On Being Holy…

He had quite the outfit!
Especially for the time and place where he was living and working.
Snowy white robes with a rich blue tunic on top, decorated with scarlet pom-poms interspersed with small bells around the hem.
Elaborate embroidery on the special sash tied around his waist.
And on top of the robes, a breast plate made of gold and filled with a dozen precious stones, held in place with epaulets that were also jewel encrusted.
And to top it off? A snow white turban on his head.
And finally, the last piece, a gold medallion looped over the turban so that it rested on his forehead. It was engraved with the words, “Holy to The Lord”. Everywhere he went, in all that he did, when he was wearing his priestly garments, Aaron was marked. Every Israelite knew that he was “Holy to The Lord”. And every High Priest of Israel after him was supposed to wear the same outfit. With this same piece as the final fixture, declaring them “Holy to The Lord.”

That word “holy”.
It can trip us up.
It is often defined as “perfect”.
And it does have that connotation.
But it also means “set apart” or “sacred”.
In Exodus God tells the people that when Aaron wears the medallion, he will transfer holiness to all the things he uses in the worship of the Lord. (Exodus 28)
Every item he touches will be made pure.
And it will be set apart, sacred, special to God, dedicated to Him and His use.
No longer common or ordinary.
But sacred.

Fast forward to the New Testament.
After the cross.
After the veil in the Temple that separated the Most Holy Place from the rest of the world was torn in two from top to bottom by the hand of God.
After the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, He became the permanent High Priest. (Hebrews 4)
He sits at the right hand of God, interceding for us that have chosen to follow Him.
And because He is The Lamb of God, the Great High Priest, the One who was set apart by God as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, He transfers His sacredness to us.
Not because we have earned it in any way.
Not because we are inherently special.
Or super saints of any kind.
Simply because He is holy.
When God the Father sees the Final High Priest, Jesus, He also sees that I am with Him. In Him. Covered by HIS righteousness. Because I have none of my own to offer. But now, I am made holy because He is holy.
Set apart.

And then God takes it one step farther.
Ephesians 1 says that I am “sealed by the Holy Spirit”.
And Peter declares that we who are Christ-followers are “a royal priesthood”.
I don’t know what the Holy Spirit’s seal looks like in the heavenly realms.
But I envision it as a kiss on the forehead from God, a mark that tells every being in the spiritual realms Whose side I am on.
Or perhaps it is a medallion that says, “Holy To The Lord”.
The transfer of the Great High Priest’s holiness to me.

Set apart by Him from the rest of what is common.
Set apart to do a special work.
Things He has prepared in advance for me to do.
After He saved me by His grace and His grace alone. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Set apart to live differently than the rest.
And bringing Him glory by fulfilling His awesome to-do list for my life.

But here’s the thing.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that this seal is just for me.
That I am the only one who is “a royal priesthood”.
Nor does it say that it only applies to those who are in vocational ministry.
Or those who know their Bible best.
Have been to seminary.
Or have conquered certain patterns of sin and self.

It is the mark of every Christ-follower.
From the newest spiritual infant to the most spiritually mature.
Any Christ-follower is sealed with the Holy Spirit.
And marked as a royal priest.
Who is “Holy To The Lord”.

If you envision every believer you know with that on their forehead, would it change how you treat them?
Even if they worship differently than you?
Even if their skin tone is different than yours?
Even if their language is different?
Even if they drive you crazy?

And what about looking in the mirror?
If you could see that medallion on your forehead, would it change how you see you?
Your past?
Your present?
Your future?
Your current choices?

Because that is how God sees you.
Yes, He is very aware of how you messed up yesterday and will again today.
He is very aware that you are a work in progress.
Still struggling with that habit or those choices.

But God also sees you as holy.
Totally set apart.
Dressed in robes of shining righteousness.
Crowned with gold.
With a medallion that says, “Holy To the Lord”.

The instant you accepted the offer of salvation, you were dressed that way.
So how will that change what you do today?
Will you accept that you have been saved by grace alone?
Will you let gratitude for that grace change how you live today?
Will you live up to the outfit you were given?
Will you choose to live out the declaration that has already been made by God about you?
Or will ignore that you have been set apart?
How will you live out the fact – not the feeling – that you are “Holy To The Lord” today?

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