Psalm 96:6-9 “Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.”
Rules or relationship.
There can never be just one distilled statement that defines Christianity because it encompasses every facet of our lives. But, often this statement points to the epicenter of where it all begins. If you do not have a relationship with the God of Heaven, cannot be a Christian.
Religion teaches that to act like Christ makes you a Christian. True Christianity begins with a change in our nature.
Nicodemus was religious, yet, he came to Jesus because he saw something his religion could not provide. There is something that God places in every human being that draws us to Himself. The evidence is ever before us. Nature declares His existence.
Psalm 19:1 “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.”
Nature is a witness for us.
Romans 1:20-21 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
In our passage this morning, we read:
“O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness:”
I love that the Bible provides the definitions for us and gives the process for how we are to carry out that which God commands. My Heavenly Father tells us:
1 Peter 1:13-16 “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
Many accept such shallow displays of that which God desires to draw us deeper. We can worship in song, but, song is not the only vehicle for worship, nor should it be. Worship can be corporate or as a church, but, again, it is not the sole vehicle to be used. Jesus tells us:
John 4:23-24 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
The little “s” spirit, is our spirit that came alive when we accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. The truth is that which the Word of God teaches us; that to which the Holy Spirit bears witness and speaks to our heart. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines holiness this way:
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary – holiness
HO’LINESS, n. from holy. The state of being holy; purity or integrity of moral character; freedom from sin; sanctity. Applied to the Supreme Being, holiness denotes perfect purity or integrity of moral character, one of his essential attributes.
Holiness. Purity. Righteousness.
These are characteristics that I can try to imitate but never perfect. Only God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, can make me holy, pure, and righteous. Holiness becomes more beautiful, the more I immerse myself in it.
I am allowing God to clean me up. Listening to the Holy Spirit as He guides me and leads me into all that is holy is a lifelong journey. I cannot accept any other version of holiness. Man cannot be my example. We feel let down when we hear stories like that of Joshua Harris or Marty Solomon; worship leaders who left their positions with questions about their faith.
We hear of pastors whose sin demands their removal from office. We see those around us falling and wonder; “Where is God?”
Romans 5:20 “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:”
Grace is God-given. It is a gift from God. I receive it for that which I lack. I receive it to give to others.
If we are to obey the command to be holy, we must be able to accomplish it. God would not tell us to do that which is impossible without the means to achieve it.
Holiness is beautiful. Worshipping God in holiness is personal, intimate, and touches our innermost being. Let us clear the path for us to enter into such a place. Confession of sin and repentance is just the beginning. And begin we must.