Leviticus 19:1-2 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, You shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.
This Word from God, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy, should not be viewed as a commandment, but as a statement of what God can and is willing to do. Because He is God and He is holy, He can also make us holy.
Many Christians feel that they can only become holy after they get to heaven. They equate holiness with their standard of perfection and say, ďOnly Jesus was perfect.Ē However, the majority of the people in Jesusí day didnít think He was perfect. He was accused of being a glutton and winebibber (Matthew 11:19), a blasphemer of God (Mark 2:7; Matthew 26:65), and an illegitimate child at birth (John 8:41).
The idea that we can only become holy after going to heaven comes from an unbelieving heart. It questions Godís ability to transfer His holiness to His people. In the same manner, the Israelites questioned Godís ability to provide for them while they were in the wilderness between Egypt and the promised land. Yea, they spoke against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Psalm 78:19.
Among those who believe holiness can be experienced in this life, many attempt to attain it through their own efforts. They abstain from all of the things they consider sinful, believing that the absence of sin equals holiness, which it does not. No amount of discipline of the flesh can produce holiness. It cannot be obtained through human effort. That seems to have been Cainís error. Cain was a tiller of the ground (Genesis 4:2). The ground represents manís flesh nature, since he is made from the earth (Genesis 2:7). So Cain, being a cultivator of the ground, brought from the produce of the ground an offering to God and it was rejected (Genesis 4:3-5). It is impossible to please God with anything produced from our fleshly efforts. Neither fleshly efforts nor fleshly concepts will please God. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:6-8.
Not committing sinful acts does not make one holy; neither does the doing of good works. Holiness cannot be found in human nature. No matter how much human nature is disciplined and cultivated, it will not produce holiness. That doesnít mean it is permissible for our human nature to be unrestrained. There should be restraint, but that alone will not produce holiness. Actually, lawlessness is one of the greatest sins against the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Now in our text God said, You shall be holy, for I am holy (Leviticus 19:2). Only God is holy. So in order for us to become holy, we must appropriate His holiness. There must be a transference of His holiness from Him to us. Our sin nature must be removed and His holiness must take its place. It is a matter of displacement. For example, let a tube full of black golf balls represent you and your sinful nature. Then take white golf balls, representing the Lordís holiness and begin putting them in one end of the tube. Every time you put a white ball in one end, a black ball comes out of the other end. The principle of displacement is at work. Christ is invading your life and as He does, He conquers your sinful nature and overcomes it. He invades one aspect of your life after another. He is the White Horse Rider who goes forth conquering and to conquer (Revelation 6:2).
Of course, the displacement principle doesnít just automatically happen. It happens for those who believe and take the initiative with their faith to make it happen. Then said Jesus unto His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. Matthew 16:24-25.
The way the displacement was presented was actually a little over-simplified. Those little black balls donít just fall out. The sin nature has to die, and of course, it is reluctant to do so. Consequently, it is not a pleasant experience. So if we want to be holy, we have to be dedicated to the means. It would be great if the Lord would make one swing with His two-edged sword and the work would be completed. But it doesnít happen that way. It is more like cutting a dogís tail off one inch at a time. The Lord invades one aspect of our lives at a time. It would probably happen much faster if we gave the Lord greater access. We tend to put up walls. It is difficult to lose that self-preservation instinct. The greater you love, the Lord the easier it will be to submit to the work of the cross. This subject is covered quite thoroughly in the twelfth chapter of Hebrews.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus despised the shame of the cross, but because of the joy set before Him, He endured it and was set down at the right hand of the throne of God. He knew the reason for the cross and could see the joy of the result it would bring. And if we are going to be able to endure the work of the cross, we will also need a revelation of the glory to follow. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18.
Hebrews 12:3-4 For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners
against Himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds.
4 You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
Consider Jesus who ďendured such contradiction of sinners against Himself,Ē because you will experience the same thing if you enter into the process of experiencing His holiness. Who were the sinners that opposed Christ? They were the religious Pharisees and Sadducees! And it will be the religious in this day that are against those who despise the shame and endure the cross. Non-Christians could care less. Christians that are not dedicated to the work of the cross are the sinners that will be hostile to those who are. A manís foes shall be they of his own household. Matthew 10:36. Half-hearted Christians have always been the persecutors of the dedicated.
Hebrews 12:5-6 And you have forgotten the exhortation which
speaks unto you as
unto children, My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint
when you are rebuked of Him:
6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.
We need to understand the chastening of the Lord. It is not punishment. God does not chasten us because we did something wrong. He chastens us because we did something right. It is those who seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness that are privileged to be chastened by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.
Hebrews 12:7-8 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for
what son is he whom the father chastens not?
8 But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons.
God is dealing with us as sons when He chastens us. Now it is necessary for us to understand what a son is. In Bible times a male child was not considered a son at birth. A son was one who had come to maturity. He could receive his inheritance and have full use of his fatherís name. When a young man came to the time appointed of the father (Galatians 4:2), he was declared a son. Now I say, that the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the fatherÖWherefore you are no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians 4:1-2,7.
The young child is under tutors and governors (Galatians 4:2), until the father receives him as a son. Then he comes under the training of the father. And so it is with us. When God receives us as sons, He relates to us as a Father. His chastening is the evidence that we have been received as sons. The KJV of verse 8 is rather straightforward. It says that if we are not chastised by God, then we are bastards and not sons. Regardless of our religious upbringing, all Christians are not sons. All are not under the corrective discipline of the Father. Romans 8:14 says: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The fact is many Christians are not being led by the Spirit of God. Considering the vast number of Christians in the world, they are only a remnant. It doesnít have to be that way. All could come into sonship, but all wonít. Many are just interested in their sins being forgiven and going to heaven when they die.
Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
Our attitude is important. We want to have a right spirit toward the Lord when He is dealing with us. Peter said, Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christís sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. I Peter 4:12-13.
After God brought Israel out of Egypt, it then became necessary to get Egypt out of the Israelites. So He began dealing with them. But when they faced a difficult trial, they murmured and complained instead of worshiping God. They even reached a point where they preferred to go back to Egypt (Numbers 11:1-4).
Jesus gave a dire warning to those who would enter the work of the cross, that they should count the cost. If you enter into this, be sure you are willing to go all the way. If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Luke 14:26-28.
If one is to be a son, then the Lord must be first in every respect. We must not only love Him more than father, mother, wife, children, brethren, sisters, and our own lives, but we must also love Him more than our church organization, or doctrines, or spiritual truths and principles, more than our own interpretations of the Scriptures, and even more than the ministry He has given us. Our relationship with the Lord must come before anything else.
Hebrews 12:10-11 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own
pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.
11 Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Listen to what verse 10 says, He chastens us for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. His chastening is how He transfers His holiness to us. We cannot become holy in any other way. He says, You shall be holy, for I am holy (Leviticus 19:2). Because He is holy, He can transfer His holiness to us. He does it by the principle of displacement. He eliminates a certain aspect of our sinful nature, and puts His nature in its place.
Copyright © 1996 by Henry DuBose