Thursday, September 3, 2009

What is Holiness?

God said we must be perfect because he is perfect. In the midst of the Sermon of the Mount, such a statement can seem an onerous demand upon intrinsically imperfect creatures, but is that what it's intended to be? Granted, God is perfect, and if we're ever to get along with him, we'll have to be perfect too, but is this a demand as much as it is a statement of fact?

If God allowed imperfection to run amok in his universe(s) [that's for any of you string theorists out there ;-)] he wouldn't fit the definition of being perfect. Perhaps he could understand what is perfect, maybe even want what is perfect, but he, himself, would not be perfect because he would be unable to "make it so." Jesus spoke a verity on that mount, really a necessity: if it wasn't so, God wouldn't be God.

We, however, are not perfect nor can we be. There is one, alone, who is good, and it ain't us! But we must be, if we're ever to get along with God! We are part of the universe made by the perfect creator and it is a necessity that we be perfect in all that we are, or we'll have to be perfect not as we are. Right now, we can think, desire, choose, act, create, i.e. express the image of God (though marred and imperfect). In order to continue to do so, we'll have to come into accord, be perfectly aligned, and absolutely congruent with him who is perfect.

Hell, and by that I mean the Lake of Fire, is not the petty, vindictive, hissy fit of someone really big and strong. It is a logical necessity in view of an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, perfect God. If those made in his image will not choose perfectly, then they must be perfectly incapacitated from making any choice whatsoever. The undying worm and never ending flame of hell are meant to accomplish just such a purpose.

But we are not perfect, nor could we ever be. What's a person to do? We certainly don't want to burn in hell. We must become holy! There is one who is perfect, it is the essence of his holiness, and he is willing to share his Holy Spirit with those willing to put their trust in Christ. When he who is holy is abiding in those who can't be on their own, holiness becomes remarkably possible. When those folks are recreated at the Rapture, their holiness will be perfect.

4 comments:

  1. Yeah Nanc, true enough. We often think about perfect love, only in terms of us being on the receiving end of it, but it wouldn't be perfect if it could stomach folk treating those loved with hatred. So it's horizontal as well as vertical. I suppose the hateful wouldn't want to get in on that!

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  2. Jesus died at the cross "unholy" for us to be holy.

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  3. So true, Marvin.

    Sometimes, I think we have a tendency to see that entirely in terms of status, but what would that accomplish? If there is no difference in interaction, attitude and behavior, what good would a status change be if the person whose status was changed continued to relate to and act before God in an unholy way? That for God, would be like one of us marrying a contentious woman (Prov 21:9,19; 25:24), only for eternity rather than a lifetime. I don't think that is his plan.

    He changes both status and heart, because he is making a home. First he changes status by sprinkling the unholy with holy blood, thereby setting it apart for himself. Then the Spirit moves in and changes the interior and in so doing makes a place he can be at home.

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