A Study on the Pursuit of Holiness
As we continue in our pursuit of the holiness of God, there is one thing that we need to acknowledge. This study will reveal it rather quickly.
In Part 1, Why You NEED to Desire More of God, we learned that God desires that we pursue Him. He wants us to have a heart for Him the way David longed for more of God. We also found our way to the throne room in an amazing worship time with God.
Desiring more of God isn’t just spending time listening to worship music. It is reading His word, learning from Him and about Him. Being holy as He is holy is BEING. It is putting into practice what we learn. It is emulating Him in our actions, words, and character.
In this study, we will learn about the holiness of God. We cannot move forward in our walk with God without this one main piece of the puzzle.
When I met my husband, I had one failed marriage behind me. It had been a marriage that, to me, turned from my ‘dream’ marriage to something else almost right away. I couldn’t identify what happened as it was such a subtle shift. I did my best to be a good wife but over the years, things became worse. My marriage failed which meant I failed. I felt like the sinner I am. How could God love me when my vows were broken? How could such a holy God love a sinner like me? It’s because of unmerited grace that I am allowed to stand before Him.
Because I am a sinner, I am aware of the holiness of God. But what does that really mean? How do I respond to His holiness?
Be Holy as I AM Holy
Here is the puzzle piece we need. It’s quite simple to read and hear but do we actually ‘get it?’
Peter quoted from Leviticus 11:44 “…ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves…”
Did you notice anything about this verse?
I’ll tell you what it is not.
It is not a yes/no statement.
Christians, no matter who we are, where we live or our status in life, have been called to live holy and blameless before God. God wants us to desire His presence more than anything else so that we can be like Him in character and our actions.
So, what is the holiness of God?
As far as I am aware, Genesis 17:1 is the first reference of His holiness, And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
Why would God tell Abram to be perfect before Him? It could only be because God is perfect. Let’s see what this word means via Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
Perfect — 8549 (Strong’s Number) – tamiym (taw-meem) — without blemish, complete, full, without spot, undefiled, upright.
So, holiness is being without blemish or spot, being undefiled, but being full and complete. It is perfect.
This is the main puzzle piece. This is what we NEED to acknowledge before we go any further:
God is a HOLY God. No sin is allowed in His presence.
The Holiness of God — His Standard
From Genesis to Revelation we see the holiness of God and His standard of holiness does not allow for anything less to be in His presence. He gave commands, laws, and regulations to the Israelites to live by. Because He is holy, we must be holy. We do not always know what is right to do, but thanks be to God, He does!
As you read the Old Testament and discover His character, you will notice He is consistent in His actions as they are based on His holy character. For example, the hard parts of Scripture like Uzzah, the Kohathite priest who was escorting the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, may seem harsh when you read that God killed him instantly for touching the Ark. It shocks our senses but let’s back up a bit to look at the facts:
- Uzzah was from the clan of Kohathites who were consecrated to take care of the sacred articles in the tabernacle which included the Ark of the Covenant.
- Uzzah knew the do’s and don’ts.
- there were special poles to go in the rings at the base corners of the Ark for transportation as no one was allowed to touch it.
- there was no allowance made for touching the Ark, in other words, no conditions that made it acceptable to touch it.
- David had the Ark placed on an oxcart for transportation. Was it faster to bring it to Jerusalem?
- transporting the Ark by foot was approved by God as He designated special poles for that purpose. No other transportation mode was approved.
- when the oxen stumbled, the Ark slid on the cart. Uzzah reacted by reaching out to stop it from sliding.
- God was angry. Not because the Ark was going to fall off but because Uzzah had been thoroughly trained in how to handle the sacred articles.
- Uzzah broke the rule of “do not touch” and God had no choice but to kill him for touching it. It may seem harsh but sin cannot come into contact with holiness. Uzzah was a sinner.
You can read more about those details in these passages: 1 Chronicles 13:3-4, 7-11; Numbers 4:4, 15, 17-20.
This is a hard thing to understand when we have been taught that God is a God of love. But when you read these verses in context you will see that the holiness of God makes no allowances for sin. His character is always consistent, or, we wouldn’t be able to trust Him.
God is never unfair; He is always just.
So, what does this teach us? We learn that we can trust God to be true, fair and just when He needs to discipline us.
Steps to Becoming Holy
Since God is holy, He commands us to be holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16. How do we do this?
- We acknowledge that God is holy. This is more than just saying words, this is seeing ourselves in the mirror of holiness and that we need to repent for our sins.
- We acknowledge that we are sinners.
- We repent for our sins. With repentance is forgiveness and our filthy rags changed into robes of righteousness before Holy God.
- As saints, we are to be separate from the world. This means we walk the straight and narrow path, not the wide road filled with snares and traps to defeat us. We don’t participate in the world’s activities, we’re careful of what we hear, watch and do.
- We meet with God daily, to be in His presence and to hear from Him as He directs our steps, Psalm 37:23.
- The more often we meet with God and study His Word, our understanding of the Word and our faith in the Word will grow and we will learn to hate what God hates — sin.
- As John, Paul and Peter taught in their epistles, we need to walk in the light as He is in the light. Walk in truth and unity. Simply put, do your best to be Christ-like in your words, deeds and responses.
In pursuing the holiness of God, we need to know who we are pursuing and why. Those questions have been answered in this study. If your heart is searching for a deeper relationship with God, could it be that this is the puzzle piece you were missing?
Maybe you need to acknowledge the holiness of God. I don’t mean it to sound flippant but to take that acknowledgment deeper in your spirit to see God as He really is. If Moses couldn’t see God’s face, then that tells us something about God. And it tells us something about ourselves, too.
Wrapping it Up
Head knowledge is one thing, heart knowledge is something else. When our heart or spirit ‘gets it’, our everyday walk becomes closer to what God wants for us.
It isn’t going to happen overnight. We have habits that will need to be broken. As always the choice is ours but if we really desire to be holy as He is holy, then we will pursue God everyday. And one day, we will look back and see how far we’ve come. Baby steps, one day at a time.
If you missed the first part of this study in A Pursuit of the Holiness of God, you can read it here, Why You NEED to Desire More of God.
Our next study will have us looking at acknowledging that holiness is not a choice. Stay tuned!
I invite your comments on this study. Has it helped you in your walk with God? I’d love to hear your thoughts.