What follows are my notes for a Bible Study that I taught last night at church.
The term for “holy” or “holiness” occurs around 275 time in the New Testament. Why was this concept so important to the early Christians? And what does this look like in the 21st century? Why is it so important to know what holiness is and what it is not?
We need to remember that writers of the New Testament carried over the idea of holiness from the Old Testament. Many of us at Parkway are currently reading through the Bible. During the past few weeks our readings have spoken much about being holy because God is holy. God had much to the children of Israel about being holy and holiness.
- What did God tell the Israelites about being holy?
- Deuteronomy 6:4-5 – “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.”
- What do these verses look like in everyday life?
The New Testament writers speak of holiness as well. Here are several verses about holiness. We don’t have time to look at all the verses, but will sample a few.
Matthew 22:36-37: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied,” You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment.
9 “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. 12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.
13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.
Here Jesus is praying for Christian to stay holy when He leaves them.
Here are several verses about holiness and that one of the reasons we need to be holy is because:
We have been purchased with the death of Christ.
- 22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. — Romans 6:22
- 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
- 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. — Colossians 1:22
We Are the Temple of God
- 16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
- 14 Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15 What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:
“I will live in them
and walk among them.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers,
and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord.
Don’t touch their filthy things,
and I will welcome you.
18 And I will be your Father,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.” — 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
We Are A Living Sacrifice
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2
Those Who Are Not Holy Will Not See God
14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. – Hebrews 12:14-15
If We Are Holy We Will Want to Serve Each Other
- 1 Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia. – 1 Corinthians 16:1
- 15 You know that Stephanas and his household were the first of the harvest of believers in Greece, and they are spending their lives in service to God’s people. – 1 Corinthians 16:15
This is just a sampling of the verses in the New Testament that speak of holiness. I encourage you to study more about holiness and see what God is speaking to you about holiness. In addition, think intentionally about your body as being something holy (set apart) to God. Ask yourself what God’s body ought to be fed, what it ought to drink, how it should exercise or care for itself, and how your relationship with others.