Earlier this week I posted part one from my reflection in church this past Sunday about the relationship between God’s holiness and God’s love. Today I wanted to post part 2 which is our own call to be holy and to love and what God’s own attributes of holiness and love mean for how we understand this call.
2. Our call to be holy and to love.
It is then out of God’s love, shown in Jesus the Messiah and God’s willingness to step into his creation and redeem what has been lost, that we have the ability to live a holy life. But again our own holiness is only determined by the holiness of God.
We live as holy persons, only as we live according to the holiness of God which is founded in his existence apart from this very world in which we live.
This is why we can’t do it on our own, nor can we do it with out God’s guidance, example, commandments, and Spirit. We cannot know the holiness of God through our own observational skills; he has to reveal himself to us so that we can see who we are to be like, and why he has empowered us through his spirit to be able to live like him. This is why over and over again in Leviticus, God’s commands for his people are tied directly to his own holiness. Be holy for I am holy. Our identity and our value are found only in the God who created and redeemed us, but that means our identity and our value are of far more importance than we are ever led to believe when we base them on things of this world.
And, if as we’ve seen earlier, God’s holiness is directly tied to God’s love and central to his very being, then our holiness must also be directly tied to our love.
We must be people of love who respond to God’s own love by living in the holiness that he desires. We must also be people who love as God loves; without reservation and without conditions. Our love for others, our enemies, our neighbors, our families, our friends, the stranger and the alien, the poor both here and around around the world, must look like God’s love. And as we said earlier, God’s love is defined by the personal sacrifice that enters into the condition of the other and gives of one’s self no matter the cost. It’s not a simple emotion, it’s not even a complex feeling of compassion or empathy, our love as defined by God’s love is and active, radical movement toward every person we meet in the very direction of their greatest need for living.
Part 3 of this series will be posted later this week and it will deal with the ramifications on our reality if parts 1 and 2 are indeed true. I would love it if folks commented beforehand and how these ideas might shape or reshape their own views of reality.