BEING HOLY

Copyright © 2004 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.


Holiness is a calling. God has called us to be saints, that is, to be holy ones. To be holy is to be separated to God for His special purposes.

God calls us to be holy in His sight. Then we have to respond by seeking each day to draw closer to God. Each day we are to be more separate from the world; more separate from the filth of the flesh and spirit; more separate from our self-will.


Table of Contents

Part One
Part Two


BEING HOLY

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.” (I Peter 1:14-16)

Part One

Freedom from sin and slavery to God lead to holiness. Eternal life is the result of holiness.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)

We understand, therefore, that the gift of God basically is freedom from slavery to sin. The gift of freedom from slavery to sin and of the ability to be a slave of God leads to holiness. Holiness makes us eligible to receive eternal life.

We are to be holy because God is holy. What does this mean? It means that God is our Father. We have been born of God. We are His children and therefore are to be like Him in every way.

In what manner is God holy? We can kind of sense what this means, although it is difficult to explain in precise terms. It means there is no spirit in God that is not totally pure, totally clean. God is free from all unclean spirits. God is pure.

We know what unclean spirits are. They include all forms of lying, moral filth and passions, murderous rages, pride, seeking to be preeminent, malice, envy, treachery, fear, cowardice, impatience, lacking in self-control, unclean speech, foolishness, slander, love for the things of the world. The lake that burns with fire and sulfur has authority over all these.

None of these attitudes and behaviors is found in God. God is humble of heart, always truthful, always kind, always faithful, always pure of thought, speech, and deed. God is high above impure attitudes and behaviors, which are the spawn of Satan.

God did not create man with these destructive impulses. They must have originated in Satan as he chose to follow his own will rather than the will of God. Such unclean bondages came down to us from the wicked lords in the heavens. We did not choose them and many of us desire to be free from them. They bring misery and corruption into our life on the earth.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (I John 2:15-17)

Such purity of personality and behavior is to be true of every one of God’s people. But there is another dimension, a dimension that is not part of our moral transformation. We are holy because God has called us out from the ranks of mankind. In fact, this is the meaning of the term “church.”

So we see we are holy because God has called us to Himself. We have been called to be “saints,” that is, holy ones. And such we, are even before our personality and behavior have been cleansed. After we place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit of God sets about to cleanse us from all uncleanness (sanctify us.)

“Therefore come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (II Corinthians 6:17-7:1)

Every human being is to be wholly righteous in behavior, and Christ is able to make us so. But holiness, as distinct from righteous behavior, is a calling, and it is by degrees. We see this in the case of Aaron, the Levites, and the children of Israel. All were called out from the nations of the earth to be holy. But Aaron was more holy than the Levites; and the Levites were more holy than the remainder of the Israelites. But all composed a holy, called-out nation.

The Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was more holy than the Courtyard, because God declared it so. Those who served in the Holy and Most Holy Places had to conduct themselves in a more dedicated manner than was true of the other Jews. The Nazirite were more holy than the other Israelites, and were not as free to eat and live like other members of their race.

God is utterly holy, utterly free from spiritual uncleanness. God has called us to be separate from the world; to be members of a holy priesthood who offer holy praise to the Lord God, lifting up clean hands in adoration.

We understand therefore that holiness is characterized by cleanliness of thought, speech, and action, and also by separation to God as His special possession.

The Apostle Paul informs us that the children of Christian people are automatically holy, showing that holiness is a calling apart from our behavior.

For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. (I Corinthians 7:14)

The very Spirit that has been given to us is the Spirit of Holiness. Being given the Holy Spirit means we have been chosen to be a member of the royal priesthood, who will serve God and govern the members of the nations of saved people for eternity.

The New Testament frequently refers to us as God’s elect, meaning we have been chosen out of the world to be holy to the Lord, just as though we were a member of the Aaronic priesthood. On us is written: “Holiness to the Lord.”

What if someone who is called to be a saint continues in unclean behavior? He or she will be chastened by the Lord.

“You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.” (Amos 3:2)

You can count on being punished if you do not fulfill your role as a saint (holy one).

Have you ever wondered why God gave such specific details concerning what the Jews could eat and what was unclean to them, and then turned around with the vision given to Peter and annulled the many kosher laws? I think it was because under the old covenant the holiness consisted of external practices, while now it is the holiness of the separated heart, the circumcised heart, that God is concerned with.

As far as I can see, we have lost sight of the fact that the Christian churches consist of people whom God has called out from the world to be holy. The churches have become a business. The idea is to get as many people from the community into our church as we can. The successful pastor is the one who gathers the most people under the roof of his building.

