And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
Today is Veteran’s Day, the day on which we appropriately honor those past and present who have fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy in America. November 11 was chosen because on that day, a little over one hundred years ago, World War One ended. As more of our soldiers fight for us and are wounded and die to keep us safe, we should never take their sacrifices for granted.
At the time it was fought, the Great War was also considered a “holy war.” That got me thinking about all the things which are called “holy” by many, what it means to be holy in God’s eyes, and why Christians should want with all their being to be more and more holy everyday. While prophesying about the Messiah Who was to come, the prophet Isaiah spoke of a “highway” called “the Way of Holiness,” foretelling that Jesus would usher in that highway so that His followers could walk on it. Yet Christians must first understand what it means to be holy and why they should want that holiness to be dominant in their lives if they hope to walk on that highway.
The term “holy” basically means to be set apart, to be different. To be holy in a religious sense means to be different from the worldly, sinful standards which are all around us. It requires purity, a pure loyalty to God which only the truly spiritual possess. All followers of Jesus should want to become more and more holy as each day passes because that is the only way anyone will go to heaven. The apostle Peter prophesied that this earth and universe would one day be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10). He then asked, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness?” (v. 11). Christians must live holy and godly lives. They must be diligent to be ready for when Christ returns, always striving to be found by Him to be “without spot or blemish”…basically, holy (v. 14).
After all, heaven is where God dwells and only holy people will see Him (Hebrews 12:14). This is because God is holy (Isaiah 6:3). He wants Christians to be holy as well (1 Peter 1:15-16). This is yet another reason Christians should strive to be more and more different from the rest of the world. Each follower of Jesus should ask themselves if they truly want to be holy like God. If they do, they will stand out from the sinful people that surround them. While everyone else has money, promotions, sports, politics, or TV as their highest priority, it must be clear to all that the Christian’s top priority is Jesus and winning souls for Him. While everyone else thinks nothing wrong about lying, stealing, adultery, homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, and being unkind to others, the Christian will stand out by being different. The Christian will show nothing but love and kindness to all. They will strive to not partake or condone of any sin and when they fail, they will work hard to repent.
This is because holiness requires working hard to attain godly purity (1 John 3:2-3). Christians are commanded to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bring holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1). That isn’t easy, but Christians must want it as badly as a newborn baby wants milk. They become pure when they purge themselves of sin and thereby become “set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21). All followers of Christ must examine themselves daily to see if progress is made towards this goal.
I want all of us to see God and be with Him in heaven one day. To do that, we must be holy. I’d love to study the Bible with you and talk more about this. If you’re interested, let me know in the comments.