About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
Righteous And Holy
The Greek word
"dikaios" is translated as "righteous" in the New
Testament. This word suggests
being in right standing with something or someone. We
often view righteousness in moral terms, but that is a secondary meaning.
The primary meaning of righteousness as it pertains to a Christian
and God is that God has declared the Christian to be righteous apart from
any moral goodness the Christian might possess.
The Greek word
"hagios" is translated as holy in the New Testament.
This Greek word suggests a separation from something or someone.
We often view holiness in moral terms, but that is a secondary
meaning. The primary meaning
of holiness as it pertains to the Christian and God is that God has
declared the Christian to be separated from the general population apart
from any moral goodness the Christian might possess.
When we promote the
secondary meaning of righteousness and holiness at the expense of the
primary meaning we get the cart before the horse, so to speak.
First and foremost, both righteousness and holiness is a
status that God confers on the Christian.
Our right standing before God and our being set apart unto Him has
been declared over our lives. As
Christians, God views us as being both righteous and holy, even though, in
all practicalities, we are neither. This
declared status is a direct result of the cross of Christ.
When we put the cart
before the horse in this matter, it leads to an unbiblical legalistic
humanism in our attempt to find acceptance with God.
We hope our good works will please God sufficiently enough for Him
to view us as righteous and holy, when in fact; He already views us as
righteous and holy. The
Biblical fact is that we can never be totally morally righteous and holy,
so God has graciously conferred that status on the Christian.
the above in mind, read 1 Peter 1:15 and 16.
"But just as he who
called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy,
because I am holy.'"
Peter quoted Leviticus
19:2 when he wrote "it is written: 'Be holy because I am holy.'"
Many Old Testament Hebrew language scholars say that "be
holy" in Leviticus 19:2 is not a command.
It's a declaration, a statement of fact, that the Jews, without a
doubt, will be a people who God has set apart unto Himself.
For those Jews, holiness was a status conferred on them by God,
despite the fact that they were not always morally holy.
Furthermore, when Peter
told his readers to be holy, the verb "be holy" is a Greek
aorist passive imperative verb. Aorist
suggests the action of being holy is not in reference to any particular
time frame. Passive suggests
the action of being holy is performed on the Christian by an outside
source, which in context is God, not us.
Imperative suggests the action of being holy is a command.
I believe Peter was commanding us (imperative) to decide (aorist)
to allow God to make us holy (passive), whether it's a status of holiness
or the outworking of holiness in our lives.
In the end, it is God who first declares us to be holy, and then
creates holiness in our lives, that is, if we allow Him the opportunity.
Let's not get the cart before the horse in this matter.