Being Holy As He Is Holy
by Lonnie Lane
If we are to truly represent Yeshua to the world, should we not be holy as He is holy “because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (Peter 1:16). Just as mankind was originally created in God’s image, for those of us who are born again, we are to represent Yeshua’s “image” to the world. Are we not His body, with Yeshua as the Head over His body? I don’t believe this is just a metaphor but a spiritual reality. We are to be as connected to Him as your head is to your body, and as your brain gives impulses and “commands” to your body, so we as His body are meant to be that responsive to Him. “He is…head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Col 1:18)
I believe when He returns there will be no disconnect between the Head and His body. That is what is taking place today, the aligning of Yeshua’s body with His headship. If you look at a time-line of what God has been restoring to the Body, especially since Israel has been back in the Land, you will see an intentionality on the Lord’s part toward full restoration. So where are we now and how can each of us find our place?
As I was thinking this through this morning, I felt led to read Ezekiel 37. It was about dry bones coming to life: “Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. I will… put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord‘” (37: 6-8).
The word for breath in Hebrew as you may know is ruach. It’s also the same word for wind. When God breathed life into Adam, it was as a small wind blowing into him — same word, same essence. As a result of God breathing into him, “Adam was made a living soul” (1 Cor 15:45a) and was imbued with God’s holiness and glory, having been created in His image. So when God says He will cause breath (ruach) to enter these lifeless bones, He is saying that “life” will result. Only God can produce life and the life that is produced by his Ruach will be holy, or godly (e.g., God-like). That sounds like being “born again” (John 3:3, 7), doesn’t it?
When we come to trust the Lord with our lives and yield to His Lordship, we are born again, and His Ruach
“It’s not business as usual when God’s Spirit comes to dwell within our spirits.”
enters into us and we become godly, set apart from the world, unto Him. Our lives change when that happens. It’s not business as usual when God’s Spirit comes to dwell within our spirits. We no longer live our lives only for ourselves and by our own strength. Our souls become alive to God, whereas previously they weren’t. We may have thought about God and even been involved in some kind of religion, but we could not have been thinking God’s thoughts without God’s Spirit within us. His Spirit only comes into us when our sin is removed through Yeshua’s atoning sacrifice on our behalf and our repentance.
That’s why religion, which is mans’ attempt to do things to make him holy, never brings the attempted results. Because only God’s Holy Spirit working within us can make us holy and will bring about a holy lifestyle. We can try in our soul-power, but only His Spirit even knows what true holiness really is. Our own efforts, I’m sorry to tell you if you’ve been working to be holy, are futile. However, and this is why the Gospel is GOOD NEWS, the Spirit of God indwelling our own spirits will accomplish in us what only He can do.
In Hebrew, “Holy Spirit” would be said as Ruach haKodesh. Literally in English it would be Spirit (of) the Holiness. We are so accustomed to using the title “Holy Spirit” that we may have become desensitized to the very essence and nature of God’s Spirit as being holy beyond everything else that He is. It is God’s holiness that comes to reside in us by His Spirit when we become children of God, making us holy as He is holy, just as He said to Israel, “Be holy for I am holy.”
Do you think of yourself as holy? Or are you more aware of where you think you’re not holy? Perhaps you don’t even think of yourself in connection with being holy. Perhaps you think of holiness as being God’s domain. The Bible uses the word “holy” 583 times, with 91 of them referring to the Holy Spirit. A number of those verses have to do with us being holy, not just God. Do you think holiness is an issue with God He wants us to be aware of? I’d say so.
The word “holy” in Hebrew is kadesh and applies to a consecrated, hallowed or sacred person, place or thing. It can mean a most holy day and can also apply to a saint or a sanctuary. You then, dear believer in Yeshua, are a consecrated, set apart for God, sacred person, if you have committed your life to Him. The root word for holy means to be or make clean, ceremonially or morally; to be wholly sanctified; to be or keep holy; to purify. Ceremonially clean is the requirement of cleanliness in order to come near God’s presence. Yeshua had made us clean in order that we may come near to God’s presence. Have you ever sensed God’s presence, or have you experienced being able to draw near to Him and knew He was with you? That’s only because you have been made holy; you have been purified by Yeshua’s blood so that you are accepted into God’s holy presence. Something to be grateful for!
The word holy first appears when Moses encounters God in a burning bush and He tells Moses, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5). Not only did Moses’ life change when he stepped onto that holy ground, but history changed. Your life and mine are still affected by the holiness Moses encountered that day. When we partake of God’s holiness, we are linked in the Spirit to all else that is holy or has been (in the earthly sense), for God is eternal. That’s why His Word is a very present word to us today. It’s why the holiness of God that Moses encountered is still relevant and impacting to us today.
God later told Israel, “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (19:6). What a binding identity! What a cause for mutually protecting that calling. How that awareness would serve to encourage one another to live so as not to mar that holiness. Whenever Israel walked in holiness, God was with them. Wherever God’s presence is manifested, so is His holiness. God made clear to Israel, “I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean… for I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.‘” (Leviticus 11:43-45).
