Tag Archives: Hebrews

3 Great Reasons To Live Holy

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God – 2 Corinthians 7:1

I read a brilliant post from John Bevere the other day, talking about holiness, and how it’s one of the words that has been lost from the church vocabulary in more recent years. There’s been a strong emphasis on the grace and love of God which has ignited throughout the body of Christ – and well overdue I reckon! But 2000 years after this verse was written, nothing has changed when it comes to the way that God wants us to live our lives in relation to the world around us.

The word ‘holy’ comes from the Greek word haigos which means ‘set apart’, ‘sanctified’ or ‘special’. We’ve made it a very spiritual word, which it is, but we all have things in our everyday lives that we treat as holy. There’s items of clothing that we wouldn’t choose to mow the lawns or clean the house in because they’re for special occasions, not for common purposes. Some have cutlery and tableware that’s not used every week, but set apart for special events. When I was a kid one of my teachers used to have a particular stamp that she would put on work that was outstanding, and everyone knew that to get one of those stamps was worth way more than the regular buzzy-bee 🙂 All of these things were ‘set apart’, ‘special’ and ‘sanctified’.

And that’s how God wants us to view our lives. Everywhere we go, in everything we do, we are on a unique and glorious mission. God has not fashioned our lives to be whittled away on pointless pursuits, or to be caught up with what the world around us is obsessed with. It doesn’t mean that we don’t serve or we live life with some selfish sense of entitlement. But like undercover agents – we are in this world but not of it. We set ourselves apart to stay true to the call we’ve been given.

I don’t think many Christians set out to not live their lives in a holy way before God, but perhaps it’s just more that it can slip down the priority list unless we can see it’s power.

This is why Paul gives us three great reasons in this verse to live holy:

1) Live Holy Because Of What Has Been Promised To You

The verse starts with a ‘therefore’, and as Derek Prince says, whenever you see a ‘therefore’ find out what it’s ‘there for’. The previous chapter ends with some pretty cool things that God is planning on doing:

  • “I will live and walk among you – I will be your God, and you will be my people”
  • “I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters”

God is really serious about his relationship with us. So if our heart response to God is ‘Lord, I want you to be near, I want to live as your son or daughter’ then surely our life response needs to be one where we put Him first, and leave behind old ways and dead works in order to walk in the promise He’s given.

So we don’t live holy to try to get a blessing from God, we live holy BECAUSE He has blessed us and given us some incredible promises. Why would we settle for anything less?!

2) Live Holy Because The Alternative Wrecks Your Life

I’m not going to fix the car in my good suit and tie, not only because it’s not practical but I also don’t want my good suit stained with oil and grease. Sure I could do it and get it cleaned up, but why let it get dirty in the first place?

Sin contaminates our spirits. Living in ways that are at odds to what God has commanded us isn’t just bad for our relationship with Him, it’s bad for US. If I lose my temper with someone, then when I come to God and ask for forgiveness He will cleanse me of the sin and give me grace for next time. But an impact has been made on the relationship that is now going to need to be worked out.

The blood of Jesus remains powerful to cleanse us from all transgressions, but sin nearly always carries some form of consequence our lives. So we live holy not just because of God’s great promises and intention for us, but also because the alternative just isn’t worth it!

3) Live Holy Out Of Awe And Wonder Of Who God Is

The verse ends with ‘perfecting holiness out of reverence for God’. I love that word ‘perfecting’… it means that we’re still on a journey with this one and it’s not going to happen overnight. But we’re intent on getting to our destination too.

The promise that God has given us is that he wants to walk close to us, and He wants us to be His sons and daughters. How differently would we live our lives if we knew that every moment of every day, the fullness of the presence of God was with us? If Jesus physically turned up one morning and said ‘I’m going to spend the day with you’ – how many things would we do and not do differently? We would make changes to our lives out of love and respect for Him. We would be committed to ‘perfecting holiness out of reverence for God’.

The truth is – He DOES walk with us! He’s closer than we could ever believe. But in order to see His power released, we need to get off the world’s rhythm, and live in time with His heartbeat.

Finally…

“without holiness no one will see the Lord” – Hebrews 12:14

Nearly every time I’ve read that verse, I’ve interpreted it that I won’t get to see God unless I live holy. Certainly there’s truth in that – but I would argue that it’s not about me getting holy to get close to God – because He’s the only one who can make me holy in the first place! Trying to be holy without God’s help is simply dead religion.

I think it’s more that there’s breakthroughs, open doors, opportunities and moments that God wants to bring me into – but without a life that’s actively pursuing Him… I’m likely to miss what He’s wanting to do. Without a ‘holy’ (set apart) life, I won’t ‘see the Lord’ (where He’s going and what He’s doing).

But there’s something else too. I think this verse is about how Christians live in the world around us. When we blend in and just do what the world does, no one sees God. They just see more of the same. But when we live differently, when we live holy, when we make the decisions to do some things and not others because of our relationship with God… then they see something extraordinary. The world around us catches a glimpse of heaven.

That’s absolutely motivation for me to live holy!

A Better Voice

Hebrews 12:24 – to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel.

When Cain killed his brother Abel in Genesis 4, Abel’s blood cried out to the Lord from the ground.  The brutal murder required justice, and so Abel’s blood cried out for vengeance.

In contrast, the blood of Christ cries out to the Lord for mercy.  On the cross, Jesus said ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’.

In this way, Christ’s blood ‘speaks’ better than the blood of Abel.

Receiving The Promise

Hebrews 10:36 – For you need endurance so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise.

Having done the will of God is only the first step.  The second step is endurance in continuing on in his will.  This is how we receive the promise. 

Faith that has not been tested, is only a beginning faith.  For faith to be perfected, it must go through testing. 

There are many times when we say ‘God, I’ve done it – I’ve done what you asked me to do – why haven’t you delivered me yet?’  But when we understand that part of the perfecting of our faith is the developing of endurance, we start to see why difficulties and tests are all part of us receiving the promise!

So if you’re facing opposition today in those things that God has spoken to you about – HOLD ON!  Let your faith pass through endurance, and then you will receive that which has been promised!

Being A Stirrer!

Hebrews 10:24 – Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good works,

It’s worth taking time to think about how we can encourage and provoke other people to love and good works.  What can we say and do that will help motivate the people around us – what will our part be? 

The word means to ‘observe fully’ – to pay attention to and to muse on.  Our lives can either have a positive or a negative effect on the ones close to us.  We should be ‘sampling’ the impact of our lives on others and ensuring that we continue on with those things that have a positive, provoking effect on others to love and good works. 

Using The Grace Of God

Hebrews 12:15 – "Be careful, lest there be any man who falls short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby the many be defiled;"

This verse warns us to take care – lest there be any one among us who falls short of (or lacks) the grace of God. 

We can fall short of God’s grace by being aware of it, but not receiving it.  It’s not enough just to know God’s forgiveness – you have to take it, and enter it for it to work it’s power within you. 

When a person persists against entering into God’s grace, yet continues to be around those who are entering in – it’s very easy for them to become bitter and allow that bitterness to take root. 

The Lord had already made this clear to Israel in Deuteronomy 29:18 – ‘lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away this day from Yahweh our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood’.

What this means for us is that we must make every effort to ensure that those around us (particularly those in the church) actually take hold of the grace of God which will turn their hearts back to Him.  In this way we’ll prevent roots of bitterness that grow up among us and cause trouble and division.   

And let’s watch ourselves too!  Remember God’s mercy towards us today – we deserved nothing from His hand, yet He has poured out His riches upon us.  Let that be our motivation!