“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them, ‘Be holy, because I, the LORD your God, am holy'” (Leviticus 19:1-2).
“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He Who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: ‘Be holy because I am holy'” (1 Peter 1:13-16).
There comes a time in each of our lives when we know that the end has come. For the prisoner on death row, it is the last “no” from the Governor’s office. There are no more reprieves. For the terminally ill patient, it is the time when there are no more treatments left to try.
There is no other doctor left to turn to. This time, the pain isn’t going away. On a more joyful note, expectant mothers know all the signs of the end of their pregnancies and that the child is about to be born. There is no doubt once the labor pains begin. There is no going back on the commitment made nine months ago. It has to happen now.
There seems to be a general sense in the world that human history is about to be disrupted, dramatically. This website (Rapture Ready) daily shows us that the next event on God’s calendar is the Rapture. And then comes the seven-year tribulation, which spells finished to current world history. According to Pew Research, 44% of us in North America now believe that is where the world is at – no more reprieves. The End is near, if not here. Something new is about to happen.
But, for the rest of the population, life goes on as it always has. Jesus said the end times would be like that. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man” (Mathew 24:37-39).
This dichotomy of world view is starkly visible to those of us in the 44% group. To the remaining 56%, who are blinded to the lateness of the hour, we are the cartoon man dressed in sackcloth, wearing a sandwich board, saying, “The End is Nigh.” All who pass him deride him as a lunatic. We ought not be surprised that the world sees the Children of God as the root of all their problems, and scoffs at us and mocks us for believing Messiah Yeshua is coming back soon to sort the mess that has become planet Earth in 2023.
Jude wrote: “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our LORD Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, ‘In the last times, there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires'” (Jude 17-18).
And Apostle Peter wrote: “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this “coming” He promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation'” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
Not only are Christians being mocked for believing in God and His Redemption through Jesus Messiah, including the Rapture of the church, we are also being persecuted and, in some places, martyred for our faith. The world has lost its moral compass, but even more than that, it has also forgotten what holiness is.
These verses are from 2 Timothy 3:1-5 – you know them — “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (emphasis added)
Here’s an interesting exercise: Go to a mainstream media page, such as CNN or ABC, especially one that covers politics, and see how many stories (articles) you can match up with each of the “terrible times” characteristics Apostle Paul lists. Oh, and it doesn’t matter which day of the week you choose to do this.
All the negative characteristics Paul lists could, in fact, apply to people in almost every age of history, but he secures the idea of these being prominent characteristics of people living at the end of time. He uses the actual words “in the last days.” Paul said these negative traits would epitomize the last days. He was describing the people of the world who would be alive in the end times.
At the end of the list is that wonderful little phrase: “… having a form of godliness but denying its power.” People of the end times have forgotten what godliness or holiness is, and they have forgotten because they mock God, His Son, and His Holy Spirit.
There are some Christian scholars who do not equate godliness and holiness, saying they are two separate characteristics. Yet the following paragraph from the Berean website establishes the idea that they are, indeed, one and the same.
Philippians 1:1 – “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons.”
Christians are clearly identified as saints in Scripture. A saint is a “holy one,” separated from the unconverted, who do not have God’s Spirit. We must not confuse righteousness and holiness. Though they function together in the salvation process, they are specifically not the same qualities. Righteousness is the practical and consistent application, the right doing, of God’s way of life. At its foundation, holiness is being cleaned, purified, and set apart, distinguished from others, for God’s uses. Holiness is notable by a life as free from the defiling acts of sin as the convert can achieve as he overcomes and grows. Holiness is godliness.” (emphasis added) https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/CGG/ID/15448/Holiness-is-Godliness.htm
The two verses at the top of this article have caused this writer to often ponder the state of being holy or godly. It seems that most in the world today have forgotten what holiness/godliness looks like, let alone what holiness/godliness is. Sadly, this is true of both unsaved persons and many who claim to be born-again Christians.
It is a popular idea that most people you meet on a daily basis want to be good. That may well be, but how many would own up to wanting to be holy?
A new study by researcher George Barna and the Cultural Research Center (CRC) at Arizona Christian University in Glendale, Arizona, has found that only about 6% of adults in America have a worldview based on the Bible. A quote from that study says,
Today, 176 million Americans claim to be Christians—69% of the population. Yet, only 6% of U.S. adults—which is 9% of those identifying as Christians—possess a biblical worldview, believing the Bible to be accurate and reliable, among other convictions….
