God has called a people to be set apart for His purposes. In Exodus 19 He tells the Israelites that they shall be a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation”. A kingdom of priests – this says that ALL, not just those designated as priests, are called to holiness and to knowing God and His Word and to teaching others about God. Later Paul explains that those who believe in Jesus “are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light ” (1 Peter 2:9). Take out your highlighter! Here is our purpose in life: to proclaim the excellencies of Him. Sounds easier than it is…our thoughts, words and deeds must proclaim and demonstrate the excellence of our God. This is what it means to glorify Him – reflect His excellence as a mirror reflects an image (accurately). But some days reflecting God’s character is harder than others! Some days we are on the hamster wheel from the minute we get up till we fall asleep and I find that those days it gets harder and harder to reflect God’s character. That’s when I need to take my own advice to my children, “Ask yourself, ‘if you aren’t imitating the character of God, whose character are you imitating???’ ” That’ll wake you right up!
So in Exodus 31, we see God introduce Himself as Jehovah-mekkodishkim, The Lord Who Sanctifies You; in other words, God makes you holy – you cannot do that yourself. The Israelites were given the law so that they would come to know God by obeying Him and also, that by following His way it would set them apart from the world as belonging to Him. Following God’s law would reconcile men to Him by their obedience and the sacrifices offered on their behalf. Later in Hebrews, Paul explains, “…every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10: 11-14). So we are made holy by His offering…Jesus is the Lamb that was slain for our sins. Kay Arthur notes, “holiness was not an option. It was part of the ‘perpetual covenant…a sign between [God] and the sons of Israel. As God sanctified Israel, so He sanctifies the church.” (p. 119) On pages 120-122 Kay Arthur lists several bible verses that explain about how we are sanctified/made holy by God. Here are my responses to those verses:
John 17:15-19: As Christians, we will not be removed form the evil that surrounds us, but we can be safe in the midst of it. We are made holy by the Truth and the Word.
1 Thes 4:3-8: If we are not being made more and more holy, then we are rejecting God
Eph 5:25-27: Christ gave Himself up for us to make us holy
2 Peter 1:4: We must keep remembering His promises in order to escape corruption and partake in the divine
So, our redemption begins with Christ and sanctification is continued by the Holy Spirit as He embodies us and enables us to walk in newness of life and we are set free from the law of sin and death (Rom 6:4; 8:2-4). Here is the prayer I wrote in response to the question: “Jehovah-mekoddishkem has said, ‘Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine’ (Lev. 20:26). What will you say to Him?”
My Prayer: Lord I am Yours. Please sanctify me and set me apart from the things in this world that distract me, make me unclean, and destroy my witness to Your character. Save me from my self and set me on the course to do Your will. Let me bring honor and glory to Your name and bring You joy. Amen!
JustaGirl…just like you!