The Holiness of Christ

The Holiness of Christ

  • Ghandi: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so much unlike your Christ.” 
    • Christians criticized, but Christ lauded. 
    • Sometimes, deficient view of Jesus; other times, hypocritical actions of Christians. 
  • Yet, if Jesus was simply a Mother Teresa type character, why was he crucified? 
    • He was “hated without a cause” (John 15:25). 
    • No justifiable reason as to why they hated Him—except that His presence and teaching hi-lighted their sin: “the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19). 
  • The people crucified Jesus because he was holy. 
    • Dom’t like people who make us feel inferior; tear them down and do what we can to preserve ourselves. 
    • Jesus was a constant holy presence among the darkness; and they wanted to snuff it out. 
  • If we are going to pursue holiness, reflecting God and His character in all we do, then we must first understand the holiness of Christ (which is key to understanding our personal holiness). 
  • Three Words: Sinless, Separate, Sacrificial  

Sinless 

  • Our struggle against sin is a daily conscious effort; yet the testimony of scripture is that Jesus was absolutely perfect and sinless.
    • “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”—Heb. 4:15
    • “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.”—1 Peter 2:22
    • “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”—2 Cor. 5:21
    • “In Him is no sin” —1 John 3:15
  • Jesus made this clear himself:
    • “Which one of you convicts me of sin?”—John 8:46 
    • “I always do what pleases Him”—John 8:29
    • Jesus was aware of His own perfection; not just a lack of sin, but a performance of the will of God. 
  • Imagine being around someone who is like this: who always does everything right, who never seems to mess up—many times we separate ourselves from these type of people because they highlight our own faults. 

Separate 

  • Story of student who aced every test and broke the curve. One day she completely flunked it. 
    • When teacher approached her she broke down crying, saying it was intentional because she was a senior in college, still didn’t have a date, and felt so isolated. 
    • People often hate and isolate those that they feel are much better than them—because they fear them. 
  • Two occurrences when this happens with Jesus: 
    • Mark 4:37-38
      • Notice the reaction: from fear of the storm to fear of their teacher; the reaction to holiness. 
      • Not simply concerned about His power, but His person: “What kind of man is this?” 
    • Luke 5:4-5 
      • Peter doesn’t hone in on this possible business venture; he recognizes that this man in His presence is something completely other. 
      • This is an alien presence; foreign from Him in every way—so He asks Jesus to leave. 
      • This should be our natural response; not to high five Christ, but fall on our face before He brings us to our side. 
  • Recognize that we don’t have this type of sinless separation; in fact, it is our own imperfection that makes us feel so unworthy in the presence of Christ. 
  • Yet the story of the gospel is that, it is due to our own imperfection that His perfect sacrifice was given. 

Sacrificial 

  • “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”—John 1:29
    • In this John links back to the sacrificial system. 
    • Lamb given for sacrifice had to be “without blemish.” 
  • It is through the holy, unblemished sacrifice of Jesus that we are forgiven of our iniquity and clothed in His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:27). 
    • Our holiness then isn’t due to our works of righteousness (Tit. 3:5) but because of the righteousness of Christ. 
    • My pursuit of holiness then isn’t an attempt to be perfect apart from Christ, but to live our the perfection I have within Him. 
    • As we have discussed before, to live out the separation that is worked in us by God through Jesus. 
  • The atoning work of Christ is what makes it possible for us to be holy in our conduct: “That we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 

Conclusion 

  • God’s holiness often thought in the context of separation; yet within Christ we experience presence and incarnation. 
  • This God who, in His holiness, doesn’t keep us at arms length but calls us closer to Him by forgiveness and grace. 
  • So too as the church we are called to embody this same holiness: not to keep a cold distance from the world, but to call people to live out the holiness we are pursuing through the power of Christ.