I Am Holy

Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord. - Hebrews 12:14

God’s word says that we cannot see God unless we are holy. Seriously. It’s right there for everyone to see. Not only is it blatant, but it’s damning. Webster’s reminds us that to be holy is to be “exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.” (emphasis mine)

That’s just great. I am in deep trouble.

I am not holy. Not even close. I often have the market cornered on being arrogant. I really struggle with keeping my mouth under control. I am regularly lazy. I would love to tell you more about my weakness, but my pride would get offended if I did. My pride is so strong that I even mess up my attempts to grow in humility. Unbelievable. When I try to grow in humility, there is always an underlying desire to gain something from that humility. Maybe my humility will gain me respect, or maybe God will grant me some blessing, and so on. Good grief. I can’t even get humility right because my pride thumps its chest and gets in the way. This underlying pride undergirds all of our collective attempts to pursue humility.

On top of all this, the Bible tells me I cannot see God unless I am holy. It would seem that there is no more crushing truth in scripture than that. I fall short. Horribly, horribly short.

And yet there is hope. The truth is, I am holy; I am righteous. Even in the face of my unrighteousness. Once again, I’m serious. Because of my faith in Christ, the progression of my new life in him looks like this.

I am declared holy.

I am being made holy.

I am actually holy.

If there is a more powerful truth in scripture than the truth that God deeply loves me and is making me holy, I don’t know what it is.

I am declared holy. 

“He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” - 2 Corinthians 5:21

Imagine learning about a banquet. Not just a banquet, but banquet that will end all banquets. The banquet that will redefine what a banquet should be. Unbelievably, there is an open invitation to said banquet. Anyone who responds is welcome to attend the banquet. There is a catch, however. In order to gain admission into the banquet, you must be dressed exquisitely. This is a problem because you are poor and have nothing to offer as a means of acquiring the kind of apparel necessary for entrance into the banquet. At just the right moment, however, another person walks up to you and offers to trade your filthy rags for their Armani tuxedo. This is great news! It makes no logical sense, but you are thrilled nonetheless. This kind and generous stranger disrobes and covers you with their luxury apparel, while taking on your filthy rags. The truth is, you know that the luxury garments aren’t yours. You didn’t buy them - you couldn’t buy them - and you feel a bit like a pretender, but you gain access into the banquet, not because of your fine taste in fashion and closet full of fine apparel, but because a gracious stranger took on your filthy rags so that you might assume their grandeur. In theological circles, we would call this “imputed righteousness.” In Jesus’ perfect life and then death on the cross, he made his holiness available to me. As I bowed the knee to King Jesus, he covered me in the cloak of his righteousness. When God looks at me, he no longer sees Micah in all my filthy rags, but instead sees the glory of Jesus' holiness covering me. In response to the covering of Jesus’ holiness I am declared righteous. The truth is that I am still, in a very real sense, the guy who is covered in filthiness, but because Jesus’ holiness covers my filth, God gladly slams the gavel down on the heavenly judicial bench and declares that I am, in fact, not guilty. I am declared holy.

I am being made holy.

The bible reminds us that long before the world was set into place God had a plan for us. The prophet Jeremiah points out to us in Jeremiah 29:11 that his plan is one to “prosper us” and “not to harm us.” Too often we miss the fact that this isn’t a declaration of coming financial prosperity or avoidance of pain. This is a reminder that, in God’s great plan and because of Jesus, God is making us like himself; he is making us holy.

“For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.” - Romans 8:29

This passage reminds us that God’s plan for us is to make us like Jesus. God is not satisfied to merely declare us to be holy (though that is certainly no small thing in itself), but has decided in his providence to work in us to mold us into an entirely different image - to actually make us holy. This, then, should be the natural progression of any who claim faith in Jesus.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.” - 2 Corinthians 5:17

In Christ we are covered by Christ’s righteousness, and made into something entirely different than we were. This is true for everyone who claims faith in Jesus.

I am being made holy.

I am actually holy.

“So it is with the resurrection of the dead:Sown in corruption, raised in incorruption; sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body.” - 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

Of course I don’t mean that, right now, I am actually holy. I am arrogant at times, but I would hole that I’m a bit more self-aware than that. I am definitely not actually holy - or completely holy - yet. That’s the great thing, however. I may not be actually holy today, but I will be someday.

In God’s eternal kingdom, as all competitors to that kingdom have been destroyed, God will make his children into perfect reflections of himself. This is kind of a big deal. Arrogant Micah, bitter Micah, jealous Micah and all the other unsavory versions of Micah will be no more. For those of you who have believed in Jesus, this is your certain future as well. It seems a bit unbelievable, I know. It would be understandable if you felt the need to pinch yourself in response.

I am holy.