God gives no other reason for Israel to be holy than that He is holy and they, being His own chosen ones, are to be like Him — holy. In the same way, you have been made holy if you have made Yeshua Lord of your life. You’re not trying to be, He has made you holy in His sight. If you have asked Him into your life and if you have acknowledged your sin to Him and received His forgiveness, then you are included among those who can say with assurance: “He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). So which camp do you see yourself in? Are you still struggling as if you were still in the domain of darkness and trying to fight your way out? There’s really only one way out. You can really only believe your way out by accepting what God is offering to you.
There’s an expression that says, “As a man thinks of himself, so is he.” The way we see ourselves is pretty much how we act and live our lives. Often how we see ourselves is derived from the way we were loved or not loved as a child. Withhold love and acceptance and tell a child over and over he’ll amount to nothing and he’s only a failure and likely that prophesy will come true. But tell him how you believe in him and he’s wonderful and loveable, and pretty good chance he will become that kind of an adult and that kind of a parent. What we tell ourselves — our self-talk — has the same kind of effect. If we see ourselves as “a sinner saved by grace,” (a phrase I’ve not been able to find in the Bible, by the way), we’re likely to continually wrestle with the sinner part, while being grateful for the grace which we may see as being repeatedly forgiven while we are even tolerated by God as we continue to struggle to get ourselves to a place of being holy enough.
Now, for those of you who just went into sadness mode because you were on the lacking side of that parental equation, whether it’s what you received or didn’t from your parents or what you gave out to your own kids, the GOOD NEWS is that it’s not the end of the story. “From now on we recognize no one according to the flesh…. Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:16, 17). You are made new, you have been made holy by the Blood of Yeshua that paid for all your sins. It’s now for you to believe what is already true!
We receive nothing from God except by faith. But our faith doesn’t change what God has made true and real. It only allows us entrance into experiencing it. Whether you “feel” like it or not, “He (God) made Him (Yeshua) who
“We receive nothing from God except by faith.”
knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Being counted as righteous in God’s sight makes us as righteous as Yeshua, because by faith we are “in” Him, just as He is “in” us, that is, in our spirits by His Spirit. This kind of righteous life is an everlasting life. Since there is no longer any sin to be counted as death-worthy, which is to say separation from God-worthy, (because death is first separation from God), even when our physical bodies die, our inner most being, our spirit — the person we really are — will live eternally with God. We have eternal life not when we die physically, but when we become His. The same way we receive His Spirit, since His Spirit is eternal, we receive His eternal (quality of) life at the same time. And His eternal life is the life abundant (John 10:10) which we enter into when we begin to walk out our lives with Him, according to His ways, and in His love and acceptance — and His holiness. Eternal life is not about how long we have life, but the quality of the life we experience.
When God spoke to Ezekiel and told him to prophesy to the dry bones, He said to Ezekiel, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.” (37:9, 10).
When God had Ezekiel prophesy to these dry bones, the bones were the whole house of Israel. “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished We are completely cut off” (37:11). There have been times in Israel’s history when they were without a homeland and without hope, even fearing extinction. But God breathed on them and despite all odds in the natural, He brought them back to the land He promised them and breathed upon not only the people but the desolate land and brought Israel back to a thriving life, with, I might add, despite its diminutive size, one of the most powerful armies in the world, by God’s grace.
But there’s another army that God is breathing on right now. One hundred years ago, the church was far from being “an exceedingly great army.” Yes, there were millions of believers around the world but the power and sense of experiencing spiritual warfare wasn’t part of the mindset of God’s people as it is today. Today, anyone who is God’s knows we’re in a war, and also knows that righteousness, or holiness, is being challenged as never before. The enemies of Israel call their war a Jhihad — a holy war. That is what’s really taking place today. Whether its about the land of Israel, or about morality, or religion, or even about freedom, in its essential nature, all the conflicts going on in the earth today are about a war of holiness.
One of the most significant challenges we as believers in Yeshua face today is not to try and be holy, but to see ourselves entirely encased in God’s holiness knowing that we are already holy as He is holy. Because of the nature of the holy wars going on around us, there will be a pressure to perform and conform to an accepted form of religion that will require certain participation but will not allow for the headship of Yeshua or the power of His Spirit in our lives. That’s why it’s so important that we learn how to walk by His Spirit now and not be lured into a works mentality that denies His headship, because essentially that’s what takes place when we loose the sense of being “holy as He is holy.”
You know how Kingdom things are upside down from things in the natural, like in order to get in the Kingdom of God, give away and you’ll receive. Or, “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,” (Luke 9:24). Well, when we give up trying to be holy, and keep our eyes on Him and fall in love with His holiness, we will find ourselves enjoying “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). True, we must repent, but upon accepting the forgiveness and rejoicing in His imputed holiness, a great burden is lifted off of our shoulders, because it’s now on His shoulders. We’re just “following” Him, we’re walking with Him who always walks in holiness. The oppression and guilt and sense of failure that many of us have around our necks like chains can be lifted off oh so easily when we accept that we have been made righteous and holy in Yeshua. The Lord says to you, “Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; Loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion” (Isaiah 52:2). We can loose ourselves from the chains that weigh us down by repenting where we may need to and turning to God and His holiness, leaning entirely on Him to keep us in His holiness.