From my point of view, this is entirely incorrect. But don’t we want to get people saved and go to Heaven? Of course, but we do not accomplish Kingdom goals by methods that are not of the Holy Spirit.

In the first place, a church is supposed to be an assembly of believers in Jesus Christ who have been called out of the world by Him to be witnesses of God to the world. They are the moral light of the world. Therefore they have to be holy in personality and deed.

The church is spiritually strong only to the point it is separate from the world. Once the church invites the world into its meetings it loses its separation, its holiness. Then, like Samson, its strength is gone.

I suppose this goes back to our concept of how people become part of the Church, the Body of Christ. If we read the New Testament we find numerous references to the fact that we do not choose Christ, He chooses us. God calls us out from the world according to His eternal purposes.

I may be accused of being a Calvinist. However, I do not fit this stereotype. I approach the Bible inductively, deriving truth from all the passages that relate to a particular subject. When we approach the Bible in this manner we are forced to confess that it is God who calls us out of the world to be saints.

I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. (John 17:6-9)

There are numerous passages throughout the New Testament that say the same thing. Our current “seeker friendly” and “seeker sensitive” efforts to bring people in our assembling are far removed from the tenor of the New Testament writings.

We are making a business of the Christian religion. Our denominational and church leaders are chief executive officers. The ambitious entrepreneur finds ways of attracting members of the local community. So our churches are filled with people who have been brought in by our efforts and not by the Holy Spirit.

Once this happens, we cannot preach discipleship to them. They were told they have a free trip to Heaven. When they are faced with the crucifixion of their adamic nature they will go to another group that tells them that any moment now they are going to be caught up to Heaven whether or not they live a holy life.

But shouldn’t we try to go out and get “souls saved”? I guess the answer is what you mean by “getting souls saved.” If you mean going forth blindly, not being guided by the Holy Spirit, to attract people by a comfortable Sunday morning service, and then telling them if they will “accept Christ they will go to Heaven no matter how they behave, then no—you are outside the New Testament when you do this.

The task of every true Christian saint is to present his body a living sacrifice that he may prove God’s will for himself. He is to earnestly seek the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit, meanwhile performing diligently the role set before him. In so doing he will build up the Body of Christ to the stature of the fullness of Christ.

But aren’t we supposed to witness to everyone? Yes, we are. We are to build up the Body by the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit. In addition, we ourselves are to be a witness of Christ.

What does it mean to be a witness of Christ? It means to think, speak, and act as God is thinking, speaking, and acting, at all times—every moment of every day and night. It means to portray by our personality and behavior. the Person, will, ways, and eternal purpose of God in Christ.

Put the two concepts together, what do we have? We have the exercise of gifts and ministries according to our particular role in the Body of Christ. The diligent use of our gifts and ministries results in the building up spiritually of us and those whom we influence until we all are true and faithful witnesses of God, being the representation of God’s Being, just as is true of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In order to be a true and faithful witness of God we must grow in holiness each day. We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He enables us to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.

Our God is a consuming Fire. This means that as we approach God, everything in our personality that is not holy to the Lord is burned away.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is utterly holy. He dwells continually in the center of the Fire that is the God of Israel. Today He is coming to His people to cleanse us from all that is not of Himself that we always may be with Him where He eternally is.

The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: “Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil—This is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him. Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar. (Isaiah 33:14-17)

Do you want to dwell on the heights? Do you want assured protection and sustenance? Do you want to see the King in His beauty and view a land that stretches afar? I do!

Let us therefore be holy as God is holy.

Part Two

“Therefore come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. “Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (II Corinthians 6:17-7:1)

Who are the “them” that we are to come out from? Obviously people who have not been called to be members of the royal priesthood.

Precisely what are the unclean things we are not to touch? We will list these in a minute.

Please keep in mind that each individual attains to holiness in a unique manner. What one individual is dealing with may not be true of another. We are to follow the Holy Spirit closely as He cleanses our personality and not look about to see if this is happening to another believer.

Let us keep in mind also that we cannot cleanse ourselves without the Lord’s help. The purification process is a combined work of the Spirit of God and us.

Holiness is our response to God. Righteousness is our response to people.

A holy personality is one that is able to distinguish between that which pleases the Lord and that which displeases the Lord, and chooses to embrace the good and utterly renounce and reject the evil.

