As God’s people, we are called to be holy which is also understood to be “set apart,” or in Hebrew, קדוש kadosh, holy.
“For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44).
You “shall be holy” seems to indicate that there is a process involved. When we are born again, we are made clean. But from that point forward, we are obligated to live a life that says that we are not partakers of the ways of the world but set apart from it. Walking according to His Word – what we do and don’t do – identifies us as His set apart people. To be clear, how we walk is not how we are saved but an expression of the fact that we are saved.
When Jacob returned to Canaan from Padan-Aram, the Bible records that he encountered a man who had the face of God. For some reason, a wrestling match broke out and at some point Jacob’s hip was dislocated. It was also during this encounter that Jacob was given the name “Israel.” Consider the notion that Jacob becoming Israel is akin to being born again. He was given a new name and, from that point forward, had a distinctive walk that identified him as Israel – God’s set apart people. It cannot be overstated that Jacob’s distinguishable walk came as result of his encounter with the Creator.
Likewise, those who are born again of the Messiah are called upon to walk separately from the world and according to the instructions given to us in the Word of God. We are defined by how we walk; people know that we are His by how we live our lives.
“This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21)
That sounds pretty simple. The challenging part, however, is that our nature doesn’t want to do that without a fight. Our instinct is to do what we want to do; this is mankind’s issue from the very beginning. Adam knew what was right but allowed himself to be seduced to partake of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Finally, if we resist or refuse the call to set ourselves apart from the world, God will use the world – its leaders, governments, and laws – to set us apart from them against our will. Present circumstances suggest that this be happening right now. He’s allowing people, government, regulations, movements, and laws to force His people to make a choice. If He is allowing the world to do that, it suggests that we haven’t been diligent to set ourselves apart of our own volition.
Let us commit ourselves to correcting that. Each of us has it within us to decide to follow His direction and walk in obedience to His Word. In this way we announce to the world that our desire is to live a set apart life unto the Holy One of Israel.