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To be more like Jesus

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

The song keeps playing in my head. “Holiness, holiness is what I long for. Holiness is what I need. Holiness, holiness is what you want from me.” (Vineyard Music)

I’ve always thought holiness was something belonging to God alone. How could it be that holiness is what God requires of us?

    “For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy…You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44, 45)

And Peter repeats the thought with this intriguing statement,

    “…but 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.’” (1 Peter 1:15, 16)

Zecharias, the father of John the baptist, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied that

    “…we …might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.” (Luke 1:74, 75) The pronouns, “we” and “our” refer to us, either through, or grafted to Abraham-- the children of God!

Here are more scriptures calling us to holiness:

    “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” (Romans 6:22)

    “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17)

    “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)

    “…and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24)

    “For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7)

    “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord…” (Hebrews 12:14)

Let’s go back to the early Hebrews. They followed God’s chosen leader, Moses, out of Egypt into the Promised Land. They didn’t do too well at first, and struggled even later. They had to learn to obey and be obedient to all God required of them, from following Moses without murmuring, to the building of the traveling tabernacle to be created for God to dwell in.

God’s instructions were exact and detailed; first in the building of the tabernacle itself; then in the preparation of Aaron as priest who was to come before God and offer sacrifices, bearing the iniquities of the people. Only after he was properly washed and the holy garments placed on him was he anointed and sanctified, could he minister to God as priest. The Lord commanded Moses to place a plate of pure gold on Aaron’s turban engraved with, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD”. (Exodus 28:36)

This priestly act of consecration looked to the coming of Jesus Christ who became the fulfilment of the required sacrifice by His death on the cross. No longer do we need a priest as intermediary, for Jesus Himself is Mediator and we ourselves serve as priests directly before God. He requires us to be consecrated, sanctified, set apart for His purposes.

    “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4, 5)
The Holy Spirit calls us, who are the saved, to obedient submission, a lifestyle of ever-improving reliance on the leading of the Holy Spirit that causes us to be called “holy.” It is a worthwhile endeavor as well as a command. As a branch, abiding in the vine, Jesus grows us and develops our character to be the fully ripened fruit for His service, to be more like Him, HOLINESS IN HIM!

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© Constance Vanides