What does ‘right with God’ mean? Since God is holy, we have to be holy if we want to spend eternity with Him,
‘…without holiness no one will see the Lord.’ Hebrews 12:14b
God said to the Israelites,
‘I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.’ Leviticus 11:44
God gave them laws. As mentioned in a former blog (Expanded short Gospel), Deuteronomy 6:25 says, they will be ‘right’ with God if they keep the laws,. Yet with meticulous repetition, God proved in history, that it does not work. To keep laws cannot transform lives (as always there were exceptions). Most of the heroes of the Old Testament, like Moses, David, Hezekiah and others, sinned. That is why the Old Testament helps us to appreciate God’s brilliance in the New Covenant – Jesus was the Sacrifice who paid the wages of sin which is death, once for all.
By that profound but simple exchange, we are freed from the burden of our sins. Now we see God’s grace and mercy in action:
- Because of the Cross, we are declared holy.
- Because we are holy in principle, the Holy Spirit can settle inside each individual who accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on his/her behalf.
- Then the Holy Spirit begins to transform us, to make us holy from the inside out (it is the opposite of the Old Testament Law).
- The Holy Spirit helps us say good-bye to our sinful nature,
‘You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.’ Ephesians 4:22-24
What does that mean? What does God want? What does ‘holiness’ mean? Scripture defines it in easy to understand language,
‘But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ Galatians 5:22-23a
Yet it is important to understand that without the Holy Spirit it is impossible,
‘….through the sanctifying work of the Spirit.’ 1 Peter 1:2b
To summarise: God is wonderful,
‘I will proclaim the Name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.’ Deuteronomy 32:3-4
To think that it is possible to be in this wonderful God’s presence – eternally! The condition – to become like Jesus with the help of the precious Holy Spirit.
NB! What the Old Testament also proves is that there is no such a thing as generational or national holiness. That is why the emphasis is on the individual in the New Testament. Person by person God builds His nation – through Jesus,
‘…because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.’ Revelation 5:9b
God’s way is the only reliable solution to the ‘old man’ sinful syndrome: Jesus on the Cross forgave our sins because He paid the penalty of death for us. Then God the Holy Spirit in us, helps us get rid of the old man.