August 15, 1993
What do we mean by holy? What is
the standard held up for God's people?
The NT word holy is used to describe Christ as the Holy one of God, Mr 1:24; the Holy Ghost, Lk 1:16; the holy angels, Acts 10:22; other believers, saints, 1 Cor 1:2.
The text presents us with an obvious standard for our life: the Holiness of God. Thus, Peter defines holiness as Godlikeness. And we see from Peter's words in vs. 13, 14, that Peter means godlike in our thoughts, desires and in our actions: in all manner of conversation...
But holiness is not some abstract idea. Paul in, 1 Cor 1:2, uses saintsand sanctified together: Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called [to be] saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: sanctified, hallow, be holy, to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow, to separate from profane things and dedicate to God, to consecrate, to purify.
Clearly, holy, when used as a command toward the people of God, refers to their separation from the profane things of the world, flesh and the devil. If refers to being dedicated to the Lord and being like God in our thoughts, desires and in our actions.
The command for holiness is not unique to Peter:
Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Eph 1:4-6 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
We see then that this command for holiness comes from Christ Himself, Paul and Peter. Furthermore, it is implied throughout the NT by every author. As is every doctrine of the NT, the doctrine of holiness is not new: it is firmly grounded in the OT. As we can see, Peter quotes the OT, so if we trace back his quote, we will see God's definition of holiness:
OT holiness as referred to by Christ, Paul and Peter:
Be ye holy; for I am holy is given at least 4 times in the law: Three of those times are within 2 chapters: Lev 19:2; 20:7 20:26. Therefore, we could call these two chapters of Lev. "God's definition of holiness." We cannot say that these laws of holiness are not for the NT church because the Spirit of God quotes from the midst of them when He commanded, Be ye holy, for I am holy.
So our best bet is to simply go through them and apply these laws of holiness. I will lump many of these laws together for times sake:
Lev 19:4, idolatry forbidden. What do we place before obedience to the Lord?
V. 5, even our free-will work for the Lord must be done according to His law.
Vs. 9 & 10, this law of holiness requires that we fulfill our God given duty to the poor and needy.
Vs. 11, 13, 35 & 36: deal fairly, honestly and godly with one another. Pay our bills.
V. 12, live what we profess. This could also be stretched to apply tosecond hand cussing.
Vs. 14-18, don't cause the weaker brother to stumble don't respect persons avoid gossip don't hate, hold hard feelings and don't seek vengeance.
V. 19, clearly says to avoid mingled fibers in our clothing.
Vs. 23-25, covers the proper tithe:
Le 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, [whether] of the seed of the land, [or] of the fruit of the tree, [is] the LORD'S: [it is] holy unto the LORD.
V. 26, 31, don't get caught up in pagan customs; stay away from astrology, and all manners of the occult.
V. 30, clearly commands to keep the sabbath and not to forsake assembling together.
Ex 16:23 And he said unto them, This [is that] which the LORD hath said, To morrow [is] the rest of the holy sabbath unto the LORD: bake [that] which ye will bake [to day], and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.
V. 32, honour the elderly
Chapter 20 is very strong:
Vs. 1-5 absolutely forbids, under the penalty of death, parents from giving their children to the state (ancient Molech worship was honoring the State as sovereign). When parents turn over their children to the state, they are signing their own death warrant.
V. 9 respect parents.
V. 13, sodomy condemned. Note that the penalty for giving children to the state is the same as the penalty against sodomy, adultery and bestiality: death.
Vs. 15, 16 prohibits bestiality. Both of these chapters strongly condemn immorality of all kinds.
Notice 20:18, commends husbands to stay away from their wives "at that time of the month." The death penalty is not enforced here, but God does hold it serious enough to remove the violators from the congregation of the Lord.
Vs. 11, 17, 18, 19, 20 & 21, deals with nakedness. The word of God defines nakedness in Exodus 28:42, from the loins even unto the thighs. This nakedness is on a man; therefore, the same definition of nakednessapplies to women also: FROM THE LOINS EVEN UNTO THE THIGHS.
The world defines nakedness far from what the Lord does, but the Lord gives us His law of holiness, and defines nakedness as the thighs. When the thighs show, God says that our nakedness shows.
Notice this also: the passage in ch 20 forbids revealing nakedness to those of the immediate family. In other words, it is very important as to what family members ware in "THE PRIVACY OF THIER OWN HOMES."
The general principle of dress at all times for both men and women isMODEST, 1 Tim 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
v 23 commands God's people to stay away from pagan practices.
V. 25, I made everyone mad on nakedness, so let me make it complete:
This law of holiness is the dietary laws:
We did not look at the fourth OT be ye holy; for I am holy: that Peter refers to. It is found in Lev. 11:44, and comes at the close of the dietary laws.
The Lord did not give the dietary laws just to hear Himself speak. Notice Deut 14... This chapter regives the dietary laws, and notice how the Lord opens the laws, v. 2. Thus, the dietary laws are just as much laws of holiness for His people as are the rest of the laws in Lev. 19 & 20.
The Lord opens (in Deut 14) and closes (in Lev 11) His dietary laws withbe ye holy; for I am holy. Thus, these laws dividing between clean and unclean meats are just as much the laws of holiness as are the laws concerning immorality, statism, proper respect of parents and elderly, paying our bills and being honest in our dealings.
One last point: 1 Th 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. Don't even look at evil.
Ex 23:7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked.
Job 31:1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?
Holiness requires evil be kept from our eyes.
The Lord does not give us a list to chose from, but all of His commandments must be accepted as His laws of holiness, or all must be rejected.
Close with Ps 15:1-5.