Who wants holiness? It’s not something top of mind, is it? Actually, God wants holiness, and He wants us to want it. Besides the fact that holiness is part of His character, He provides pictures so we completely understand our need, our inadequacy and His provision for our holiness.
The second time the word holiness appears in the Bible, it is part of the 43-verse description of Aaron’s priestly garment in Exodus 28. You probably skimmed over it in your through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan. Before I share the verse, it’s important to understand that the tabernacle and everything associated with it had a bigger purpose than what’s visible on the surface. It was all “made according to pattern,” and if God took the space in the Bible to explain it all in detail, we have to know there are some pictures. That is the case with Aaron’s priestly garment. “And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.” (Exodus 28:36) See the picture here of the garment? Look at the turban, and notice the gold rim at the top. It has an inscription, “Holiness to the Lord.” Why is that? The reason comes two verses later in verse 38: “That Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead that they may be accepted before the Lord.”
Don’t miss God’s amazing picture. Aaron, the first high priest, is a type of Christ, the ultimate High Priest. God knew that even though He required the Israelites to present offering and gifts, these would not be presented in total purity. Only by intercessor Aaron’s wearing of that “Holiness to the Lord” piece of garment would those gifts be accepted by the Lord.
And that’s the only way we are accepted—by Christ’s holiness. We have none. We try to hallow ourselves and our offerings and efforts for God. But our best efforts and gifts are inadequate, just like the Israelites’. So God made the holy provision to make us acceptable. Jesus Christ. “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6) “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)
What is it about Jesus Christ that makes us acceptable to God through him? His holiness applied to us when we were saved. When Jesus died on the cross, the eternal swap happened—we received His holiness, and He received our sin. We are positionally holy through Christ. Shouldn’t this make us want to be practically holy? We’ll discuss that in a future post.