Sunday, May 10, 2009

Way of Holiness - The Way of the Lord

Holiness - fundamental nature attribute of God
What is the most fundamental nature attribute of God?
I believe it is holiness.

In the Book of Revelation, last book of the Bible, John, the author, was taken up and brought before God in His throne room in Heaven. This is what he said he saw, “In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle” (Rev 4:6b-7).

What were the creatures doing, day and night, before God? In verse 8, we read, Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."

To me, this painted to us, holiness is one of, if not, the most fundamental nature attribute of God. Just imagine, day and night the creatures never stop saying the words, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.

The Old Testament Prophet, Isaiah witnessed the same
In Isaiah Chapter 6, this is what we read,
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory." (Isaiah 6:1-3)”

Although, in this case, it may not be in Heaven, all the same, when God is on His throne, the creatures are there saying the same thing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord [God] Almighty”.

Woe to me!
How then must we respond to this knowledge?
Isaiah’s cry gave us the clue. This is his (Isaiah) cry,

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." (Isaiah 6:5)”

What happened afterward was this:
“Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." (Isaiah 6:7)”

[It is interesting to note that before Jesus became the Atonement by dying on the cross, during the time of Isaiah, guilt could be taken away and sin atoned for, in this way. In our time, it is best to leave any other way apart from the atonement by Christ, Jesus, to the prerogative and sovereignty of God.]

Revelation changes life
This revelation changed Isaiah’s life. With this encounter, God commissioned Isaiah as one of the most important prophets of Old Testament times. Isaiah also went on to prophesize about the Messiah (Isaiah 53 for example).

Way of Holiness
I believe Isaiah also prophesized to us the way of the Redeemed of the Lord. This is found in Isaiah 35:8-10

And a highway will be there;
it will be called the Way of Holiness.
The unclean will not journey on it;
it will be for those who walk in that Way;
wicked fools will not go about on it. [a]

No lion will be there,
nor will any ferocious beast get up on it;
they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there,

and the ransomed of the LORD will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

a. Isaiah 35:8 Or / the simple will not stray from it

It is interesting to see what, some of the Bible scholars said concerning the verses:

Wesley's Notes
A way - The high - way and the way are not to be taken for two different ways, but for one and the same way, even a cause[wa]y, which is raised ground, and a way.  Holiness - The people (walking in it) shall be all righteous.  For those - But this way shall be appropriated to those persons above - mentioned [earlier verses]; the weak, and blind, and lame, whom God will lead and save. Though fools - The way shall be so plain and strait[straight?], that even the most foolish travellers cannot easily mistake it.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
highway-such a causeway (raised way, from a Hebrew root, "to cast up") as was used for the march of armies; valleys being filled up, hills and other obstructions removed (Isa 62:10; compare Isa 40:3, 4).

way of holiness-Hebraism for "the holy way." Horsley translates, "the way of the Holy One;" but the words that follow, and Isa 35:10, show it is the way leading the redeemed back to Jerusalem, both the literal and the heavenly (Isa 52:1; Joe 3:17; Re 21:27); still Christ at His coming again shall be the Leader on the way, for which reason it is called, "The way of the Lord" (Isa 40:3; Mal 3:1).

Mathew Henry's Concise Commentary
The way of holiness is the way of God's commandment; it is the good old way. And the way to heaven is a plain way. Those knowing but little, and unlearned, shall be kept from missing the road. It shall be a safe way; nothing can do them any real hurt. Christ, the way to God, shall be clearly made known; and the way of a believer's duty shall be plainly marked out. Let us then go forward cheerfully, assured that the end of this way shall be everlasting joy, and rest for the soul.

This is how I view the Way of Holiness
1. I do not think the word “Holiness” is just a name, i.e. it is not just to name the way. Rather, it tells of how the way is to be, i.e. the way is about holiness.
2. It is the way of the Redeemed of the Lord, i.e. the way of the Redeemed is holiness.
3. It is the way travelled by the Redeemed of the Lord. The unclean do not journey on this way. Neither do the lion or ferocious beast (you can call them, the principalities of darkness) travel on it.
4. Even the simple can journey on it. Everyone just need to (& must) follow Jesus who is the Leader on this highway.
5. Even though the unclean, the lion, the ferocious beast do not journey on this highway, they are trying to get you off the highway.
6. The destination of this highway is the Kingdom of God in Heaven, the New Jerusalem, the everlasting joy.

Holiness is reiterated in New Testament
1 Peter 1:14-16
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he [the Lord] who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."

2 Corinthians 7:1
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

What are “these promises”? The preceding verses tell us that if we separate ourselves from wickedness, from darkness, and from idolatry, God will receive us, and God will be a Father to us and we will be his children.

Hebrews 12:14
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:10
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.

Are you journeying on this highway – Way of Holiness? If you are redeemed, you ought to be on this highway. If you have not accepted the Lord as your personal Lord and Saviour, you need to do that first before you can get onto this highway. Talk to a Christian if you have not yet accepted Jesus into your life. Do not let anyone or anything get you off the highway. Always remember, God said, “Be holy, because I am holy”.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions – Not that I have arrived, but that we may encourage each other to press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:14). In fact, Lord, help me to be holy as you are holy.

PS1: How come this article is here? I believe the practice of holiness is a high expression to God. If it is in the will of the Father, maybe I will write more on this subject in the future.

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