What is the qualification for having His holiness? Believing it. You are made holy by faith, “even the righteousness of God through faith in Yeshua Messiah for all those who believe” (Romans 3:22). You may have lived a life of never having “made it,” or of missing the mark your whole life. But the beauty of life in Yeshua is that there’s no mark to gain or miss. Sin is seen as missing the mark, the mark of God’s standard of righteousness. But Yeshua hit the mark for you. He “made it” for you and now God offers His holiness to you on the basis not of what we do, but of what He did.
It was the glory of God that covered Adam in his sinless state. When he lost it due to sin, he suddenly knew something had radically changed and he was naked. The nakedness was because he no longer had God’s covering of glory. Sin removed it from Him when he was no longer holy. Holiness and glory are connected, just as holiness and love are irrevocably connected. Holiness without love isn’t holiness. But, as Yeshua died to make us acceptable as holy to God who is holy, so he also restored Adam’s glory to us. Don’t believe me? Listen to what Yeshua prayed at His last Passover supper with His disciples: “”The glory which You have given Me I have given to them (that includes you), that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (John 17:22, 23, my emphasis). We can be one because we love each other in the glory and holiness of God.
It is possible that the divisions that exist (denominations being among them) and even wars that have been fought within Christianity have had to do with 1) a lack of love as Yeshua loved, and 2) a false idea of what holiness is so that it had to do with performance and conformity to an idea of what holiness is. It boasted of being exclusive rather than extending the inclusivity of God’s loving holiness that reaches out to the worst of sinners and welcomes them, and even makes a way for them by dying for them. Them, incidentally, is each one of us.
God loved Yeshua as His holy Son. And He loves you as His holy child. Yeshua lived a holy life, secure in God’s love. And so can you. You needn’t try and earn it anymore. It only brings stress and futility and no matter how hard you try, your salvation is not contingent upon anything except receiving what He has done for us as yours personally. You’re already His child along with all the blessings that come with it. “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses (sins), according to the riches of His grace” (Eph 1:5-7).
There is no greater weapon that you can wield against the enemy than God’s grace and your security in God’s love because of His imputed righteousness. When you are secure in His love, you know you will be protected. You need not fear your weakness because “in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness” (Rom 8:26). Are you faced with situations that you can’t find your way out of, or seem impossible even for God? “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (:28). Does it seem to you that there’s no way that God can make you holy like Yeshua. Maybe you even think, “He’s forgetting what I’ve done.” Well, nothing is a surprise to God. He’s already known you before the foundation of the world and He’s committed that “for those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (:29).
It’s a calling, His calling. We think we chose Him, but the truth is He went after us to bring us to Himself. If we’re
“Let’s humbly accept what Yeshua has done for us and stop trying to become what He’s already made us.”
His, we were “predestined” before the foundation of the world. And those whom He predestined, “He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified” (:30). Glorified means made godly, even holy unto God. So let’s redefine ourselves. Let’s humbly accept what Yeshua has done for us and stop trying to become what He’s already made us. Then see what that does to change how you relate to the Lord. Come to Him as one who is holy as He is holy, by His great grace, because of His love for you. Yes, repent if you need to because we do live in a fallen world, but come immediately to His forgiving blood and return to walking in His holiness.
You will come with boldness as never before to His throne, not arrogantly or demandingly. You’ll come with a contrite heart, humbly yet confident of His love, grateful beyond measure and in wonder that He has made even you holy. (See Luke 7:47). When you know that, you can rest, peacefully confident that nothing can remove you from His love. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (:31). He is not against you. You are not trying to “make it” to His acceptance of you. It’s already done when God accepted Yeshua’s atonement.
When you come to that place, the last thing in the world you will ever want to do is anything to displease Him. Religion says we must be constantly aware of your sin nature and what you must guard against doing. But that’s being sin conscious and I don’t believe it pleases God. Trusting all that He has done all for you and loving Him for it with a grateful heart — that’s pleasing to Him. He didn’t go through all that so you would fret and struggle and be in anguish that you might sin or that you don’t “feel” righteous. There’s no faith in that with which to please Him because the power is not viewed as His power to keep you “in Him”, but the perceived higher power is viewed as evil power to keep you “from Him”. It’s religious and a false humility because it’s all about you and not really about Him. Yes, we want to live so as to never defile the holiness of God and His goodness toward us, but we rest in a Sabbath rest, that He has done all the work so that “we have peace with God through faith” (Romans 5:1).
Lord, it is with deep humility and gratitude that we accept your abounding grace toward us. We accept that You have made us holy because Yeshua took our unholiness upon Himself in our place. Help us, Lord, to always live out of Your life within us, in the holiness You’ve imparted to us, for Your glory. In Yeshua’s name. Amen.
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Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible Copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved. Used by permission.