Your View of the Holiness of God Matters in Ministry

God has saved us and called us to a holy life . . . (2 Tim. 1:9)

Your view of the holiness of God is essential to perspective in ministry.

We often think of the holiness of God as something that should instill fear as His holiness defines His expectations for us –“just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1 Pet. 1:15-16).  Stepping outside of those boundaries leads to spiritual death for the unbeliever because “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23) and “without holiness, no one will see God” (Heb. 12:14).  Lack of holiness in the believer can lead to discipline as “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Heb. 12:10-11).

We could get to feeling like we are in trouble.  No matter how many years we have been a Christian and have served the Lord, we will fall short.  And, the people we work with and serve will not be holy.  “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom. 3:10).  Your experience has probably confirmed this truth.

Yet, God’s holiness is as much of a blessing to us as His love and grace.  Through it we find perspective to endure ministry hardships and difficult people.    Here’s why:

  1. God’s holiness can be a source of hope and encouragement.

    Because of God’s holiness, even on the worst ministry day, we can know that there is something better.  This sin ridden world will one day be consumed by His holy fire and a new heaven and earth will be ushered in (2 Peter 3:10-13).   Knowing this gives us reason to join with the heavenly creatures in Revelations 4:8 saying “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”

  2. God’s holiness can be a tool that helps us be more understanding of those we serve.

    God’s holiness points us to His grace as He “saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time” (2 Tim. 1:9).  Realizing that only by His grace will we be holy, we should be more patient and understanding of those with whom and to whom we minister.

Easter Points to the Holiness & Righteousness of God

. . . Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. (1 Cor. 15:3-4)

 

Easter reminds us that God is holy and righteous.  At the root of God sending Jesus to die on the cross is His holiness.

“The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).  Because of sin, not only did physical death become a reality but also eternal, spiritual death … separation from God.

Why? — Because He is a holy and righteous God who cannot stand in the presence of sin.  Hebrews 12:14 says “without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

The sin problem must be taken care of in order for a holy and righteous God to enter into a relationship with people.  That’s what happened at Easter.

Jesus died and took our sin upon Him so that we could be made pure.  When God looks at those who have accepted His Son, He no longer sees their sin but rather Jesus’ blood which covers them.

“But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight.” (Col. 1:22)

“And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  (Heb. 10:10)

So, what does Easter teach us about holiness & righteousness?

  1. Easter reinforces that keeping God’s laws cannot make us holy. “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin” (Rom. 3:20).  As verse 27 says, “Where, then, is boasting?”
  2. Easter reminds us that we are all in the same lost condition and all in the same need of a Savior.  “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:22-23).  To think we gain God’s favor over someone else because we are “better” than them is pure foolishness.  Apart from Jesus, we would all get F’s on the test, even if someone seemed to do better than another.
  3. Easter emphasizes that apart from a work of God in our lives to impute that holiness on us, we will always miss the mark.  “There is no one righteous, not even one … This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. . . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:11-23).  How absurd for us to think we can ever live up to the just demands of a holy God in and of ourselves.

When we trust in the work Jesus did on the cross, we stand righteous and holy in Him. We are thus called to “to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Tim. 1:9).    The state of our lives does not always match our standing.  What will it take for us to be holy as He is holy?  Perhaps Colossians 3:12 provides a clue:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  (Col. 3:12)

Notice the phrase “clothe yourselves.”  The idea in these phrases is that we are putting on something that is not a natural part of us.  The garmet of righteousness we put on is His. The key to being holy, then, begins with realizing our need for Him to work in and through us.