Part 12 – To be holy (continued)    

Paul made it clear in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that it is “the God of peace himself who makes us perfectly holy.” We don’t make ourselves holy; he does. 

It’s what God got across to the Israelites too, in telling them to observe the seventh day each week as a day of rest. “You must observe my Sabbaths,” he told them through Moses in Exodus 31:13, “as a sign between me and you for the generations to come, that I am the Lord who makes you holy.” 

That’s why they set aside the Sabbath each week, to remind them that God was committed to making them holy. And having them do nothing but rest on the Sabbath got the point across that HE was the one doing it, not them. They had nothing to do with it, just like they had nothing to do on the Sabbath, but rest. 

And how important was it to God that they got that point? Verse 14: “Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you.” And so holy was the Sabbath day to God that “anyone who violates it must be put to death, and anyone caught working on that day (and not resting) must be cut off from his people.” So if they didn’t get the point of the Sabbath rest they were banished, expelled, thrown out, and even put to death (verse 15), because they didn’t belong with God’s people. 

That’s because God’s people are those who grasp the importance of verse 17, that “the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.” They get the point as to why he rested. It was because “his work was finished,” Hebrews 4:3. It was done. He had everything figured out. And his Sabbath rest pictured that. 

And it still does. That’s why “There remains a Sabbath-rest for the people of God,” verse 9, because it gets the same point across to us that God got across by the Sabbath-rest he told Israel to observe, that this life of ours is not our doing, it’s his. He’s the one making us holy, not us. 

The Sabbath rest HE took at the beginning of creation is still a reminder, therefore – to us, just as it was to the Israelites – that “I am the Lord who makes you holy.” We don’t make ourselves holy, he does…(more on this tomorrow) 

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