Study 11: Life in Christ
Introduction | Holiness | The Use of Force | Politics | Worldly Pleasures | Bible Study | Prayer | Preaching | Ecclesial Life | The Breaking of Bread | Marriage | Fellowship | Questions
"Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord" (Is. 6:3). The triple emphasis of this verse is one of a multitude of passages which stress the holiness of God. 'Holiness' fundamentally means 'separation' - both separation from unholy things, and separation unto spiritual things. We are asked to be "imitators of God", as His own small children (Eph. 5:1). Therefore "as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (i.e. practical way of life); because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:15,16; Lev. 11:44).
Natural Israel were called out of Egypt by their Red Sea baptism to be "an holy nation" (Ex. 19:6). After our baptism, the members of spiritual Israel likewise receive "an holy calling" (2 Tim. 1:9). After baptism we "become servants to...holiness" (Rom. 6:19,22 and context).
As holiness is such an essential part of God's very being, so it must be a fundamental concern of all those who try to be "imitators of God". If we do this, we will "be partakers of his holiness" when we are granted His nature (Heb. 12:10; 2 Peter 1:4). Therefore without holiness in this life, a believer cannot "see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14) - i.e. he will not be able to actually see God and relate to Him on a personal level in the Kingdom if he has not demonstrated holiness in this life.
To have been given such a great hope means that we should be separate from the world around us which does not have this hope, being separated unto an eternity of sharing God's nature. Our 'separation' should not therefore be something which we feel is being enforced upon us; because of our separation unto this lofty calling and hope, it should only be natural that we feel separated from the things of the world, which is dominated by fleshly principles.
We will now consider some of the things which we should feel separated from, and then in Study 11.3 we will study what we are separated unto in practical terms.