I want to begin by thanking the Lacombe Express for inviting the Lacombe pastors to share a word of encouragement with the community.
As pastors from various denominations we meet monthly to encourage and pray for each other and we seek to work together to show the love of God to everyone in our community.
This week I wanted to address the question, “Do we sometimes hold a wrong idea about God?” At a recent conference I attended the focus was on knowing more clearly who God is, His holiness, His love, His power, and His presence in Jesus. What really struck me was that we can often lose sight of who God truly is and become uncertain about what He expects of us.
One area where this is especially common is God’s holiness. People generally think that God is holy and we are not. Then when the Bible says that God wants us to be holy we simply dismiss it as an impossibility.
Of course it is true that God is holy. The Bible speaks often about God’s holiness. In fact it is the most common adjective for God in the Bible.
It is the only description of God that gets repeated three times for emphasis both in the Old and New Testaments: “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God almighty.” Isaiah 6:3, Revelations 4:8. God is definitely completely and perfectly holy in all He does.
But it is wrong to completely separate that holiness from ourselves. The Bible in many places calls us to be holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says “Be holy as God is holy.” So there is a connection between God’s holiness and ourselves that challenges us and empowers us to be as holy as we can be.
The perfect holiness of God pushes out like the light of the sun shines out with energy and power to bring light and goodness and even holiness in the lives of sinful people. In Leviticus 20:8 God says, “I am the God who makes you holy.”
God does this first of all in his grace in Jesus Christ by forgiving our sins through Jesus’ death on the cross. When we confess our unholiness, our sin, then we receive God’s grace in Jesus and our sins are forgiven. We are made holy.
Then in thankfulness we seek to live out that holiness in our lives.
What does that look like exactly?
It begins by taking God’s word, the Holy Bible, and letting it direct our faith and speak into our lives God’s holy will.
The Holy Bible by the power of the Holy Spirit works to transform our lives so that we live more and more in obedience to God.
It might include thankfully setting one day a week aside as a Sunday to worship God. To make it a day that is more than a holiday (holy-day). To let it centre our hectic demanding lives so that we are more content and thankful in the confidence that God loves us and provides all things for us every day of the week.
This holy centering on God might then flow into the rest of our week so that we begin to speak in more holy, wholesome ways to one another in love. Our driving habits might improve as we let the holiness of God flow into our hands and feet so we drive legally and gracefully.
In other ways God’s holy will directs our lives so that we are blessed and He is honoured.
Do we ever achieve perfect holiness?
No, not even close. But by God’s grace our lives do grow in love and gracious compassion for those around us and we are given the firm hope that through faith in Jesus we by God’s gracious love we will one day enter the perfect holiness of his eternal presence.
Mike Vandyk is the pastor at Bethel Christian Reformed Church.