Friday, November 14, 2014


By Colleen Podmore


 ‘Be holy because I, the LORD your God am holy’ Lev 19:2

This is a commandment that God made to the Israelites. His people were to be holy. The book Leviticus is written to the Levites and is about how they were to be holy, so that they could minister between God and His chosen people and ultimately to all nations on earth.

‘I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.’ Lev 11:44

The people, all the Israelites were to do this, consecrate themselves or dedicate themselves to being holy, living by and under the law and living for God. The point I want to make here is that it was the people’s responsibility to consecrate themselves. It starts with a choice, a desire and it is reflected in the way they lived their lives. God decided to dwell with them and He showed them how He was to be worshipped and He showed them how to build the Tabernacle and all the furnishings; what they were to sacrifice and where and how to go about making the offerings, but the people were to dedicate themselves, making the decision to be holy.

‘We no longer live under the Law,’ you might say –‘that was 3 000 years ago, we live under the new covenant, we live under grace’. True, but aren’t we also called to be holy? Aren’t we to consecrate, dedicate ourselves to God? Of course, we have the Spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4), to prompt our consciences whereas the Israelites had the law. Peter also exhorted the church to be holy, counseling Believer’s to be alert and fully sober, not conforming to the evil desires of this world’.

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.’ (1Peter1:13-16)

We want to be like Jesus? Then we will be holy in all our thoughts, attitudes and actions! We will not conform to evil desires

Is holiness something we aspire to? Do we wake up in the morning and say, ‘Today I’m going to be holy?’ or is it reserved for a few people only? What do you think? Do you know any ‘holy’ people?

What is holiness?   Definition of holiness is the quality or state of being holy, which is not very helpful. Another way to look at it is to think about  synonyms, or words that are similar. Synonyms to holiness are: humility, purity, righteousness, sanctity, godliness, piety, reverence, sacredness, saintliness, prayerfulness, goodness. And opposites (antonyms) are: godlessness, impiety, ungodliness, unholiness.


The passage in Hebrews chapter 12 gives us some clues about holiness, especially what it is not

Heb 12:14-17, says, ‘Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

This is a very sobering warning that we should take seriously. We see from the example of Esau that it is so easy to loose your birthright. He thought he was secure because he was the firstborn son. We may have said the sinners prayer and been baptized but will that be enough? Esau was godless, he did not take God seriously, and instead he lived to please himself. Others were sexually immoral, still others were bitter.

‘Without holiness, no-one will see the Lord’ Heb 12:14-17.

This passage points to three areas in our lives where we need to do a stock-take, if we want to see God.

Firstly, take God seriously. Everything we do for God is important, the messages we prepare, our leading, coming together to fast and pray, diligently reading our Bibles. We may think that what we contribute makes no difference but even the tiniest thing we do, if we do it for God, can make a difference in the kingdom of God. Don’t be discouraged from doing good.

Don’t get into sexual immorality. This can take many forms and we can inadvertently be compromised especially with some of the programmes on TV. What images come back into your mind afterwards? We as God’s holy people are counseled to think about … ‘whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable –if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things’ (Phil 4:8).

I’m not saying don’t watch TV, but be careful what sort of programmes you watch. Don’t be enticed by the lusts of the flesh and remember even that to think something is to commit the sin and so become defiled. ‘Jesus said whoever lusts after a woman in their minds has committed adultery with her already.’ (Matt 5:28).

 Don’t fall short of the grace of God – or in other words, don’t miss out on receiving grace because of unresolved feelings and letting bitterness and resentment dictate our words through gossip or slander. What flavor, what aroma do we leave behind in a room when we leave it?


The other day I was reading in Leviticus the way that God enjoyed the aroma of the sacrifices. It says, ‘it is a burnt offering, a food offering, an aroma pleasing to the LORD’ (Lev 1:17b).

I thought yes I can relate to that – it smells nice when the roast is cooking – unless you are a vegetarian, but what do you think when the roast starts to burn, catching on fire? Is that still a pleasing aroma?

It’s not the smell so much as what the smell represents. The sacrifices were an act of worship, of atonement and as such had a pleasing aroma. As we worship we are a pleasing aroma even though we are using our voices, God sees what our motives are and how pure our hearts are and this is fragrant.


In the book of Romans we are exhorted to be ‘living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God’ (Romans 12:1), an aroma pleasing to God. Jesus was a ‘fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.’ (Eph 5:2)

The other day as I was thinking about these things, I said to God, ‘I want to be a fragrant offering.’ and for a while I may have been but then I spoke to my husband in a wrong way and straight away I thought I was more like a ‘stench’!  God showed me the difference between a fragrant aroma and a stench. Let us always be a pleasing aroma, a fragrant offering, through our attitudes and actions!


Becoming holy is also the process of being sanctified. To be sanctified means to be set apart for special use or purpose. If you want to be used by God then be sanctified, value holiness,

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified…’ 1Thess 4:3

Remember we are first of all justified when we come to faith in Christ – legally set free from the penalty of our sin which is death. Then our lives are sanctified as we change and become more like Jesus and finally we step into heaven and we are glorified!

Let us live holy lives, consecrated to God, fragrant offerings, aromas pleasing to God.

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