Meet my Coffee Mug
This is my coffee mug. It is a 16oz (yes oz, not ml) mug with a snap-on lid and handy open/shut spout. It holds just the right amount to last my meal and keeps my brew warm and toasty throughout. I’ve been using this mug for years now and, unless I’m dining out, I’ve almost never had a coffee without it. No one else uses my mug. Everyone knows it is set apart as mine alone. It sits by, clean and handy, ready for use, whenever I may call upon it.
Paul makes reference to set apart things in encouraging young Timothy to holiness…
“In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” (2 Tim. 2:20-21)
This being “set apart” is what Biblical holiness is all about. In fact to be “set apart,” “separated from others,” “different.” is exactly what the Biblical word “holy” (Hebrew qodes; Greek hagios) means. In regards to God, it refers to objects and people that God has set apart for His own use and service.
The Christian is one who has willfully offered himself to God as God’s possession, for God to use as He pleases. The Christian keeps himself clean and handy, ready for use, whenever God calls upon Him.
“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:13-16).
Paul is not asking something impossible here, nor is Jesus when He commands “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48). The call is to be mature in your faith, committed to Christ as His alone, an “instrument for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”
As Pastor Andrew urges us, citing St. Paul, citing the prophets, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.’ [Isa. 52:11; Ezek. 20:34,41] (2 Cor. 6:14-17).