We serve a holy God. He expects nothing less from his children. All Christians, young and old, well-known or unknown, rich or poor…all are called to the same standard of holiness. But over time, Christians have assumed that their level of holiness is based on those around them. God has not called us to be like others around us. He has called us to be like Him. Romans 12:2 “Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.”
“Holiness is nothing less than conformity to the character of God.”
And in His character resides purity and moral perfection. God not only does what is right, He knows the right thing to do, always. We do not always know what we should do. And sometimes we know, but are hesitant to follow through because of our selfish pride, or maybe a sacrifice on our part keeps us from obeying. This is not the case with God. His holiness is perfect freedom from all evil. Consider the verse in 1 John 1:5 which says “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all”. Light and dark referenced here signify good and evil. Read from the Amplified version: 1 John 1:5-7 “This is the message of God’s promised revelation which we have heard from Him and now announce to you, that God is Light, He is holy, His message is truthful, He is perfect in righteousness, and in Him there is no darkness at all – no sin, no wickedness, no imperfection. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness of sin, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we really walk in the Light that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God, as He Himself is in the Light, we have true, unbroken fellowship with one another, He with us, and we with Him, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations.” Here we really get a good picture of God’s holiness verses our sinful nature. Our standard of holiness is “Be holy because I am holy”. And Hebrews 12:14 “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” This is a sobering thought for the Christian who wants their life to be a witness for God. Yes, it’s true that our lives may be the only Bible some will ever read.
So in our quest for holiness, we wrestle with our sin. Some may argue that God tempts us to sin. Not at all. James 1:13-15 “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” Read 1 Samuel 13 for an example of bad choices made as a result of thinking God is leading us to sin.
God hates sin. All sin. And we should too. Psalm 119:104 “I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.” We must think of our sins as doing something which God hates. Genesis 39:9 “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?”
“Hatred of sin as sin, not just as something disquieting or defeating to ourselves, but as displeasing to God, lies at the root of all true holiness.”