By Brother Michel Lankford
YES! It is WAY MORE important than many modern Christians realize.
Remember one of the Names and Titles of YHWH Almighty is ( יהוה נִסִּי ) (Exodus 17:15-16) YHWH our Banner. HE is the Banner by which we identify ourselves. HE is to be the Standard, the Banner, and the flag, around which every believer MUST ultimately rally.
Important Keys to Remember:
- YHWH and Messiah is to be the Standard for our Lifestyle. Our neighbor is NOT to be our standard (Matthew 5:43-48; 1 Peter 1:14-16; Ephesians 5:1).
- We Must Understand What God’s Standards are,
- Obeying His Standards in Real Life Terms.
- Not Upholding God’s Standards is a Sin, (1 John 1:5-9; Ezekiel 22:26; Isaiah 5:20-24
- Biblical Holiness IS a Salvation Issue, (Hebrews 12:14).
- Even Paul, the apostle of Grace said we were required to pursue holiness to be accepted as a child of God, (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).
- How Much Do We Value God’s Acceptance (2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1
The best way to answer biblical questions of this type is to look at SPECIFIC biblical Instructions and Commandments.
As It Is Written:
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”(1 Peter 1:14–16 NASB95)
As It Is Written:
“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;(Philippians 1:27 NASB95)
Did you notice that the instruction DOES NOT say that our neighbor is to be the standard by which we measure ourselves? The measure that we are supposed to use to measure ourselves against is Abba (יהוה YHWH) Almighty God, and by extension, Yahshua/Jesus (ישוע) the Messiah, Whom He sent as His Word made flesh. THAT is the standard by which we are to measure ourselves, not other people.
- Notice that it DOES NOT say be holy, as your NEIGHBOR is holy.
- It DOES NOT say be holy, as your PASTOR is holy.
- It DOES NOT say be holy, as your CHURCH/CONGREGATION is holy.
- It DOES NOT say be holy, as your DENOMINATION is holy.
On the other hand, it DOES SAY that we are to be holy, as our Heavenly Father is Holy, (1 Peter 1:14-16; Matthew 5:43-48; Leviticus 11:44; Leviticus 19:2; Leviticus 20:7).
The biblical Instructions clearly tell us that we are to become imitators of our Heavenly Father. It doesn’t tell us to imitate our neighbor.
As It Is Written:
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children(Ephesians 5:1 NASB95)
Obeying these Instructions in Practical Real-Life Terms
Just trying to be better than the other guy is extremely dangerous. That’s because you will be coming short of God’s standards on purpose if you aim just to be better than the other person. If you are looking to the other guy as your standard, you will not even notice where you’re coming short of God’s standards, because you’re not looking at God’s standards to be your target. You will not recognize when you’re missing the mark of God’s standards, because you’re not even looking for that target.
So, our goal is to be holy as YHWH Almighty is holy. Our goal is to become imitators of our Heavenly Father. So, what does it mean to be holy as YHWH is holy.
In order to understand that, we must begin with a basic understanding of what holiness means from a biblical point of view.
Defining Holiness from YHWH’s Point of View
Hebrew strong #6918 (QAEDOSH) literally to be set apart; to separate out for the most noble use.
In the ancient Hebrew word picture it conveys the idea of having the best and most useful part of the wheat after everything else is separated out or left behind after everything is separated away from the chaff, whatever is best, whatever is most useful, whatever is most productive, after all the chaff is removed or separated out; that is holy.
Greek Strong #40 (HAGIOS) literally to be set apart; to separate out for the most noble use.
Literally to be set apart as sacred; to be physically pure and morally blameless. Also, to be religiously and ceremonially separated out or consecrated for special use.
To be holy as YHWH and as Messiah is holy then means that we SEPARATE things out in the SAME WAY that God separates things out.
Practical Matter: Please, quit seeking after absolute unity at any cost. That is the OPPOSITE of holiness. If we are true Children of the Almighty, and true citizens of His Kingdom, absolute unity at any cost is IMPOSSIBLE. You cannot separate things out appropriately, and be united with absolutely everything at the same time. As His People, our loyalty belongs to YHWH. Our citizenship belongs to His Kingdom. We CANNOT, and MUST NOT say that every belief system, every philosophy, and every idea is equally good to every other idea. That’s simply not true. The truth is, some things are right and good, and some other things are wrong and evil. The truth is, some things work and other thinks don’t work, whether the politically correct world likes it or not.
