There is a holiness God enables us to reach that transcends any of our feeble efforts. Jack Hayford, in his book, Manifest Presence, wrote his commentary in such a way it untangled a vagueness I felt when giving thought to this or whenever I heard the words that I should or I could be made holy. I once determined this to be unachievable, but could not reconcile that idea with my belief that God’s words are inerrant. Hayford brought this lofty goal home with his focus on a verse in 1 Peter.
Questioning why God would give us a bar this high my surmise was humans could never do this. Isn’t this the actions of angels and a small handful of people like Mother Theresa or Billy Graham? Hayford went on to state that he saw holiness as a requirement for many years and like most people, was terrified. Hayford’s exact words in a summary of his chapter entitled “The Beauty of Holiness” is, “……I have come to see that this is not Father God’s heart in these words at all…….In the same way that my heavenly Father says, ‘My life and likeness are in you; but you will be holy, for I am holy’ is not a requirement, it is a promise. The fact that God is holy relates not to our shame and condemnation but to our healing and restoration. As we worship, His image and nature begin to become manifest in our lives. We will be holy because our Father is holy. That is a promise.”
1 Peter 1: 15-16, ‘As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, Be holy, for I am holy’.
Once you understand this as a promise and not a mountaintop, the true character of God emerges. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” We learn here that our relationship with God is at a higher level than His other creations. To be continued………
Genesis 1:26 KJV
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2 thoughts on “Truth or Glare #3”
Great stuff, Steve. I like to think of this 1 Peter “command” like that super-paradoxical verse in Philippians 2: “Work out your own salvation in fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” If you listen solely to the first part of the verse, you end up in absolute despair because how in the world can anybody work out his own salvation (or “be holy like God is holy”)? But knowing it’s God—first to last—who works in us (“He who began a good work in you will complete it”) rounds it all out. Sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit in us—but for our part, we are called to “pursue holiness” alongside receiving all the grace and mercy and forgiveness needed in the pursuit.
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Glad you added the Philippians verse, trips some up.