Have you read about Israel’s defeat at Ai (Joshua 7)? It surely magnifies the truth that Almighty God is HOLY, He means what He says, and He must be feared. The Lord told Israel not to take any of the accursed things that they found in Ai, but Achan took some of these items for himself.

Have you read about Israel’s defeat at Ai (Joshua 7)? It surely magnifies the truth that Almighty God is HOLY, He means what He says, and He must be feared. The Lord told Israel not to take any of the accursed things that they found in Ai, but Achan took some of these items for himself. As a result, God was very angry, and Israel was defeated. God commanded Joshua to find the man who did this and to tell Israel, “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.” (Joshua 7:13). Here is what happened: 


“Then Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, the silver, the garment, the wedge of gold, his sons, his daughters, his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his tent, and all that he had, and they brought them to the Valley of Achor. And Joshua said, ‘Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day.’ So, all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. Then they raised over him a great heap of stones, still there to this day. So the LORD turned from the FIERCENESS of HIS ANGER…’” (Joshua 7:24-26). Please understand who our God is. 


In this hour, the Lord is restoring holiness to His Church. What is “holiness”? First, what it’s not: Holiness is not legalism. It IS NOT rules and regulations (i.e. no makeup, no jewelry, men must have short hair and wear white shirts and black pants, no dancing, no playing cards, no meat, etc.) Following these rules will not make you holy, but it can make you proud and self-righteous. 


Holiness (Qadosh, Hebrew – Hagios, Greek) means “sacred, to cut, to be separated, set-apart.” Being holy means to be set apart to God, loving Him above all else, and living a morally pure life, consecrated for His purpose. You must be separate from the ways of the world. 


Holiness IS all about your heart and your decision to be set apart for Jesus, walking in a manner that pleases Him. Over the years, certain churches have made laws that put their followers in bondage and hindered the spread of the gospel. We must not fall into that trap. In the coming days, as conviction of sin increases, there will be a revival of holiness, with a renewed passion to love and please the Lord. Let’s build on biblical standards and Kingdom principles, not man-made rules. Having said this, you can be certain that your freedom in Christ never allows vanity, immodesty, drunkenness, or any form of immorality. 


There are many teachers out there who want to make you feel comfortable. Nevertheless, true Christianity requires obedience. Obedience has nothing to do with earning your salvation—Jesus paid for that with His blood. But it does have everything to do with keeping your salvation. 


Do you know the difference between justification and sanctification? Justification speaks of your salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. You are in right standing with God (justified) because of the shed blood of Jesus. There is no need to earn your salvation, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8). 


If you are God’s child, you stand before Him as righteous because of the perfect righteousness of Jesus. “For by one offering, He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). You are holy because you have been bought with the blood of Jesus and you are not your own. (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). 


Sanctification is the process of being conformed to the image of Christ, the process of being made holy; it is not by faith alone. Even though it is the work of the Holy Spirit, there is a lot required of you. You must cleanse yourself, and perfect holiness. (2 Corinthians7:1). You must flee lusts and pursue righteousness (2Timothy 2:22), submit to God and resist the devil (James 4:7), and struggle against sin (Hebrews 12:4), etc. You can see that this is not a passive work of grace. 


To say you are holy means that you have been set apart by God’s grace for God’s purpose. Your allegiance is no longer to your success and happiness, but to the advancement of His kingdom. Your obedience is essential. Every thought, every desire, every word, every choice, and every action must be done in a spirit of humble surrender to the Word of God. 


How many times has the Lord asked you to spend time with Him in prayer? How many times has He asked you to be His witness, to do something inconvenient, give your money or time, etc., and you made an excuse and didn’t do it? How many times has He told you not to do something, and you did? The Lord wants me to tell you that you are proving to Him that you don’t love Him like you say you do. 


Over the years, we have considered “worship” to be singing spiritual songs, and it is. But worship is much more than that. Serving God with your whole heart is also worship, whether in the church or the workplace when you do all things heartily “as to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:23). Nevertheless, I’m afraid we are neglecting the most significant form of worship. Obedience is the highest form of worship! It is through your obedience that you move beyond songs and service, to truly deny self and prove your love for the Lord. Don’t ever think obedience is legalism – obedience is worship! Obedience is an expression of love! (John 14:15).


I’m sure you have heard many good messages over the years. You sit in church and say, “Amen!” But then you mostly do what is convenient for you and what makes you feel good. Dear Christian, don’t you realize you have rebellion in your heart? You want to do things your way when you feel like it. If someone dares to correct you, you become offended and turn against them; this is pride. The Lord wants to expose these things. Will you humble yourself and admit this, or will you make more excuses? Will you ask God to forgive you now, truly repent, and choose to obey the Lord? 