God taught Israel by the kosher laws, directions concerning clothing, statutes regarding skin diseases and mildew, that some things were holy and clean and some were not. Such prohibitions were preparing the way for the actual cleansing that marks the coming of the Kingdom to us—the cleansing from unclean spirits.

Using filthy language, while it may not offend people, offends God. Therefore using filthy language has to do with holiness rather than righteousness.

Some acts are both unrighteous and unclean—lying, for example.

God draws people into increasing holiness. We can have a passion for holiness, a desire to live in God’s holy Person.

The closer we draw to the Lord Jesus the more holiness becomes an issue; the more we understand what is clean and unclean for us personally.

God has given us His Spirit of Holiness so that we may become aware of what is clean and what is not clean.

There are some activities that always are unclean and apply to everyone. Adultery, fornication, sexual perversion are always unclean. Gathering with worldly people, smoking, drugs, alcohol, moving pictures that contain profanity and scenes of lust are not acts of holiness..

There are unclean spirits that surround us and sometimes are in us. As we press forward in Christ we become aware of these. As soon as we do we are to confess our temptation to Christ and seek His help in turning away from them. We can go for years with a practice of thought, word, or deed and suddenly become aware that what we are doing or desiring is unclean in God’s sight.

What was permissible for us last year may not be permissible this year.

“Come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing.”

What is an unclean thing?

A lying spirit is unclean. The Spirit of Christ is truthful.

A gossiping, slandering spirit is unclean. The Spirit of Christ never speaks evil of anyone.

A spirit of fear or timidity is unclean. The Spirit of Christ is courageous.

A spirit of physical lust is unclean. The Spirit of Christ is pure.

A spirit of rage and murder is unclean. The Spirit of Christ is peaceful and compassionate.

A jealous spirit is unclean. The Spirit of Christ is not envious of another.

All forms of witchcraft are unclean, including fortune telling, tea leaves, astrology, seeking to bring something to pass by saying or imagining it or believing it into existence. The Spirit of Christ looks only to God for wisdom, knowledge, and power.

Arrogance and pride are unclean spirits. The Spirit of Christ is humble.

Flirtation is an unclean spirit. There is no flirtatious spirit in Jesus Christ.

Narcissism, self-worship, is an unclean spirit. The Lord Jesus is occupied with God and people, not how wonderful He is or looks.

Covetousness is an unclean spirit. The Lord Jesus desires nothing that God has not provided for Him.

Personal ambition and seeking preeminence are unclean spirits. The Spirit of Christ is content and does not seek to be exalted.

Seeking to control someone is an unclean spirit. The Lord Jesus invites us to go His way, but only as the Father guides Him.

Rebellion against God and other authority is an unclean spirit. The Lord Jesus obeys His Father and expects us to obey all authority that is placed over us.

Exhibitionism, showing off, is an unclean spirit. The Lord Jesus does not deliberately behave so as to attract attention to Himself.

A lust for partying and entertainment is an unclean spirit. Jesus is not bound by a desire to be entertained or to party. He finds His joy in God.

Self-pity is an unclean spirit. The Spirit of Christ does not pity itself. We have so much to be thankful for!

Excessive pessimism and optimism are unclean spirits. The Lord Jesus steadily and faithfully serves the Father. He is not pessimistic or optimistic, or enthusiastic; just confident.

Antipathies and affinities are unclean spirits. Because we detest or embrace another person may not be any indication of his or her true worthiness.

Unforgiveness is an unclean spirit. God is quick to forgive those who confess their sins and turn away from them.

Complaining is an unclean spirit. Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Hatred ordinarily is an unclean spirit. However there are circumstances under which hatred is not unclean. There are times when God exhibits hatred.

Meanness is an unclean spirit. God is never mean. Impatience is an unclean spirit. Jesus Christ is exceedingly patient.

Impatience is an unclean spirit. Jesus Christ is exceedingly patient.

Harshness is an unclean spirit. God is gentle with us.

Treachery is an unclean spirit. The name of Jesus Christ is “Faithful and True.”

Gambling is an unclean spirit. We are to look to God and trust Him for all things.

Recklessness is an unclean spirit. Christ is not reckless. He waits on the Father until He knows what to do.

Boasting and bragging are unclean spirits. We are to exalt the Lord and glory only in the cross.

Stubbornness is an unclean spirit. The meek, teachable person shall inherit the earth.

Filthy speech is an unclean spirit. This is the manner in which the demons speak.

Avarice, an immoderate desire for wealth, is an unclean spirit. We cannot serve God and money.

Anything we cling to, that we can’t let go of, is an idol. It is unclean. We are to worship God alone.

