Holiness is more than separation from sin. It is fully living in obedience to God’s will for our lives. Hebrews 10:7 “Then I said, ‘Here I am, God. It is written about me in the book of the law. I have come to do what you want.’” In chapter 15 we are given an example of a farmer who followed God’s law so closely that he chose to do no work on the Sabbath day. His neighboring farmers all harvested their crops 7 days a week, but this particular farmer only harvested 6 days. He eventually became the most wealthy farmer in his area. God honored his obedience.
Stepping out in obedience requires a significant amount of faith. Read in Hebrews chapter 11 of the men and women of God who all took steps of faith. Hebrews 11:1-2 “Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. God was pleased with the people who lived a long time ago because they had faith like this.” Faith is required for salvation just as much as it is required for living a life that it totally pleasing to God.
The Bible presents a life of following God as a life contrary to the world’s system of obtaining wealth, fame, and happiness. Matthew 20:26-28 “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19 “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
What would have happened if Noah didn’t believe what God said concerning the future of the world? He endured ridicule from his neighbors for years. With no rain in sight he kept pressing on to obey God and finish the job he was given. For 140 years he obeyed.
Human reason often goes against what God is asking us to do. To step out in faith may seem scary. We may receive well-meaning advice that goes against what God has asked us to do. But to live a life marked by holiness we must live a life of obedience. Now let’s look at what disobeying God leads to. 1 Kings chapter 11 tells of Jeroboam who choose to make tow golden calves for the people of Israel to worship. 1 Kings 12:26-28 Jeroboam thought to himself, “The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam.” After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” He did not choose to follow what God had said, and as a result God destroyed the alter he had made.
How often do we try to take matters into our own hands and go against God’s will?
1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” Instead of being humble, do we try to get ahead of others?
Romans 12:17-21 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Do we try to get even with those who have wronged us, or do we pray for our enemies and let God take care of the situation?
Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. – Do we consider all sin an offense to God, or do we give in, just a little, when we think it does not matter that much?
Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Do we place holiness at the top of our priority list?
Remember, Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”