorphosis”—the transformation that takes place when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly! That is what God does in us—HE transforms us from sinners to saints. He makes us “fit” for HIS kingdom by the blood of Jesus and the work of The Holy Spirit.
“Giving thanks unto the Father,
which hath made us meet (fit)
to be partakers
of the inheritance of the saints
13 Who hath delivered us
from the power of darkness,
and hath translated us
into the kingdom
of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption
through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins:” Colossians 1:12-14
It’s all about Jesus, His work within us, and His transforming power, which enables us to NOT conform to the world, but to yield ourselves to His transforming work from within. A transformation, which will be evident to prove:
“what is that good,
will of God”
God’s transforming power manifested through our behavior-a testimony of grace to the world. We are delivered and changed to be His witnesses, by His power and truth. And as we see in Romans 3:12, this transformation will always be evidenced by humility and not arrogance—servants of God not self-promoters. Paul gives us a wonderful picture of ‘holiness’ and “wholly”ness in his letter to the Thessalonians. For when we are living “holy” lives, we will be “whole” in our testimony before God and the world. “Holy” believers, living “wholly” holy lives of witness for our Lord, to a lost and dying world!
“See that none render evil for evil
unto any man;
but ever follow that which is good,
both among yourselves,
and to all men.
16 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things;
hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
23 And the very God of peace
sanctify you wholly;
and I pray God
your whole spirit
be preserved blameless unto the coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you,
who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15-24
And one of Paul’s last messages to his son-in-the-faith, Timothy, is a word that we ought to heed and take to heart. It’s as true for us now as it was for Timothy then!
“Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” 1 Timothy 4:1
It’s your choice: Holey? Or Wholly Holy? Chose wisely, there is a test at the end!