How often do you think about holiness? How often does holiness play into your decision making and attitudes? How often do you take the time to grow in and pursue holiness? If you are like me the answer is probably, “Not enough.”
Last week in my personal Bible reading, Ps. 93:5(b) arrested my attention and continues to challenge me. The Psalmist says, “Holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.” As radiance befits a diamond, or laughter befits childhood, or romance befits marriage, so holiness befits God’s house. Because God is “Holy, Holy, Holy” (Is 6:3) it is only fitting that His house reflect His holiness.
But this begs the question, “What is God’s house?” Well, for the Psalmist it was the temple in Jerusalem. It was constructed, ornamented, and tended to in such a way so as to reflect the holiness of God. As the worshipper came, he was dramatically reminded of the holy character of the God he worshipped. As foreigners looked on, they would have received witness to Israel’s holy God.
But with the advent of Jesus Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, all of this changed. God’s house is no longer at the temple in Jerusalem. His house is His blood-bought, Spirit-indwelt people. Two things follow:
First, the local church (the people not the building) is the house of God. He meets with and dwells with His people when they gather in the name of Jesus (Matt 18:20). Paul told the Corinthian congregation, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?…God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” (1 Cor 3:16-17). Peter wrote, “You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house….” (1 Pet 2:5). The local church is the house of the Lord and therefore ought to be marked by holiness. Our relationships to each other, our attitudes, actions, and words, our approach to and involvement in worship ought to be reflecting the holiness of our God, so that when we come and “foreigners” observe, all will know that God is Holy.
Secondly, the believer’s physical body is the house of God. Paul emphasizes this truth to the Corinthians when he writes, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor 6:19-20). Remember, holiness befits God’s house. Our bodies, then, are also to reflect the holy character of our God. They are not to be used for sexual immorality, abused by food or drink, or enslaved to any passion. Rather, we are to obey Paul’s exhortation in Romans 6:13, “Present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” God in Christ has redeemed us, body and soul, through the precious blood of Jesus and now indwells us by His Spirit. Holiness, then, befits our bodies.
So, in corporate life and in personal life, may God grant us the grace to reflect His holiness. For, “holiness befits your house, O LORD, forevermore.”
Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.