The study asserts that every person has a worldview—defined as an intellectual, emotional, and spiritual decision-making filter. And though many Americans believe they have a “biblical worldview,” very few do. (A Barna-conducted study published in May found that 51% of U.S. adults claim to have “biblical worldview”—a far cry from the percentage who actually do, according to the latest findings.)
Two out of three Americans think of themselves as a Christian, and a majority still think that Christianity is kind of about the Bible,” Barna said in an interview at the time. “But there’s a big gap between what (self-identified Christians) believe the Bible may teach, and what the Bible actually teaches.” (emphasis added)
The state of churches in North America is beyond sad. One wonders how it is possible for the pastor of a Christian church not to believe in God, yet such leaders not only exist but are found in every denomination.
Be warned that the following contains antichrist ideas.
Christian Atheism sounds like an oxymoron, yet it exists in our world today. According to Wikipedia’s page on this subject:
Some Death of God theologians favor separation from the institutions of the Christian Church. (Thomas J.J.) Altizer (among the first moderns to espouse the death of God) stated that “the radical Christian believes that the ecclesiastical tradition has ceased to be Christian” and indeed that faith “can never identify itself with an ecclesiastical tradition or with a given doctrinal or ritualistic form. Moreover, he believed orthodox Christianity failed in its refusal to be open to modern culture and contemporary theology, and we should instead seek the sacred by embracing the radical profanity of our age.
In short, these “churches” are beyond the Laodicean church of Revelation 3. The Laodiceans were only “lukewarm”; these churches are stone cold to Scripture. Unfortunately, “embracing the radical profanity of our age” is happening altogether too often in churches all over the ‘western’ world (including Australia and New Zealand). We have forgotten how to be Godly Holy.
The 1 Peter verses at the top of this page encapsulate beautifully how Christians need to be, as the time for the revealing of our LORD and Saviour is imminent.
“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He Who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: ‘Be holy because I am holy.'”
The Hebrew word for holy is ‘kodesh’. Kodesh describes a sacredness that is so above the ordinary that it is set apart. The Hebrew word can be found some 430 times in the Old Testament. Repetition in the Bible, we are told, is to tell us that what is repeated is a very important piece of information. Kodesh is used to describe the LORD God Almighty, conveying the idea that Elohim is altogether holy, sacred, set apart from those He created.
An example of how holy is the Name of the LORD God Almighty is that Jews will not pronounce, either out loud or in their minds, the Tetragrammaton. When YHWH appears in the text, our Jewish cousins will substitute the name Adonai or LORD, to save them any chance of slurring the Holiest Name in the universe.
Our Creator is Holy God Almighty, the Holy One of Israel, and the Holy Spirit – the Holy Triune Ancient of Days. Most obviously, we are not that! So then, how can we be holy as the LORD God is holy?
In Matthew’s Gospel, we read that Jesus tells the disciples, “With man this [being saved] is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
By ourselves, no one can be saved. Neither can anyone, without God, become holy. But with God, both are possible. We need to be right with Him, first and foremost, if we want to have a hope of ever being considered holy.
An aside here: So why do we have to be holy if our faith in Christ crucified and risen is all we need to get to heaven? It’s simple. We need to be holy because God told us to be holy. You see, when we strive for holiness, we are striving to become more like Jesus. Being more like Jesus helps us to stay steadfast in our faith to the very end, which is also a command of His. “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Revelation 3:11).
At the urging of God’s Spirit in us, we hunger and thirst for righteousness. We longingly wait for God’s Kingdom to come. We desire the Will of God to be done on earth as it is in heaven. In other words, through God’s own Spirit, we who love Him and believe He sent His Son to save us from our sins want to be holy. And we want to be holy because we want to be like Jesus.
If we who follow Messiah Yeshua want to make a difference in the world around us, it stands to reason that we must then appear to be different and separate from the world around us! And that is what ‘holy’ means.
While the world descends further into darkness every day, our holiness will shine in that darkness and point some of the lost to our LORD and Saviour for salvation. Christians of the end times, be holy as God is holy. Jesus has commanded that we occupy until He comes. One way to do that is to be the beacon on the hill, reflecting the holiness of the LIGHT OF THE WORLD for the millions who are still walking in darkness.
And all God’s people shouted MARANATHA!!!
If anyone reading this article has not yet received Jesus as their Saviour, but God has touched your heart by His Holy Word, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or find a Bible-believing local church and ask the Pastor what you must do to be saved in Grace. In the meantime, please consider the ABCs of Salvation, and may GOD bless you.
A – Admit
Admit what you have done wrong and ask forgiveness.
Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.”
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
B – Believe
Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again as a payment for your sins.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
C – Confess and Choose
Confess and choose to allow God to be in charge of your life.
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”