God is holy! Isaiah 6:3 provides this powerful declaration. The prophet Isaiah, at the moment of his calling, received of vision of the Lord sitting on his throne with seraphim on either side, and one seraph called to the other seraph and said, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” Not once, three times! The word “holy” is used over 650 times in the Bible! 


Look at Leviticus 19:2. Israel was set apart for God (Exodus 19:3-6); therefore, they were to be holy. But was it only the priests and Israel? Because holiness is the essence of God’s character, it becomes our calling as His children. Apostle Peter quotes Leviticus: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:14-16, ESV). 


Holiness should be seen in our lifestyle. We who are declared holy need to ask, “How well is holiness being seen in my everyday life?” Consider Romans 6:19 “…For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” 


How then are we to be holy? We are to be holy in all our conduct, holy in every aspect of our conduct. Holiness is not to be compartmentalized into certain “religious” areas of our life. Holiness is a way of life that affects everything we do. Holiness is a lifestyle, rather than mere conformity to a list of rules. We are to be holy by not living according to our former lusts. Holiness is a lifestyle that is very different from the way we lived before we were saved. 


When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, He called them to live in a way that would set them apart from the Egyptians and the Canaanites. We must live as God requires if we are not to be conformed to this world. (Romans 12:1-2). We are to be holy by imitating God. As Jesus once said, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48). 


We must first come to know God, and then, by His grace, seek to conduct ourselves in a manner that imitates Him. We must love what He loves and hate what He hates. We, like Him, are to be merciful, just, and kind. We become holy as we are conformed to His image. 


The standards of holiness are set down by God in His Word. In the days of our unbelief, we were ignorant, but now God’s Spirit dwells within us to enlighten our minds to understand His Word (1 Corinthians 2:6-16) and to empower us to obey it. (Romans 8:1-4). Holiness is accomplished in our lives as the Spirit of God enables us to know God and to obey His commands, through His Word. 


Why does God want you to be holy? We are spiritual beings living in a physical, carnal body; this is God’s design. When we are born again our spirits are regenerated – the Holy Spirit living in our spirit. We are now to live being led by the Holy Spirit. We must put off the old man and put on Christ, walking in the newness of life, in holiness, separated unto God. Do you understand? 


The carnal man hinders spirit life; they war with each other. The carnal mind hinders our ability to hear God’s voice. Without holiness, no one will see God. Neither will you see the things that He is doing. When the Lord tells you not to sin, He has a reason. He has a plan and purpose for your life. Sin gets in the way and can even prevent you from fulfilling your God-given purpose. 


Understand that your physical body has God-given appetites: food, sex, love, the desire to be successful. The Lord has good reason for all of these. Nevertheless, these appetites must be controlled. With your surrender and the help of the Holy Spirit, you can gain victory over your flesh.


The call to holiness is quite clear, and it’s not popular. It is a call that God has made of His people since the exodus. Those who attempt to market the gospel and appeal to the masses would say God has called us to be happy. But those who know the Scriptures must acknowledge that God has called us to be holy in an ungodly world. It is holiness that sets us apart from the world, set apart for God. It is holiness we are called to pursue and to practice, to the glory of God and for our good. 


However, we are not to pursue holiness for the sake of being holy. This can make you self-righteous. We pursue holiness to be surrendered and abandoned to God. You are separated from the ways of the world so you can be 100% committed to Jesus Christ. Are you walking in holiness? I am praying that in the coming days the conviction of sin will increase. There must be a return to holiness. 


Many in the Church can’t see our pitiful condition because we have been deceived by the enemy. We have offered God religious ceremonies instead of a personal relationship with Him, and we have become weakened, compromised, complacent and sinful. The corrupt ways of our society have influenced the Church, and we don’t even recognize it. We are far from being holy; we are merely a watered-down version of what Christianity was meant to be. 


Open your eyes, brothers, and sisters! Pray fervently for conviction of sin and the gift of repentance to fall upon the Church. When you mention repentance or hell, it offends people because they are confronted with the reality that they must stop doing some of the things that please them. Some people think no one can truly live a holy life and God doesn’t expect them to, that’s why Jesus died on the cross. For sure, Jesus suffered for our sins to reconcile us with a holy God. 


Therefore, we must truly repent and obediently follow Jesus for the rest of our life. I hope you believe me. God does expect you to be set apart from the ways of the world, walking in holiness. This is the Word of the Lord!