Shining with His Glory!

I gatecrashed an Anglican church recently.

I was shocked to see two leaders dressed in white robes.

I thought I’d been teleported to 13th century England from 2015 Phnom Penh!

The young American seemed embarrassed.

After introducing himself to me, he slipped back stage to ‘get ready for church’, reappearing after a few minutes dressed in this full length white frock.

“Still getting used to this,” he said.

I’m not surprised.

Being Christian isn’t about our external appearance.

We’re not ‘holy’ or ‘righteous’ because we wear a white robe.

Jesus didn’t walk around in a white robe. (Oh, alright, he might have, but so did everyone else. Robes in those days were the jeans and tees of today).

God doesn’t look at external appearances. He looks at the heart. Tweet: God doesn't look at external appearances. He looks at the heart.

The robe God has given us is not one that’s visible to the human eye. It isn’t a robe anyone can see.

It’s far more beautiful than anything that can be made with human hands.

This is why Isaiah was so ‘overwhelmed with joy.’

I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God for He has dressed me in garments of salvation, He has draped me in a robe of His righteousness.

– Isaiah 61:10.

These garments of salvation are not external. The garments are spiritual. The robe of righteousness is not a white cotten frock, it is a robe of His glory, of His beauty and majesty.

God sees us as He sees Jesus when he was ‘transfigured’ on the mountain before Peter, James and John, shining with the brilliance of the ‘Shekinah Glory‘ – the glory and presence of God.

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.

– Matthew 17:1

His clothes became white as light.

Not white as cotton.

I mean, if the leaders of the church are going to wear white robes to symbolize their righteousness, then everyone in the church should wear them too.

We should all wear them.

But we don’t need to wear white robes!

Our robes are spiritual.

Our robes are the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

Our robes are the presence of God within us.

We are shining with His glory!

As Jesus says:

You are the Light of the World!

– Matthew 5:14

To God, we are like Jesus: perfect, righteous and holy.

Not because of anything we have done, but because of what Jesus did for us.

By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who have been made holy.

– Hebrews 10:14.

We have been made perfect forever.

On the cross He set us free from sin and adorned us in robe of His righteous.

There was, as Joseph Prince says, a “divine exchange.”

He became our sin and we became His righteousness.

As Paul says, on the cross we were set free from sin.

We died with Christ…and anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

– Romans 6:7

This is why I also take offense at the Anglican liturgy:

Almighty God, we have sinned against you and against our neighbor…Forgive us all that is past…

Why do I take offence at this?

Because we have been set free from sin.

I know, I know. What about –

If we confess our sin He is righteous and just to forgive us our sin and purify us of all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

Sure.

But John is talking about a “once for all” confession when we come to Christ.

Once we come to Christ he purifies us of all unrighteousnsess.

For an indepth study on this verse – and how it has kept the church bound in spiritual chains for centuries – read here.

Once we are in Christ we have been made perfect forever.

Paul knew that when Christ died we were set free from sin.

Totally. Completely. Free.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!

– Galatians 5:1.

God doesn’t see us as sinners anymore.

No matter how much we mess up, no matter how many times we fail, Christ dealt with it all, on the cross, once for all.

By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who have been made holy.

– Hebrews 10:14.

Perfect.

Forever.

It is essential we start to see ourselves as God sees us –

Without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but pure and holy.

– Ephesians 5:27

To see ourselves as less is to take the glory of Christ’s victory away from Him.

It’s to say the cross wasn’t good enough to cleanse us of all our sin.

It’s to say we keep sinning so we keep needing a fresh sacrifice.

That was the Old Testament law.

Every time the Israelites sinned they had to slaughter an animal and sprinkle the blood everywhere – even over all the people!

Moses took the blood of calves and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.

– Hebrews 9: 19-22

But Christ’s sacrifice was more powerful:

Not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

– Hebrews 9:12.

He obtained eternal redemption.

Once for all.

We are redeemed forever.

He will never let us go.

That is what is so amazing about the gospel.

That is what’s so amazing about grace.

And the book of Hebrews continues:

He appeared once for all to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

– Hebrews 9:25-27

‘Do away with’ is the Greek word athetesin.

It’s only used once in the bible.

It means ‘abolish, disannul.’

Let’s take those words one at a time.

Abolish: formally put an end to.

Disannul: to declare invalid, to cancel.

On the cross Jesus declared our sin invalid. He cancelled it. He put an end to it.

This is why Paul repeatedly tells us in Romans 6 that we have been set free from sin.

So why do we insist on presenting ourselves before God as sinners?

Christ destroyed our sin on the cross.

It is finished!

To say we still sin is to proclaim the cross of Christ as powerless.

It is to say Christ’s blood was weak, as weak as the blood of animals.

