1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
This has been an awesome study for me. I hope it has been for you also. Today’s blog is on “a holy nation”. Holiness is not a feel good topic for most people, but after today I hope you have a richer understanding of it.
Holiness has taken on such a negative connotation in today’s society. I can still remember being in high school and having a classmate challenge my holiness. She wore her dresses long, no make up, and she fasted. In theory. But when she got to school, she would change into pants, put on some make up, and if she was fasting, she would watch the clock so that she could eat. (If she was truly fasting, since she wasn’t true to anything else.) But this was holiness being misunderstood and therefore an unpleasant experience for her.
The first mention of the word holy in the Bible just happens to be the verse that Peter is quoting from in the above scripture. It is found in Exodus 19:16- “And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” The word “holy” denotes that which is devoted or dedicated to a particular purpose, such as oil for anointing, water for purifying, objects in a temple. It also means holy by your relationship to the “holy” God, according to the Vine’s Dictionary.
Scriptures repeatedly tell us of the holiness of God. In Isaiah 57:17, the prophet wrote that His name is Holy. Samuel wrote in 1 Samuel 2:2 that there is none as holy as the Lord. The angels surround the throne and cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord!” I need a whole blog on the holiness of God.
So according to the Hebrew word, “qados”, which is translated to mean holy we see that holiness has absolutely nothing to do with the way we dress, the make-up we do or don’t wear, or any external thing. We are holy because we are dedicated to the service of the Lord as kingly priests; and because of our relationship with the Holy One! He just rubs off on us!
Now in the Hebrew, the word for holiness is “hagiasmos” and means “sanctification”. When the term is used of individuals it refers to those who are devoted to God and involves divine demands upon the conduct of the believers. As a matter of fact, in the Vine’s the word denotes “more than that which is outwardly associated with God..something more than worthy or honorable, something more than pure… it is characteristically god likeness.” Now that is absolutely mind-blowing!!
Could it really be that Peter is declaring that we are a nation of people with godlike qualities. One who is holy in all manner of conduct and behavior because God is holy and therefore, just like Him, we are holy?
There are two things that strike me about holiness. The first thing is the “divine demands upon the conduct of believers”. This means to me that if we are the people of God, then it is expected that He places a demand on our conduct. My clothes don’t mean I am holy, but because I am holy I will take care with my clothing. I’ve had this conversation with some younger women and they absolutely don’t like the idea of being told about their clothing. But here’s the thing: if we didn’t make association with clothing then that would be okay. But because we do make associations with clothing, then that’s not okay! Some think they can watch anything on television, listen to anything on the radio, go anywhere they please because of liberty, but God has a right to place a demand on our conversation, our dress, our relationships, our words, and our thoughts. It’s His prerogative! And I have learned that what He tells one person to give up, He may not necessarily tell another to give up. For example: when I first started where jeans to Bible study, He rebuked me and told me not to. That was over 25 years ago. But recently I felt a peace in my heart to wear jeans again. I know why He told me that. He didn’t want me to be casual about how I viewed Bible study. I must’ve passed the test because He gave me peace about it. Now He didn’t tell me to tell everyone that, it was just for me. So it may be just for you that He reveals something to you, obey it!
Then there is the second thing that stood out to me, the god likeness. It would seem to me that if we are going to be like God, then we must be holy. He doesn’t ever lose character or presence. He is always God, He is always holy, He is always the same. To be godlike for me means that He is calling me to holiness, to be the same person at work that I am at church that I am at home. My conversation, my thoughts, my habits, my movies, my music, my relationships, even the way I spend my money, all is holy. All is devoted to Him. All stems out of a relationship with Him. Wow! This was His dream in Genesis, a people in His image, after His likeness. Just like Him! And when He saved us, He was returning us, His holy nation, to our original state. His image!!
This is something else! And I know there is so much more to this being a holy nation. But just for tonight I will try and absorb what Peter is telling me about who I am. I am so much more than a dirty rotten, no good, unworthy, sinner saved by grace. Far from that lowly, wretched mind-set. I am a member of a holy nation, a reflection of God Himself! That puts me and the way I live, in a whole new arena! Wonderful Jesus!