“Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.’”—Leviticus 19:2
There are many ways in which we cannot be like God; we’ll never possess attributes such as omniscience, omnipotence, or omnipresence. But one way in which we can, in a measure, be like Him, is in the matter of holiness. “You shall be holy, for I am holy” is a scriptural refrain.
In a word, we are to be imitators of God in matters of holiness. Holiness should be the goal of each of us as His children.
Holiness, when applied to God, means that He is “separate” from His creation; He is “wholly other,” unlike anything or anyone that you and I know. When applied to us, it means that we are “separated unto God.” That means that we are separate from worldly values and entertainment; we are increasingly intolerant of sin, and increasingly more dependent on Christ who represents us to the Father and meets God’s ultimate standard of holiness on our behalf.
So while, on the one hand, Jesus is our holiness, we are also to strive in faith to pursue holiness. To put it differently, our holiness is objective (found in Christ), but also subjective (to be lived out in our daily lives). Our part is to pursue the disciplines of the Christian life: daily Scripture reading, prayer, accountability to other believers, private and corporate worship, and in general, vigilance, and of course, both submission and faith.
Jesus said that Satan had no claim on Him (John 14:30). To be holy means that there is no part of us that is held back from God’s control. Holiness means that I’m seeking God to help me to be separate from sin and totally separated to Him and His will. Such holiness is not optional; the Scriptures teach that we are saved in order to become holy!
Let us pray that we will be free from unconquered sin. Let us affirm that Christ is our holiness—and as we look to Him, let us also desire to be as holy as is possible for sinners to be! Let us pray that we will love righteousness (holiness) and hate iniquity.
Let Us Pray
Father, I pray that I might love holiness; show me the deceitfulness of sin that I might turn from it. I rejoice that Jesus is my holiness. Help me to draw from Him all that I need to follow Him in His love of righteousness. Give me a desire to turn from my sin by pursuing the disciplines of the Christian life that keep me connected with You all day long.
And, Lord, I pray for ______ that they might realize that sin initially always appears harmless; that they might realize that a single seed can bring a destructive harvest. Therefore, I pray that they might, first of all, look to Christ as their holiness; then that they would, in obedience, pursue the disciplines of the Christian life, such as Your Word that washes our minds; Your presence that directs our hearts; and Your Son who is our Advocate who stands ready to forgive us.
I pray that we might not settle for living a defeated life. I pray that the intercession of Christ might assure us that an increasing degree of holiness is possible thanks to His grace and power. Give us a love for God that is always accompanied by a love of holiness.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.