And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the LORD.” And the pots in the house of the LORD shall be as the bowls before the altar. 21 And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the LORD of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be ta trader9 in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day. – Zechariah 14:20-21
A call to holiness is one of the more inspiring commands of God, think for a moment about the command of 1 Peter 1:13-16:
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy. – 1 Peter 1:13-16
Holiness – the basic concept here is the idea of being set apart. First, biblical holiness does mean someone or something has been selected for a special relationship with God. The concept of holiness is that of our standing or position with God. God calls us into relationship with Himself so we have a standing, and privilege to be in His presence not based on our own merits but simply because God has called us to Himself. Secondly, holy can also have a sense of purpose. When God calls me to be holy in “all our conduct” it is a command to remember that my behavior always reflects on my relationship with God. My behavior either reflects accurately the character, values and priorities of God, or they don’t. If I am acting holy then I am acting with the intentional conviction that my activity directly reflects on how people see God. Thirdly, holiness has a moral component to it. If God is holy then His own character defines righteousness, or more to the point what is right and what is wrong. Consequently, it is impossible to not consider that our actions can have a strong moral or ethical component. Being faithful to being holy often slams against how I feel. I may have impulses or temptations or attractions to act in a way that are contrary to the character of God. I may value things that are not the same values as Gods. I don’t have to do a really bad thing (so to speak) to not be holy. His priorities need to be my priorities – I can be morally in line with God’s holiness but out of line with His priorities and thus- struggle with being holy.
Notice in Zechariah the extent that holiness touches even the mundane aspects of life. Holiness is so pervasive a value in what most believe will be the Millennium that “holy to the Lord” is inscribed on the bells of bridles of horses. Every pot in Jerusalem, not just those used in the temple, will be considered holy to the Lord. There is nothing too profound or mundane to not be affected and imprinted with the concept that everything is holy to the Lord.
The thought is similar to our idea that, “everything is spiritual”. We have such a propensity to define life between what is holy and what is secular; what is spiritual and what is earthly. Now I understand these distinctions are not without merit or biblical support BUT the call of God is that our whole life is to be holy to the Lord. Paul outlines this in 1 Corinthians 10:31 when summarizing his argument of eating food offered to idols. While people clearly make these distinctions and can have strong disagreements about what is right and wrong, Paul’s admonition is straight forward, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” What a wonderful explanation of living a holy life. Everything we do, whatever we do, even down to the most basic activity of eating and drinking is to be an act of worship and glorifying God. This may mean for some a very intentional process of consciously be aware of why I choose to do what I do. Holy living is motivated and anchored to God’s Word and what I decide to do and how I do it needs to be supported by what God’s Word says we should do. I often encourage people that they examine the reason for anything they do should have a biblical foundation. If they cannot show me a text or two that supports doing what they want to do, they should think twice before doing it. For others this sense of holiness has become an integral part of their values and so they are always, consciously aware their actions and attitudes first reflect on Christ and secondly, their own rights and freedoms.
Living a holy life takes profound spiritual concentration – it does not automatically happen simply because we know Jesus.