My oldest daughter could declare firmly that she knew that this was something her Dad always did.
I know, because she used that classic phrase, ‘if there’s one thing I know about …’ That’s always a good indication.
She then proceeded to accurately nail down what her Dad was like, because it was indeed something that he always did. That helps her know her Dad, that shapes what she knows about her Dad not only about that thing, but other aspects that makes her Dad the way he is.
So the only begotten Son said this is what the Father is like. He knew because He knew His Dad very well indeed – they had known each other perfectly throughout eternity and beyond. Not only did He know what His Dad was like, He embodied it to the degree that those who knew Him, knew the Father. Indeed the only real way to know the Father was to know the Son.
One thing the Son said to His followers about what it was to be like the Father, was to be holy. That instruction sounds preposterous because of how high, how seemingly unattainable and how incredible that instruction sounds.
Not only be holy – but as one of His followers would state, be holy even as the Father in heaven is holy.
Well. How on earth is that supposed to happen? I remember conversations around that between brethren. Some categorically stating that no one was perfect and only God is holy. Some questioning that in the light of what they saw in scripture. What was more disappointing, though, was how little there was about if we could, how we could be holy.
Thankfully, there were other far more helpful conversations about being holy that pointed to the habits of the Son that He would encourage His disciples to follow who would then encourage the early church to follow these habits and thus be holy.
It would be easy to get the impression that it’s going back to a works based approach to faith as though we only get God’s approval if we do stuff – we work to earn our salvation, as it were. That’s not what I am promoting at all. It does go back to the response that if we behold the love we have experienced in Christ and if we recognise who we are now as the children of God we embrace the grace that then stimulates a response to be holy. We are loved, so we say thanks by living to that love.
So what are these holy habits that I am harping on about? Ah. Good question. Well …
(to be continued)
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden