The Highway of Holiness
Certain Jewish believers have come in and are requiring the Gentile converts to be circumcised. This was the covenant seal of the Jewish people that they belonged to God.
Paul’s rebuke of Peter was due to these Jewish believers requiring circumcision for salvation.
Galatians 2:11-16 New King James Version (NKJV)
11 Now when [a]Peter had come to Antioch, I [b]withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; 12 for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing [c]those who were of the circumcision. 13 And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, [d]why do you compel Gentiles to live as [e]Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 16 knowing that a man is not [f]justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.
And so the Jewish council, with the Apostle James as its leader comes up with satisfactory requirements:
19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from [f]sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.
Abstain from these things: things offered to idols, eating of animals that have been strangled, tasting or eating blood— three ceremonial laws and one moral law- sexual immorality.
Although the not eating of blood goes all the way back to Genesis- the life is in the blood. Paul had told the Corinthian church they could eat meat offered to idols, but that demons were associated with those festivals were they sacrificed the meat.
“Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.” I Corinthians 10:18-21 NKJV
These new converts in Christ were to look and act different then their surrounding society.
Ceremonial laws- the Jews saw these things as extremely nasty and unholy. The apostles wanted the Gentile converts and Jewish converts to be a new religion- Christianity. Not a modified Jewish religion, a new called out and consecrated church, of which Jews and Gentiles would become brethren and love one another.
The Tabernacle of David (Amos 9:11-15, just a reference)
The Jewish remnant that survives God’s judgment would become one Body along with born again Gentiles to make up ONE church.
Why the moral law?? Sexual immorality was so a part of the Gentiles culture, they would need help in separating from it.
Why not murder? Because even in the most deprived societies, murder was still seen as wrong.
Sexual immorality was so embedded in their culture, so much a part of them as a people, from idol prostitution to pedastry, sexually immorality was upheld as a moral and standard of the Roman Empire life.
Born again of the Spirit- but the mind needs to be renewed daily.
“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6:18-20 NKJV
The is the main point of this Scripture is found in vs 14:
“Simeon [Peter] has rehearsed how God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people [to bear and honor] His name.” Acts 15:14 AMPC
God’s purpose for this age is to take from all nations a people, separated to Him for His name. This Body of Christ, gathered out of the present world system, prepares herself as the Bride of Christ. Includes both Jews and Gentiles as a called out Body of Believers.
“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,” Ephesians 1:4 NKJV
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (NKJV)
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what [a]fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what [b]communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you[c] are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”
17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”
What does it mean to be separated? It means to be different, in short; to be holy. We are set apart, separated and holy unto the Lord.
There are things you cannot do anymore as a child of God, but it’s not just about what you cannot do- it’s about living a life above reproach, living a life where you know you are different.
Ex: the longer I live here, the more I realize I do not belong here. This world is not my home. I do not fit in
There is a rising flood of evil and immorality in these last days that the church must live above to be able to keep reaching our generation with the gospel and making disciples. There is a way to be in the world but not of the world and there is a way to live above the evil and immorality. It is on the highway of holiness that only the redeemed can walk.
The enemy of our souls makes most Christians afraid of the word “holiness” and many will call it legalism, but we need to embrace holiness and a holy life by renewing our minds to the truth of God’s Word.
EX:” I can tell what legalism is- UPC, mowing the lawn in my shorts
Holiness ONLY comes through being born again. You cannot be holy on your own merit. Holiness doesn’t come through obeying the law- holiness comes through putting on Christ’s righteousness.
Galatians 2:21 New King James Version (NKJV)
21 I do not set aside (Greek “frustrate”) the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died [a]in vain.”
The word frustrate means to disannul, take out as no value, shun, nullify, make void. We frustrate His grace when we try working to approach Him. We do not do things to move God, we respond to His move already accomplished by grace
We frustrate His grace when we fail to respond to His correction- correction is grace to get us back on God’s path.
We frustrate His grace by returning to sin.
If someone is still living in sin and claims Jesus, ask them what then did they get saved from? “He came to save us from our sins”
Grace is not freedom to do what we want to do, but rather what we ought to do. Grace brings enabling power to live holy, not freedom to sin and live unrestrained lives.
We are holy because He is holy.
2 Corinthians 5:21 New King James Version (NKJV)
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
And now, because of Jesus and grace, we are obligated to live IN holiness-
1 Peter 1:13-19 New King James Version (NKJV)
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your [a]stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with [b]corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
1. A holy life is a protected life.
Isaiah 35:8-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
8 A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean shall not pass over it, But it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, Nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there.
But the redeemed shall walk there, 10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
God’s laws are boundaries for us to live within in order to protect us and keep us safe.
No is a grace word. God’s no’s are for our safety and security.
Ex: Solomon’s flip phone, God would never give you a smart phone until you were mature enough to handle it
He is trying to get us to a place where He can use us mightily for His purposes- allow Him to have His way in you.
Obey His Word. Grace is a free gift and you cannot do anything to earn your salvation, but obedience is the fruit of your faith. No obedience means your faith is dead.
Safety is found in dwelling in His presence and seeking His face. No man can snatch you out of His hands, but a wandering sheep is not protected and is ripe for attack from wolves.
Joy is found in the Lord- the Joy of the Lord is my strength!
2.A holy life is a strong life.
Job 17:9 New King James Version (NKJV)
9 Yet the righteous will hold to his way, And he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger.
NO man can give strength like the Lord, and He gives strength to those who seek to know Him and obey Him.
Let me tell you something, you need the Lord’s strength in this life. You cannot do it on your own. I am a strong person and I have gotten through a lot in my life on my own- but the end of my ways was destruction.
Rely on God’s strength.
2 Corinthians 12:10 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
I am strong when I do things God’s way. I am strong when I obey. I am strong when I die to myself and live for Christ.
In the world, I may appear wounded and weak, but in Christ I am strong!
3. A holy life is a blessed life.
Psalm 24:1-5 New King James Version (NKJV)
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.
2 For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the [a]waters.
3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in His holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, Nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive blessing from the Lord, And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Blessings are always found in obedience. Live holy and pure, get the blessings of God. Live in sin, get the fruit of sin- destruction. The wages of sin is death.
Ex: couple living together wanted me to pray for them
4. A holy life is an anointed life.
Psalm 45:7 New King James Version (NKJV)
7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
The anointing and holiness go together and Jesus understood the connection between being anointed and living a holy life.
Just because one experiences an anointing and God’s power (like Samson), does not give them license to sin.
Judges 16:20 New King James Version (NKJV)
20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.
This is a cautionary tale.
5. A holy life is a long life.
Proverbs 9:10-11 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you.