Posted by: Heather | September 7, 2010

Holy and Pleasing to God


I Chronicles 16:29  Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name:  bring an offering, and come before him:  worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Pleasing our Savior is the heart’s desire and the spirit’s cry of any of His true followers.  To be accepted and loved by Jesus, the one that would choose to give His own life for us is the greatest gift any human being could receive.   Yet, sometimes we think very little of what it actually means to be holy and pleasing to Him.  And as a result, we often tend to take that gift for granted.

Being holy is often confused with being righteous, although both are not the same.  To be holy in this context means to be set apart or separate.  (Note:  There are some other words that are translated ‘holy’ or ‘holiness’ that can have other meanings.)  Righteousness, on the other hand, means to abide by the laws of God, and make right decisions.    We don’t always act righteously, but by virtue of receiving salvation, we have been made holy (set apart).

Holiness is not something we can do…it’s what God has made us.    We haven’t been chosen by Him because of our greatness or perfection.  According to its definition in this context, we can’t acquire greater holiness (‘set-apartness’) than that which God has already bestowed on us.   Recently, a friend gave an example in a sermon he was preaching.  He spoke of a person that restores classic automobiles.  He might go to the junkyard, and out of a multitude of cars, he would choose one to take home and begin work on.  The chosen car would be stored in the garage until he was ready to work on it.  Simply by being chosen, that car was set apart as something special to its owner.  In his mind’s eye, the buyer could see the potential contained in the final product, even though the outside was worn, rusty, and dented.  As the process of time moved on, he would begin to gut the automobile, and replace old, worn pieces with new parts.  Finally, the appearance would shape up and become exactly what the owner had envisioned all along.

When we receive salvation, we become set apart for God to use.  But, through the process of sanctification, we are cleansed and purified so that we become righteous.  God does the work, but as free moral agents, we must choose to yield to the work He is doing in order to become what we wants us to be.  If we allow Him to mold us into what He desires us to be, we will become more beautiful and pleasing to Him.

The Old Testament sets a precedent of how items were set apart to be used by the Jews.  In Biblical times, soldiers were largely unpaid.  When a battle was won, the soldier’s ‘paycheck’ became anything that was owned by the conquered enemy after he was killed.  This is where we get the saying  ‘To the victor belong the spoils’.  The spoils of the enemy now belonged to the Jews.  However, even though they owned these new items, they were considered unclean because of their previous use by the enemy, and had to be cleansed in the mikveh (ritual washing) in order to be made fit for Jewish use.  Numbers 31:21-23 (NIV) describes the process:

21  Then Eleazar the priest said to the soldiers who had gone into battle, “This is the requirement of the law that the Lord gave Moses:  22  Gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, lead  23  and anything else that can withstand fire must be put through the fire, and then it will be clean. But it must also be purified with the water of cleansing. And whatever cannot withstand fire must be put through that water.

Every item had to be thoroughly washed with water, but all items that could withstand fire also had to be passed through the fire.  When this cleansing was complete, the spoils were now considered fit for the use of the Jewish people.  This is what we call baptism today.  This passage  shows us the precedent for two baptisms: the baptism of water, and the baptism by fire.

Baptism is the representation of our sin being washed away.  Jesus has defeated the enemy and retained us as the spoils of His victory.   The ceremony we call baptism is an outward representation of the work going on in our hearts, and that through salvation, we have become fit for use by the Jew of all Jews!

This ‘setting apart’ is what holiness is.  We are chosen from the billions of people in the world, and separated to be used by God.  As we allow His Word to cleanse and purify us, bringing sanctification with it, our innermost desires begin to turn toward righteousness, and becoming more and more pleasing to Him.

So often, we forget how special and wonderful it is to be holy (set apart), and our view becomes muddled by the troubles of life, and the irritations we endure on a daily basis.  But, it’s those very troubles and irritations that the Lord uses to purify us, and bring out the potential He saw in us when we were worn, rusty, and dented by sin.   Sometimes in our minds, we believe the work we need done is too much.  But if the potential was not there, He would see no need to invest in us.  The picture in His mind’s eye is beautiful, and He patiently works and fine-tunes, looking ahead to the day the finished product ‘purrs like a kitten’.

May God bless you abundantly today!


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Responses

  1. Love the car analogy! When God chooses us, we are set apart for His Honor and His Glory! We will never be more or less set apart. Positionally this is where we stand before God. HOLY! A set apart vessel. Experientially we grow in Grace and begin to manifest outwardly the inward work that is being accomplished in us!


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