If we say we are sinners we are like the Israelites returning to the temple and asking for forgiveness again and again.

But Hebrews says:

He did not offer Himself again and again. He appeared once.

Once.

We have been made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

– Hebrews 10:10

Once for all.

Christ’s blood was powerful enough to cleanse us once for all.

All of our sin for all time.

As Paul says:

You have been set free from sin.

Romans 6:7

And, dear Anglican church, the robe He has draped us in is not a white cotton frock, but a robe of the glory, beauty and majesty of God.

He has draped us in robes of His righteousness!

Advertisements

Be Holy for I am Holy. Or else.

For it is written: “Be holy, for I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:16

Often we’re taught we should ‘be holy’.

God is holy, so we should be holy.

But this is impossible. No one can be as holy as God.

That was The Law.

So, what does ‘holy’ mean?

We are sometimes taught that the Hebrew word for holy – quadosh – means ‘set apart’.

But set apart from what ?

The Bible Hub website says ‘holy’ means to be set apart from human impurity.

Set apart from sin.

Amen!

But who sets us apart?

Check this out in Hebrews:

We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, once for all.

– Hebrews 10:10

It is Christ who has made us holy. Christ who has set us apart from sin.

So, what does Peter mean by “Be Holy for I am Holy.”

Is it possible for us to ‘be holy’ by demand ?

If not, why demand it of us?

Isn’t he quoting a law that was impossible to keep?

And wasn’t The Law only given to show us how much we need Christ?

Here’s something we don’t hear in church often:

Be Holy for I am Holy is NOT a command – it’s a promise!

Check out this translation from the Greek:

Holy you will be, for Holy I am.

Holy you will be, for holy I am.

That’s completely different from “Be Holy, for I am Holy.”

It’s not a command, but a promise!

And we are children of promise!

Here’s something interesting. Remember when God said to Moses:

Go and tell the Israelites I AM has sent me to you.

Exodus 3:14

Remember this verse? When Moses asks God His name and God replies: “I am who I am.”

Well, the Greek translation of God’s name I am is

ego eimi

Now, check this out: when Jesus says his seven I am statements:

I am the bread of life.

I am The Good Shepherd.

I am the Gate for the sheep.

I am the Light of the World.

I am The Way the Truth and the Life.

I am the True Vine

and

I am the Resurrection and The Life

– his words I am are translated in the Greek as ego eimi.

The name of God!

‘I AM has sent me to you.’

I am.

Like when Jesus says:

Before Abraham was, I am.

– John 8:58

The Hebrew words are –

Ehyeh asher ehyeh

– which literally translates as:

I Will Be Who I Will Be.

And just as

I am who I am

can be translated

I will be who I will be

so –

Be holy as I am holy

can be translated as

Holy you will be because holy I am.

So you see God isn’t commanding us to be holy.

He is telling us we will be holy because He is.

And God doesn’t mean we will be holy at some random point in the future.

The tense of the verb gives a sense of now and forever.

We are holy now and we will forever be holy.

Our holiness is ongoing – now and forever.

Amen!

Paul also teaches us that –

Christ Jesus is…our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

– 1 Cor 1:30

So, to sum up, Hebrews teaches us that Christ has made us holy.

Peter teaches us that we will forever be holy because God is.

And Paul teaches us that Christ is our holiness.

Being holy has nothing to do with our own effort to overcome sin.

We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all.

– Hebrews 10:10

Christ did it all.

It is finished!

So what does Peter mean when he tells us:

Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.

1 Peter 1:15

Peter’s reminding us to behave in a way that reflects who we already are.

Just as Paul said:

Let us live up to what we have already attained.

– Philippians 3:16

Christ made us holy by His sacrifice.

Christ redeemed us.

Christ paid the price.

Christ took our punishment.

Christ served our sentence.

Christ did everything for us.

“Worthy is the Lamb. Not worthy is the Lamb and me!”

(Thanks Joseph Prince for that one!)

To conclude, then, it is Christ who has made us holy.

Holy you will be for holy I am.

We could never be as holy as God so He made us holy.

What a God!

This is the amazing wonder of grace.

So, finally, Peter isn’t commanding us to be holy.

We have already attained holiness in Christ.

Check out this verse from Paul:

But The God of peace shall make all of you perfectly holy.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Who makes us holy?

God does.

Through Christ.

Because He loves us.

He loved us in the past.

He loves us now.

And He will always love us… continuous, ongoing, now and forever.

For –

God is Love

Amen!

Related posts:

Be Holy, Hyper Grace StyleHis Grace is Enough – Simon Yap 

If We’re Holy, Why Does God Call Us To Be Holy? Escape to Reality – Paul Ellis

What Does God Mean When He Asks Us To Be Holy? Christianity Today – Joel Scandrett

Steve Edwards