I've been going to a wonderful ladies Bible study for a few months now. It has been such a blessing to open God's word to us and honestly talk about how it applies to our lives. We've been studying the book of Hebrews, which is a book I've always liked. Through this Bible study it has taken on a new richness to me. Right now we're finishing up chapter 10. One of the verses we read has stayed with me and my thoughts keep coming back to what it has to say. It was verse 10:10, "And what God wants is for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time." This passage is talking about the one time sacrifice of Jesus opposed to the continual sacrifice of animals and that's what the "once for all time" refers to, not necessarily our holiness.
This powerful little verse has caused me to think a lot. Do we as Christians understand that the purpose of Christ's sacrifice was our own personal holiness. I think sometimes we think that becoming a Christian, by accepting his sacrifice, is supposed to make us nice or happy or maybe good. There's nothing wrong with being nice, happy or good, but it's not God's goal for us. As believers we're now intimately connected to a holy God and our own lives should reflect his holiness.
When we become Christians the transaction of holiness happens immediately. God sees Jesus when he looks at us, we are made holy by his blood. But I think sometimes we think that's the end of the story. We forget about the next stage, the transformation of holiness in our lives. We now have to live it out. I'm not good at this. I forget to ask myself if the words I say, the thoughts I think, the way I spend my time, the decisions I make are holy.
The definition of holy in Websters is; 1. set apart for the service of God: sacred. 2. characterized by perfection and transcendence; commanding absolute adoration and reverence. spiritually pure: Godly. That is pretty lofty stuff. I think in the past when I've thought of the command to be holy I've thought, "well I'm human I can't be perfect." But I don't think that's really an option. God has destined us for holiness. Why should he, a perfect God, settle for a dirty, sullied bride? Don't I believe he deserves better? Does my holiness matter to me? Does it reflect on God to the rest of the world?
As I've studied Hebrews and I've gained a better understanding of the intentional sacrifice Jesus made of his own life and the extent that the Father's heart has gone to pursue me and show me a better way, I've realized my salvation can not be taken so lightly. Do we in church realize what we've been set apart to? Do we understand how serious it is to bear the likeness, the holiness, of the living God to the watching world? I confess I don't think I do. Far too often I go about life business as usual. My reaction to hurt feelings from a family member, frustration with my husband, demands from my children, having to wait, being disappointed, etc. is far too often concern for my rights not his glory. My feelings, my time, my money, what an ugly sound.
In Hebrews chapter 5 it says "So even though Jesus was God's Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered." His purpose was to bring glory to his father and holiness to us and that demanded incredible sacrifice on his part. If Jesus accomplished the purchase of our holiness through obedience and he's our example, then I believe obedience in our sufferings is how we live out our holiness. Ouch! What does that look like for me? I'm not exactly sure but I know through the power of His Spirit dwelling in me (which is a whole nother topic) he will make me aware. I can't help but look back with sorrow at my life up 'till this point littered with unholy choices. And I know in the future there will be plenty more. But thank God for his precious word that makes us aware of the truth so that we no longer have to live in darkness! I take such comfort in the fact that a child, such as me, that has been bought at such an incredible price for such an amazing purpose has the Father's constant and loving help and attention!