By Mike Willis
“Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psa. 29:2).
Holiness has a beauty all of its own. There is something marvelous about a character that is pure in heart, without guile, devoted to the Lord’s service, lovely, and loveable. The beauty of holiness is “the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit” (1 Pet. 3:4). The beauty of Christ’s holiness has attracted men to him for nearly twenty centuries.
In What Does Holiness Consist?
1. Holiness consists in consecration to God. A person must be to-tally devoted to the Lord’s service. Those things designated “holy unto the Lord” were those things consecrated to his service. It might be one’s house that was vowed to the Lord (Lev. 27:14), an animal, or the produce of his field that was set apart as his tithe (Lev. 27:28,30). Anything specifically separated to the Lord’s use was “holy unto the Lord.”
That which is “sanctified” is “set apart” to the Lord. Christians are “sanctified” when they obey the gospel. Paul wrote, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
Jesus spoke of this kind of dedication to the Lord in these terms: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matt. 22:37-38). This is a spirit totally committed to the Lord.
Paul manifested this kind of holiness when he explained that his life was a “living sacrifice” to the Lord. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). He also wrote, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). This is a beauty in seeing a person so totally devoted to the Lord.
2. Holiness consists in becoming like God. Peter wrote, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Pet. 1:15). Peter explained that we imitate God’s divine attributes when we add faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, etc. to our character. `By these ye might be partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:3-10).
We learn to love what God loves and hate what he hates. “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psa. 119:104). The wise man wrote, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (Prov. 6:16-19). Sometimes, we look upon sin as something to be played with that has no ability to inflict harm on a person. Rather, sin is so dangerous, that it can only be hated. We therefore hate fornication and adultery, because we have seen what it does to families. We hate drug addiction and drunkenness, be-cause we have witnessed how it destroys lives. We hate lying and stealing, because we have seen how it eats the heart out of one’s character. We hate all forms of lasciviousness because of how it leads to other immoralities. We see the damnation of hell to which all of these lead and we hate sin. Anyone who does not hate sin is not God-like.
Look at what God loves. He not only loves righteousness but also those who practice righteousness. Sometimes the world describes those who are righteous as “geeks,” “nerds,” “right wing fundamentalists,” and similar epithets. But God loves the righteous and so should we. Paul wrote, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Tim. 1:8). Perhaps there were some who were ashamed of Paul, like there are some who are ashamed to be associated with those who are righteous. If we are going to be God-like we will love both righteousness and those who practice righteousness.
Becoming like God also leads to developing the virtues of righteousness. We learn to be patient like God. The quick-tempered person has not become God-like. Think how God would act toward those who sin (that includes me), if he had the quick-tempered nature some of us have. We learn to love like God. God’s love is self-sacrificing and is full of grace – that is, it is given toward those who do not deserve it. We can be God-like when we show love to those who have done nothing to deserve our love.
When a person who meets the descriptions listed above brings his worship to God, he is doing what the verse in Psalm 29:2 is saying – worship God in the beauty of holiness. We would be wise to give more attention to bringing the “beauty of holiness” when we come to worship than fretting so much on whether or not one’s shoes match one’s skirt or purse, whether or not the tie and suit matched, and other things pertaining to one’s outward appearance.
Guardian of Truth XL: 8 p. 2
April 18, 1996