There are conditions, of course in our high and holy calling. The Son of God said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and  my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).  The injunction from God is absolute: “Be ye holy;  for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:15–17). Interestingly there are other absolute statements that hinge on our relationship to the Father and Son, for example “I  am the vine…without me ye can do nothing” (John  15:5); “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26);  “Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb  11:6); and, by no means the least, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb 12:14). These statements,  and many others, illustrate the sense of privilege  underscoring our high and holy calling. Again, the  Lord in simple but profound words says, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt  5:8). The opposite is clearly sobering; the impure of heart shall not see God or gain His approval.  The Psalmist asks the pertinent question, “Who shall ascend into the hill of Yahweh? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul  unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psa 24:3,4).  Without that moral purity and personal holiness,  no one shall ascend into the hill of Yahweh, stand  in His holy place or see God!

On face value mankind faces a humanly  impossible situation. God’s intrinsic holiness in  juxtaposition with the ingrained weak, erring  state of mankind. Yet in the marvellous wisdom  of God, He moved to bring salvation, without  compromising His absolute standards of holiness  and righteousness, in the personage of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He who was the highest  expression of God’s character; that “holy thing”  born of Mary; the very “arm of Yahweh” revealed,  set forth the grounds for reconciliation.

Let us behold the one who brought salvation.  He is described as “holy, harmless and undefiled,  separate from sinners” (Heb 7:26). Yet many  recognizing their sinfulness and great need, in  desperation cried out to him, “I know who thou  art, the Holy One of God”. And he lifted their  burdens. Their sin-marred lives were cleansed  and transformed by hearing his gracious words,  or stooping to touch the hem of his garment. He  stopped the mouths of proud Pharisees, lordly  Sadducees and a weak vacillating Roman governor.  His challenge to his adversaries was, “Which of you  convinceth me of sin?” The sinless one perfectly  fulfilled his Father’s will. God was vindicated and  declared to be right in the life and death of one who  was so wonderfully “the Holy One”, “the Just”,  the “Prince of Peace.” Flesh was prone to sin and  rightly related to death. Yet in him alone, Christ  never yielded to the promptings of sin, refusing to  contemplate sin in all of its insidious guises.

We rise up from our remembrance of the Lord  resolved to, the more firmly, tread the path of  sacrifice and personal holiness. To be sanctified  means to make our hearts and lives a dwelling place  for God; our bodies as a living Temple where the  Father and Son can come and abide and be manifest  in devout, consecrated service. Rather graphically,  Brother Dennis Gillett once described the way to  holiness “is first to give up living in the basement,  amid the low things and base things; then a positive  move to the guest room and the open door, because  there is fellowship and friendship; there is light and  purity; there Christ dwells by faith with his next of  kin” (The Genius of Discipleship, p49).

  Light in Darkness

The light of that fellowship and friendship with  Christ radiates out to the world. As light-bearers  we bring light into people’s lives, dispelling the  darkness of ignorance and superstition. We are in  the world with one mission and that is to witness  by preaching and a holy way of life, that attracts  people to enquire of us, not to repel them. That  personal godliness is not static; it is a state of  readiness to speak of our hope in Christ (1 Pet 3:15).  We treasure our status as “a chosen generation,  a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a purchased  people.” We are, by grace, called, elect and chosen.  But this does not mean that we cut ourselves off,  remote, or living like some sect or community in  the desert. The light of God’s Truth must shine  in and out of us, in what we say and in what we  do, so that people around us notice. What do they  notice? What do people see in us? With God’s help,  good works which reveal a God-centred life and a  peace of God that the world seeks in vain. Do they  see therefore a Godly demeanour, high principles,  strength of character and a joyful, positive attitude?  Is a humble, devout disposition evident when we’re  assailed by pressure? When we are faced by the  allurements of temptation, do our contemporaries  see a conscience that firmly believes in the living  God? In a world that knows not God, let our  neighbours and work colleagues see, in us, a ray  of light to guide them to Christ.

Living Sacrifices

Graciously, we have been freed from sin and  become servants to God. Yet the apostle Paul adds  the phrase, “Ye have your fruit unto holiness, and  the end everlasting life” (Rom 6:22). Yes, our life is  Kingdom-orientated and we make every endeavour  to prepare our families for Christ’s coming; but our  life, now, is to be fruitful. We are people who desire  more than anything else to see God’s glory filling  the earth as the waters do the sea. Yet, we need to  let God’s glory shine in our characters today. As we  rejoice in hope of the glory of God, let’s translate  that hope into a daily waiting and watching; using  our time wisely and reaching out to each other so  as to build, enthuse and encourage in our common  faith. We shall take every opportunity to speak  often one to another, enthusiastically noting the  signs of the times; feel the uplift of personal Bible  reading and study, the joys of fellowship, the thrill  of witnessing for the Truth, the blessing of family  life in the Lord, and the joy we feel when we share  the consolations of our Hope with the elderly and  frail whom we love and honour. That kind of fruitful  life can fill our minds, and our time, with Godglorifying,  positive and wholesome activity.

Fleeing and Pursuing

Encouragement for that rich and rewarding service  is to be found by linking up with others of like  precious faith. Paul wisely counsels Timothy to “flee youthful lusts”, whilst at the same time  pursuing after “righteousness, faith, love, peace  with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart”  (2 Tim 2:22). It is important for us to see the Truth  as not being just a set of negative values. Our young  people, in particular, must use their senses to discern  between good and evil, to be alert to danger, not  rationalizing away the danger, and have the courage  to flee from entanglement with the world. That  avoidance of every appearance of evil is important,  but it is only half the story. We determine to avoid  the evil and with the same degree of determination  we pursue those fruits of the Spirit with others who  share allegiance to God out of a pure heart. This is  positive peer pressure. Here is a company of people  who combine their hearts and energies in seeking  God with a pure and contrite heart—pure, heartfelt  devotion and praise. That’s holiness to Yahweh and  He can dwell in their midst.

It is a privilege to be at the memorial table of  our Lord; in a sense, to be on holy ground where  we can worship Yahweh in the beauty of holiness.  We can mix with fellow saints, people who have  gladly come out from the world and all its folly  to fellowship with the called, the chosen and the  faithful. Let us treasure this company more than  any other, for here we mix with people who are the  “temple of God”, who are trying, sincerely trying to  be holy and without blame before God. By mutual  encouragement they, together, walk worthy of their  high and holy calling.