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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 5: The Holiness of God *
Introduction: The Bible tells us repeatedly that God is holy. What
does that mean? This is not a question meant only to tickle our
mind, because God commands us in both the Old and New Testaments of
the Bible to be holy as He is holy. ( 1 Peter 1:15-16; Leviticus
11:44.) If we don't understand what it means for God to be holy, we
are not going to be able to understand an important goal for our
life. Let's see if we can figure this out by plunging, once again,
into our study of the Bible!
- Holy Time
- Read Genesis 2:2-3. This tells us that God "made" the
Sabbath holy. What does this context suggest that
holiness means? (First of all, holiness comes from God.
He is the author of it. Second, to be holy is to be
different from the other days. Notice that holiness and
blessings seem related. A holy day is a day set apart
from others, a special day, a blessed day.)
- Read Psalms 86:8-10. What aspect of God's holiness is
like the Sabbath? (God is set apart. There is no god like
our Lord. He alone is great and wonderful.)
- Read Exodus 20:11. What is the relationship between this
holy time and the Creation? (It is a celebration, a
remembrance of God's creative power.)
- If these thoughts about God's holiness also apply to
us in some way, what part of the holiness puzzle can
we understand? (Holiness comes only from God. It
means we are set apart and likely blessed. It means
that our lives are to be a celebration of the power
and creativity of God.)
- Read 1 Samuel 2:2. As we launch into a discussion about
the holiness of God and our holiness goal, what important
point does this teach us? (We are not going to reach
God's level of holiness. There is no one like Him! The
good news is that we should not get discouraged when our
holiness from time to time seems to be in trouble.)
- Read Exodus 20:8-10. In what way does refraining from
work have anything to do with holy time? (It is a time to
focus on what God has created, not what we are creating.
It shows that holiness is from God, not us. We don't
create holy time by doing something.)
- What other piece of the puzzle does this reinforce
about us being holy? (We cannot make ourselves
- Holy Mind
- Read 1 Peter 1:13-16. Did we just make a mistake? Peter
tells us to be holy in all that we do. Does that mean
that we can create holiness?
- Look again at 1 Peter 1:13. What "deed" is being
done here? (None. Peter is simply telling us to
focus on the gift of God's grace. Pay attention.
The grace (holiness?) that we receive is "given,"
- What about 1 Peter 1:14, where we are told to be
"obedient?" (As we focus on our Lord, we learn more
about His will. Peter essentially says, "You've
learned, so don't live out your evil desires.")
- Read 1 Peter 1:17-19. Are works a part of living a holy
life? (Yes. While we cannot make ourselves holy, God
expects us to live a life consistent with being holy. The
first goal is to pay attention to God's will. "What can I
do today to advance the Kingdom of God, rather than
advance the cause of sin?")
- What does living as "strangers" and "in reverent
fear" have to do with our holiness goal? (We are not
to become too comfortable with life here. We are not
part of this world. We are part of the Kingdom of
God. Thus, we "fear" (meaning respect, are concerned
about) God. We are not concerned about the world
except to advance God's kingdom.)
- What difference does it make that we are ransomed by
Jesus' sacrifice of Himself, rather than by the
payment of money? (It makes the way we live
personal. Jesus paid the price for our sins with His
life. It does not get more personal than that. We
need to take the goal of holiness and make it
- Read 1 Peter 1:20-21. What argument do you see for grace?
(We "believe in God" through "Him" - through what Jesus
has done for us at the cross and in His resurrection.)
- Read 1 Peter 1:22. This clearly shows that what I've been
teaching is wrong, right? It says that we "have purified
yourselves by obeying the truth." What could be more
clear than that?
- Look at the rest of this verse. Are you able to grit
your teeth and love someone who you do not find
lovable? How about "deep love" from the heart? (We
all know that deep love for "the brothers" comes
only from a heart changed by God. A heart that
realizes that God died a horrible death for us, is a
heart that responds with gratitude and love.
Brotherly love is a reaction to God. Thus God, not
human will, is its source. However, it is true that
a "habit" of obedience (as opposed to a "habit" of
disobedience) helps on the path towards holiness.)
- Comparative Holiness
- Much of the book of Job consists of Job declaring his
innocence while his friends are insisting that he is
being punished for his sins. The drama comes to a point
where Job declares that he wants to get God in a room and
make God answer some of Job's questions about fairness
and justice. In Job chapters 40 & 41 God appears to Job
and tells Job that they will have a "trial," but that it
is Job who will be answering the questions. Let's read
Job 42:1-3. What is Job's initial response to God? (I
spoke out of ignorance. I did not begin to understand the
power and glory of God.)
- Read Job 42:4-6. What reaction does the glory and
holiness of God cause in Job? (Humble repentance. An
understanding that we are not in a position to question
the justice and nature of God.)
- How does that fit into our discussion earlier about
what it means to be holy? (Being holy is to be "set
apart." God is "set apart" from us. We cannot ever
hope to achieve the holiness of God. We accept the
holiness gift He gives us and determine to walk the
path leading to holiness. Walking that path does
not depend on whether we understand all of the
problems of life. What we understand is that our
God is great, loving and holy.)
- Read Luke 5:1-5. Put yourself in Simon Peter's place.
What are your thoughts about Jesus' command? (They had
cleaned up for the day. Jesus is asking them to dirty up
their equipment so they will have to do it all over
again. They catch fish at night, and they have worked
hard all night. Jesus is asking them to work overtime.
They are the experts in fishing, Jesus is a preacher.
They have superior knowledge about this subject.)
- Read Luke 5:6-8. Why does this show that Peter is a
sinful person? He obeyed Jesus? (Peter realizes that he
is not the smart guy who is simply indulging Jesus. He
realizes that He is in the presence of the power of the
universe. The holy has met the obedient unholy, and
holiness requires a separation!)
- Read Luke 5:10 (last part). Why should Peter not be
afraid? (Because Jesus is on His mission to reconcile a
Holy God with sinful humans. Our journey towards holiness
is to "catch men," to advance the Kingdom of God.)
- Friend, will you make holiness your goal today? Will your
goals, aims, desires and actions, be directed towards
advancing God's Kingdom? Will you make that choice right
- Next week: God the Lawgiver
* Copr. 2012, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.