So, what’s holiness got to do with it?
God takes holiness seriously.
Preparations had gone on for weeks and weeks and the time had come.
It was the very first of the priestly ministry of Aaron and his two sons, Nadab and Abihu. God had given specific instructions. The young priests and their garments were precisely prepared and consecrated with anointing oil. The tabernacle was complete, consecrated, and anointed. The congregation had gathered.
It was time. But something went terribly wrong.
According to Leviticus 10:1-2 NKJV, “Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censor and put fire in it, put incense on it, and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” WOW!
God is serious about holiness.
Notice that key word, profane. God does not take kindly to anyone profaning what He calls holy. Let’s repeat that: God does not take kindly to anyone profaning what He calls holy. The word profane literally means strange or unauthorized. It is calling common or using in a common way something which God calls holy.
|Image from Pinterest|
God is serious about holiness. The occurrence with Nadab and Abihu has always troubled me, but God is God and He is sovereign. He knew what was best at that moment in time.
In His mercy, we currently live in what many call “the age of grace.” Thankfully, God does not consume us with fire when we profane a thing He has declared to be holy. I would have certainly been zapped a long time ago. But we should be on notice that God sees our infractions yet stands ready to forgive when we repent. With the shedding of His innocent blood, Jesus took the punishment we deserve for all our sins. Thank You, Jesus!
I appreciate the grace period offered at our public library. If I don’t return a book by the due date, I have a few days of grace which allow me to get it there without penalty. If I don’t get the book there before the end of the grace period, then I must pay up. No one knows the day nor the hour when this cosmic grace period we’re living in will end (Matthew 25:13). When it does end, people will need to pay up. It is urgent to be ready for that day (John 12:47).
After establishing the church in Thessalonica, Paul had been away for a while. He was pleased when Timothy brought back a good report of the growing faith and love of the young ministry, despite affliction and persecution. Paul sent a letter of encouragement back to the Thessalonians, encouraging them to “stand fast in the Lord” and exhorting them to remain moral and pure, especially regarding sexual behavior (1 Thessalonians 3:8; 4:1-8).
Paul wrote, “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 NKJV). “For God did not call us to uncleanness, but to holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7-8).
Paul encourages us to be blameless in holiness. In rejecting this call of God, we are rejecting God. I think we’d all agree that without God’s Spirit is us, we cannot be holy, as Paul reminds us at the end of verse 8. Holiness is a minute by minute relationship with our Creator. It is what separates us from the world and worldliness. Holiness is putting on the robe of Christ’s righteousness and standing firm in faith.
Being holy is choosing to be set apart from cares, distractions, ways of our flesh, and the world’s systems. Instead, we need to walk out and be dedicated to the sacred purpose* of God’s divine call on the life of each of us. I like that term, sacred purpose. The purpose God created each of us for is a sacred thing. We can be confident that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9) and the outcome will be a life of fullness in joy, hope, peace, and love—a life that leaves a powerful legacy of eternal value for those following behind.
Yes, the call to holiness is a tall order for any human being but the power of holiness brings cosmic results in terms of Eternity. Can you think of someone who influenced you because they lived out the sacred purpose God called them to? Now, think of someone who is coming behind you—who is being influenced by you as you walk out the sacred purpose—the holiness—to which God has called you.
I often remind myself of James’ words, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16b NKJV). If I want my prayers to avail much, then I need to be mindful of the call to holiness and live righteously. I did not say perfectly. I fall short more than I want to admit but God knows my heart and sees my efforts. And I’m so grateful for the Holy Spirit helping me.
Will you pray with me? Holy Father, You know me well, even my every thought and each beat of my heart. Please help me to live holy before You. Sometimes it’s hard and I falter, doing things I don’t want to do and know I shouldn’t do. But Lord, you always stand ready to forgive me when I come to the place of repentance. Thank You. And thank You for Your Holy Spirit in me, putting a check in my spirit, correcting me, encouraging me, and helping me. You’re so full of love and grace. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.
©Copyright 2019 Connie Wohlford
*sacred purpose – I really like this term. Spirit-Filled Life Bible; Thomas Nelson Publishing; 1991; Word Wealth for Leviticus 19:2; page 171