Some ideas cause things to function as the Almighty Creator intended them to function. Other ideas promote cancerous dysfunction in life and society.
As Kingdom citizens, we should seek to unite ourselves with what YHWH says is good, and actively SEPARATE ourselves from what the Almighty says is bad. That’s Holiness 101. Absolute unity with everyone and everything is impossible for the Kingdom citizen, because some things are good and we should unite with those, and other things are bad and we should judiciously separate ourselves from those things.
If YHWH Almighty God UNITES Himself to something, then I want to unite myself to that same thing which the Heavenly Father unites Himself. If on the other hand YHWH the Almighty DIVIDES or SEPARATES Himself from some attitude or behavior, then I want to intentionally separate myself from those same things that YHWH separates Himself. That is quite literally what it means to be Holy as YHWH is holy. I choose to love what He Loves and delights in. I also choose to dislike what God says that He dislikes. That is literally what it means to be holy as He is holy. It’s to separate and divide things out in the SAME WAY that the Father separates them out.
Here is a classic example. We know that YHWH Almighty God repeatedly says, that He is the only God. There is no other God other than YHWH. He is SEPARATE from anyone or anything else that PRETENDS to be a god. That’s part of WHY believers are constantly told to have nothing to do with idolatry or following after other gods; because YHWH SEPARATES Himself from anything else that pretends to be God. This means that we also should separate ourselves from all other gods. When we do that, we are imitating YHWH our Heavenly Father. That is being holy as He is holy.
Failing to Separate Things Out the Same Way He Does is a Sin
Many modern believers fail to recognize that not upholding YHWH’s Standards of Holiness IS a SIN. It causes people to profane and to disrespect God, because they no longer recognize His Standards from the rest of the sinful world. That makes it almost impossible for people to repent and to be forgiven and restored. If you don’t know God’s Standards, then you do not know that you have missed His Standards and you have sinned. If you don’t know you sinned, then you won’t confess them, and you won’t be forgiven. That becomes a serious problem, (1 John 1:5-9)
As It Is Written:
““Her priests have done violence to My law and have profaned My holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the profane, and they have not taught the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they hide their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.(Ezekiel 22:26 NASB95)
Something is good when God calls it good. Something is bad when God calls it bad. It’s dangerous to mix that stuff up.
As It Is Written:
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine And valiant men in mixing strong drink, Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away the rights of the ones who are in the right! Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble And dry grass collapses into the flame, So their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust; For they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.(Isaiah 5:20–24 NASB95)
You see, if you are looking to be just better than your neighbor, you might not recognize God’s standards anymore, and you would be much more likely to label things opposite of the way that God labels them. That’s dangerous.
Don’t Forget that True Biblical Holiness IS a Salvation Issue
As It Is Written:
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:(Hebrews 12:14 NKJV)
Even Paul Warns Us to Pursue Holiness
In closing listen carefully to what even Paul the apostle of grace said concerning holiness. Even Paul said that we MUST SEPARATE ourselves from certain things in order to be accepted by God, as His child. This is right out of your New Testament:
As It Is Written:
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.(2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1 NKJV)
Notice We must practice separating from:
- The habits, behaviors and fellowships with unbelieving people, (he mentions it twice).
- We must separate from lawlessness (ANOMIA Greek Strong’s #’s 458-459)
- We must separate from darkness.
- We must separate from Belial, (things worthless, evil, or satanic).
- We must separate from all things idolatry.
- Do not touch or have fellowship with what God considers unclean.
“Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”(2 Corinthians 6:17–18)
How Much Do You Value YHWH’s Acceptance?
Now, in light of passages like these, every supposed believer in YHWH and in Messiah must diligently confront some serious questions.
Separating from these types of things is REQUIRED, (even according to the New Testament), in order for God to accept us as being His Child. So, the thing we must ask ourselves is, how much do I really want to partake of this promise? How much do I value being considered by God to be His Child? Do I value that promise enough to separate myself away from what God says I need to separate myself? If we choose not to separate ourselves from at least these things, then that is the same as saying to God that being considered His child and being accepted by Him is not as valuable to us as holding onto these things. That is the height of foolishness. May YHWH help us to love and delight in what pleases Him, and may He give us Grace to cooperate with Him, and to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit in the fear of God. Omein.
Brother Michel Lankford