How do we as a people who are in relationship with God define Holiness? What exactly is holiness? Determining God's view of holiness is a matter of the heart. Holiness requires grasping the concept that God is living on the inside of you and desires to set you apart and be set apart for Him.
Holiness includes obedience. Obedience to God and what His Word says, shapes our thoughts. Intentional actions build lifestyles that reflect the image of how much God loves the World and desires to be in relationship with idividuals, families, and communities.
"14 As people who obey God, do not let yourselves be shaped by the evil desires you used to have when you were still ignorant. 15 On the contrary, following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; 16 since the Tanakh says, “You are to be holy because I am holy.” - 1 Peter 1:14-16
We have the opportunity to function in the priestly duties of God’s kingdom. There is only one high priest and that place is forever established.
In Jeremiah, we read how the people would not listen. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the desires of their hearts that had strayed from God. The people went backward instead of going forward in their relationship with God. Today, there are no more sacrifices and grace has afforded us the opportunity to move forward in our relationship with God, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
This opportunity of holiness is offered everyday with a clean slate, not to be abused as we see in the book of Jeremiah, but with a repentant heart towards His desires for relationship with us.
In Romans, new meaning is given for understanding about the definition of a living sacrifice. In our world the word sacrifice makes little sense. However, in context of the covenant from the time of Moses through 70 A.D. we find that God is interested in a relationship of love and obedience.
We are alive by God's master design. God lives inside of us and we have been set apart and sealed with this great gift through the Holy Spirit.
The sacrificial system was a type and shadow of something deeper Adonai was pursing with the people. We are given amazing gifts, not to think highly of oneself, but to be used to help others in their understanding of God’s love. If your gift is serving, teaching, leadership, kindness, or another gift, we are to share it gladly with the world.
"I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical “Temple worship” for you. 2 In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.
3 For I am telling every single one of you, through the grace that has been given to me, not to have exaggerated ideas about your own importance. Instead, develop a sober estimate of yourself based on the standard which God has given to each of you, namely, trust. 4 For just as there are many parts that compose one body, but the parts don’t all have the same function; 5 so there are many of us, and in union with the Messiah we comprise one body, with each of us belonging to the others.
6 But we have gifts that differ and which are meant to be used according to the grace that has been given to us. If your gift is prophecy, use it to the extent of your trust; 7 if it is serving, use it to serve; if you are a teacher, use your gift in teaching; 8 if you are a counselor, use your gift to comfort and exhort; if you are someone who gives, do it simply and generously; if you are in a position of leadership, lead with diligence and zeal; if you are one who does acts of mercy, do them cheerfully. - Romans 12:1-8
1 Peter 1:14-16