Holiness Unto the Lord
James Smith, 1865
"On that day even the harness bells of the horses will be inscribed with these words: 'Holiness unto the Lord.' And the cooking pots in the Temple of the Lord will be as sacred as the basins used beside the altar." Zechariah 14:20
This text refers to a time of general, if not universal, holiness; when the Lord's people will not only consecrate all they have unto the Lord — but will visibly mark it as His. They will not be ashamed, nor afraid to own, that not only themselves — but all they have, is the Lord's; consecrated to His service, to be used only for His honor and glory. Thus carrying out the apostle's admonition: "Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do — do all to the glory of God." O that there were such a spirit in every one of us now!
Holiness is the beauty of the Divine nature; and in holiness more than in anything else, shall we resemble God, when mortality is swallowed up of life. In habit, holiness is the opposite of depravity; in act, it is the opposite of sin. It is inward and outward conformity to God's holy law, which is "holy, just, and good." It flows from God's eternal election as its source; for we were chosen in Christ Jesus, before the world began, that we might be holy. God determined to have a people, who would be pictures of His holiness, therefore He made choice of us, and set us apart to show forth His praise. We were chosen to salvation, as the end; through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth, as the means.
Holiness flows through redemption. Christ also loved us, and gave Himself for us, that He might sanctify and cleanse us. He gave Himself for us — that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Holiness is produced by the Holy Spirit, whose office and work is to make us holy. The instrument He uses is the Word; as Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them through Your truth, Your Word is truth." The manner in which He effects it, is by showing us what sin is, leading us to fear it, obtain the pardon of it, setting the heart against it, and thus delivering us from its power, guilt, and consequences. "By the fear of the Lord, men depart from evil."
Holiness is manifested in a variety of ways. The blessed Spirit gives us to perceive its beauty — and then we admire it, seek it, and cannot rest until we obtain it. The possession of it is manifested by our rendering ourselves as living sacrifices to God, holy and acceptable, as a reasonable service. As the effect, we become the Lord's servants, voluntarily engaging to serve Him, in holiness and righteousness, all the days of our life. The result is, we become consecrated to God, we are the Lord's, all we have is the Lord's, all we have and are, is employed for the Lord.
We are write on all that we ARE, on all that we HAVE — "Holy unto the Lord!" We are no longer live unto ourselves — but unto Him who loved us, and gave Himself up for us. We are to have . . .
holy sorrows, and
pursue holy objects.
Nothing appears so lovely, so desirable — as holiness! The great reason why we desire Heaven is, because it is a holy place, filled with holy people, engaged in the holy worship of a holy God!
See then, what we should BE — holy. This was God's end in our election, redemption, and effectual calling. This is God's design in all our trials, troubles, and exercises; they are for our profit — that "we may be partakers of His holiness."
See also what we should DO — write, "Holy unto the Lord!" on all we possess. We have no right to possess, use, or wear — anything on which we cannot write, "Holy unto the Lord!"
Christian, is there anything in your house, in your business, or on your person, on which it would not be fitting to write, "Holy unto the Lord?" If so — ought you to possess it, practice it, or wear it?
Would such an inscription look well on some of our costly furniture, fine clothing, or entertainments? Would it? Do not shun the question — but let conscience take it up, examine, and return an honest answer.
We should use all that we have — as consecrated to Jehovah's service and praise —
our mental powers,
our physical strength,
— all should be used for God, and for His glory!
When about to employ any of these, we should pause, and ask, "Will putting them to this use honor God? Will it serve His cause? Will it bring praise to His most holy name?"
All who see us, dwell with us, or visit us — should be able to perceive that we have written upon all we have and are, "Holy unto the Lord." Until they can, we are not what we ought to be — and God's end in what He has done for us, and conferred upon us, is not answered.
Brethren, what cause for humiliation, have we! How low before God we ought to lie! What deep and heart-felt repentance should we exercise! Can we look back — and not be sorry that we have been so unholy? Can we look within — and not be sorry that we are so unholy? Can we look around — and not grieve, that there are so few evidences of holiness in our present circumstances? Surely, if we saw things aright, if we felt aright — we would sigh and cry unto God, that He would forgive our past unholiness, and beseech Him to sanctify us wholly — and preserve us, body, soul, and spirit, unblamable unto the day of Christ!
We should act upon the admonition of Paul: "Having therefore, dearly beloved, these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Then would we exhibit the evidence of adoption presented by John: "Every one that has this hope in him, purifies himself, even as He is pure." Then should we be acknowledged as belonging to the company spoken of by Peter: "You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." And then would be brought to pass in us the saying of the prophet, "Their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people; all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord has blessed."
O Spirit of holiness, come down and by the finger of Your power — write, "Holiness unto the Lord!" upon our hearts! Enable us, as the effect, to write upon all we have and are, upon all that we purpose, plan, and do — "Holiness unto the Lord!" in large and pleasing characters, such as all may understand!