By David McNeely
The Hope of Holiness
Hope was for the Israelites what hope is for us. They were waiting for the Messiah to show up for the first time. We are waiting for Him to return.
But for what do we long in his second coming?
Some might argue we long for rest. Others might say it is eternity. While many answers could be given I would suggest holiness is the deepest longing of our soul.
To be holy and to act holy was the great hope of Israel and it is also the great hope of the church today.
Zechariah was a prophet of God who was both a priest and a prophet living in the time after the Northern Kingdom of Israel had fallen to Assyria (722 BC) and the Southern Kingdom of Judah had been overtaken by Babylon (587 BC). Babylon was defeated by Persia in 539 BC and Zechariah (along with Haggai) began preaching in 520 BC.
Zechariah challenged the people of God to finish the Temple of God for the worship of God. The Temple was the place where man could dwell in the presence of God.
The prophecy closes by pointing to our future state of holiness:
“And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the Lord.” And the pots in the house of the Lord shall be as the bowls before the altar. And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the Lord of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day.”
Bells of the horses? Pots? These things are holy?
The point he is making is that everything will be used for the Lord’s glory. Nothing will be used for any other purpose than what is good and right and pure. All things great and small will be set apart for the Lord.
Because of the life and death of Jesus, we have been declared as Holy now. We still sin but we are declared holy and righteous. This is declarative holiness. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, the day is coming when we will live completely holy lives.
No more lust.
No more greed.
No more gossip.
No more anger.
No more pride.
No more sin of any kind in any way in thought, word, or deed. This is practiced holiness. It is practical holiness. Our destiny is holiness.
Deep down inside THIS is what we long for. We long for the day when no one sins against us and we don’t sin against anyone.
We will finally view others as image bearers of God and not as a means to an end. Work will be a delight. Our tongues will encourage and our hands will help.
We will walk in the light and always want his watchful eye on us. We will be free. We will be Holy. A world without sin and filled with what’s Holy – that’s a hope come true.