Living in pursuit of holiness only life worth living
By D. Clay Perkins
Saturday, May 6, 2017
“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” — 1 Peter 1:15-16 (The Bible, New International Version)
My sons are both extraordinary musicians. Their mother made sure they understood the power of music. Music captures and carries that which cannot be adequately expressed by words alone. “Music,” it is said, “gives wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”
Many songs in scripture remind us of God’s holiness. Modern worship often follows the Biblical pattern of repeating the word “holy” in triplet to describe God, as we sing “Holy, Holy, Holy.” (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8)
In understanding the concept of God’s holiness we find that God is separated from sin. God is pure moral goodness. He is the total opposite of evil. He is Holy. Holiness is being separate from anything unclean.
That is why the 90-year-old apostle John said, “ . . . in Him there is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5)
That is why the Prophet Habakkuk reminds us about God, “Your eyes are too pure to look at evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.” (1:13)
Isaiah, confronted with God’s holiness as he sat on his throne, high and exalted, with seraphs, in smoke, and with the very room shaking, responded, “I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.” (Isaiah 6:5)
How do we even stand a chance? Certainly by our own efforts we do not. But we do. Indeed, who may see God? Holy people may see God. Unholy people will never see God. The writer of Hebrews is clear: “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (12:14)
What we do and how we live matters. One of my favorite songs in God’s word has these words: “ ... Who may ascend to the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart .... ” (Psalm 24:4a) Clean hands, in this song, represent a moral lifestyle. Pure heart represents a soul that has surrendered to Christ.
Now let’s be clear, as my friend and Bible scholar Dr. Lee Fields reminded me, the holiness that saves is an imputed righteousness from Christ. Personal holiness is a result of faith in Jesus as Lord – submitting to his will and faith in Jesus as Christ and relying on his saving sacrifice. Our hands are clean only when they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb of God. But we must grow up and live a life that is worthy.
A very important question is: What difference does God’s holiness make in your life? Are you striving for holiness by living a life in obedience to His will and design? Or are you still living a life in contradiction to the ways of God?
The unyielding pursuit of holiness is the only life worth living, and it’s the only song worth singing.
Dr. D. Clay Perkins is president of Mid-Atlantic Christian University.