Homosexual behavior and other perversions are unclean spirits. They are Satan’s substitute for love. All forms of sexual perversion reflect the curse on the Serpent that compels him to eat dust.

Romantic thoughts also come from unclean spirits and are a substitute for genuine love.

Man-hating and woman-hating are unclean spirits. When people are abused by other people it opens the door for demons to occupy them, although this appears to be unfair.

Cruelty is an unclean spirit. Christ is never cruel to anyone.

Silliness, joking, foolishness are unclean spirits. Silly joking and constant foolishness may appear harmless, but they often are the result of immoral thoughts and actions.

A desire to be seen as rough, tough, and violent is an unclean spirit. The Lord Jesus does not have to present a rough, violent appearance. Legions of powerful angels await His commands.

Stealing and dishonesty are unclean spirits. The Spirit of Christ always is totally honest.

Selfishness is an unclean spirit. God teaches us to be generous; and when we are, other people are generous with us.

Brawling is an unclean spirit. It appears that the demon world is a scene of continual bickering and fighting. We are not to partake of it.

Malice is an unclean spirit. Malice is very present in the spirit of the world. We are to refuse to let it touch us.

Being without mercy is an unclean spirit. Christ is always kind and merciful. An unmerciful person shall be shown no mercy.

Greed is an unclean spirit. The greedy person does not trust in God, only in the things he is able to possess. He is not concerned with the needs of others.

Anger ordinarily is an unclean spirit. However there are circumstances under which hatred is not unclean. There are times when God exhibits anger.

Taunting ordinarily is an unclean spirit. However there are circumstances under which taunting is not unclean. There are times when God taunts His enemies.

Unbelief and doubt are unclean spirits. They are not found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Judging, accusing, and criticizing ordinarily are unclean spirits. Under specific circumstances they can be of the Lord.

Spite is an unclean spirit and one of Satan’s primary characteristics. A spirit of spite is not found in the Lord Jesus.

The spirit of revenge in us is unclean. Vengeance belongs to God alone.

Blasphemy is an unclean spirit. It is not found in God.

Supplanting and defrauding are unclean spirits. Korah and Absalom are examples of people who have a supplanting spirit.

All forms of self-abuse, masochism, suicide, are unclean spirits. These are not found in Jesus Christ.

Gluttony is an unclean spirit. This spirit is not found in God. It is not holy.

Laziness, sluggishness, carelessness are unclean spirits. The examples of the foolish virgins and the man who buried his talent reveal to us the Lord’s attitude toward laziness and carelessness in the things of the Kingdom.

Quarreling, arguing, debate, contention are unclean spirits. They are not part of the image of God.

Bombast, pompousness, pretentious. God is not bombastic. This is not the image of God.

All of the above attitudes and behaviors originated in Satan. When we yield to them we are worshiping Satan and eating food sacrificed to idols. We are sinning against God. Through the authority of the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit we can be delivered from every unclean spirit.

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (I John 3:8)
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. (Revelation 2:14)

The closer we draw to the Lord the more that holiness of thought, word, and deed becomes an issue. It is profitable to keep on asking the Lord to draw us closer to himself; to make us increasingly holy.

There are areas of activity that are clean in themselves but become warped through the influence of unclean spirits. Sexual activity is one such activity. Personal ambition is another.

The Lord Jesus did not cast out any of these spirits while He was on the earth, because the Day of Vengeance, the Day of Atonement, had not come. Christ drove out only the demons that produce physical afflictions.

But the most important work in the sight of God is not physical healing but the casting out of unclean spirits from His people, and finally from the entire world. This is the work of the Kingdom of God.

But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you. (Luke 11:20)

None of the thoughts, desires, words, or deeds, mentioned above is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Through the authority of the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit we can be set free from every one of these.

We cannot just put a stop to these in our personality. Only the Holy Spirit can illuminate what is in and around us, and deliver us.

To always be with the Lord Jesus where He eternally is—in the center of the Person and will of the consuming Fire of Israel—ought to be our most intense desire. It is the place of unequaled love, joy, and peace.

How does one deal with an unclean spirit in his or her personality?

  • Confess the behavior as being sin.
  • Denounce it as being fit only for the Lake of Fire.
  • Renounce it, declaring forcefully that this spirit is to have no more place in us.
  • Resist the devil in the future, concerning this attitude or behavior, and keep drawing near to the Lord Jesus.

“BE YE PURE FOR I AM PURE,” SAYS THE LORD.

(“Being Holy”, 4338-1)

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