Be Ye Holy
Chapter 1: Holiness
– The Foundation of Separation
Man's Response to God's Holiness
holiness of God demands specific responses from men, and
Scripture enunciates these proper responses to the Holy
God intervened in Isaiah's life and confronted the prophet
with His holiness, Isaiah acknowledged his own sinfulness
(Isa. 6:5). His confession of sin resulted in God's gracious
cleansing (Isa. 6:6). Because Isaiah responded to the transcendent
holiness of God in repentance, he experienced the immanent
holiness of God in cleansing.
declaring His intrinsic and transcendent holiness, God assures
humble and contrite men that He dwells with them (Isa. 57:15).
We cannot see the holiness of God without seeing our own
sinfulness. That should bring us to our knees in repentance
David brought the Ark to Jerusalem he alluded to God's holiness.
He sang and instructed the people: "Glory ye in his
holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord"
(I Chron. 16:10). People who have a right relationship with
God can rejoice in His holiness.
song of rejoicing David further instructed the people: "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"
(I Chron. 16:29). Man responds to God's holiness in worship.
He glorifies God by worshipping the beauty, or glory, of
holiness. This truth is taught in several Old Testament
passages (II Chron. 20:21; Pss. 19:2; 96:9). Praise of the
holy God is part of worship.
song reveals that he was thankful to the holy God because
He delivered the nation (I Chron. 16:35). The holiness of
God excites thankfulness in the hearts of His people (Pss.
holiness demands that His people imitate that holiness,
for His holiness is the foundation of holy conduct in men.
Holiness in ceremonial practice, abstaining from sin, and
the practice of moral virtue are all grounded upon the fact
that God is holy (Lev. 11:44; 19:2; 20:7, 26). This truth
carries over to the New Testament and is the basis for holy
living in the Christian's life (I Pet. 1:15-16).
apparent that separation is inherent in the meaning of the
word holiness in the Old Testament. It is also apparent
that separation is part of the meaning of the words for
holiness in the New Testament.
Scriptures declare that God is holy. God's holiness can,
according to Isaiah 57:15, be divided into three aspects.
God is holy intrinsically; that is, His character is holy.
In His holiness God transcends all of His creation. He is
glorious in His holiness. He is to be worshipped in the
beauty, or glory, of His holiness. He is greater than the
creation and is separate from the creation and its sin.
God is also immanent in His holiness. He dwells with contrite
men and has provided His holiness as well as His wisdom,
righteousness, and redemption for them by faith in Jesus.
holiness of God should produce willing response to Him by
the men whom He created. Penitence for sin will produce
joy, worship, gratitude, and a passion to be like Him – to
imitate His holiness. This penitence for sin before a holy
God is also the key to revival. Against the modern-day inclination
to rationalize and justify sinful conduct, God calls men
to humble themselves and be contrite before Him. That spirit
of humility and repentance brings God's gracious work of
revival, which is desperately needed today.
pass this point without a plea to those who have joined
in Harold John Ockenga's "repudiation of separatism."31
Although many professing Christians have accepted this repudiation,
it is a matter of utmost seriousness. We can speak neither
lightly nor irreverently, but Scripture teaches that "God
is a separatist."32
This chapter lays a foundation for this claim; future chapters
will build on that foundation a case for that claim. To
repudiate separatism is to repudiate not a human philosophy
but a teaching of revealed Scripture. That teaching is rooted
deeply in the disciplines of exegetical and systematic theology.
To repudiate separatism is to challenge the authority of
inspired, inerrant Scripture. Those who have repudiated
this teaching must reconsider their position. Men are imperfect
and fallible. The man who embraces separatism may not always
be right in the way he wages his battle, but the truth for
which he stands is right; and it is right because it is
divine, revealed truth.
Be Ye Holy: The Call to Christian Separation. By Fred Moritz. ©1994.
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