By Ron Halbrook
For the truth’s sake, we must take time to be holy. First, we must take the time, if we are to get it at all. Job lamented, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, arid is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not” (14:1-2). Moses contrasted God who is “from everlasting to everlasting” with man: “We spend our years as a tale that is told . . . for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Rather than taking life for granted, we must “number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Ps. 90). David prayed, “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am” (Ps. 39:4). Is there time enough yet to be holy? The attitude which boasts of the days to come will destroy us “ye know not what shall be on the morrow” (Jas. 4:14). Is there no time left to be holy each day, after we agonize for material things? The mind which is over anxious for these things and finds in them the treasures of life, is a mind at war with God. No amount of time would be sufficient for the person who will not take the time to serve God.
We must take time. We cannot count on the holiness of good parents, a good mate, or good children to save us. Each individual must come to God by faith, to render the service due God and befitting from His creature. “The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezek. 18:20). Each one of us must take time to devote the heart unto God. In a busy royal court, even with the threat of punishment, young Daniel made time to get “upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God” (Dan. 6:10). Time spent in sin is worse than wasted, but in serving God we are “redeeming the time” (Eph. 5:16). It takes time to join the saints in public worship and to teach sinners the Good News in Christ, but how could we ever use our time any better?
What does it mean to be “holy”? It simply means to be set apart from the world of sin unto the service of God. The church of God is composed of “them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints” (1 Cor. 1:2). In Christ men are made into “an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ . . . . ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). How does God choose us to be holy, set apart, sanctified? “Through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:13-14). The gospel is calling us to receive the forgiveness of all our sins so that we will be holy in God’s sight, and so that we can then walk in holiness (1 Thess. 4:1-7). By faith, we must repent of every sin, confess the name of Christ, and be “buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). Then, in the words of the song,
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children; help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessings to seek.
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone.
Abiding in Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul;
Each tho’t and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shall be fitted for service above.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 47, p. 754
November 27, 1980