When God made the heavens and the earth, everything He did was good. And yet none of the six days of creation was considered holy. “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy” (Gen 2:3). Have you ever wondered about that? God made the stars and planets and it was good – but not holy. God made the animals and the trees and it was all good – but not holy. Not until Day Seven do we find God looking around at creation and saying, “Yes, this is particularly good day, I’m going to make it holy.”
What made the seventh day more special than the rest?
I’ll bet you can guess the answer already, but put your hand down for a moment and think about another question first. What does holiness mean? What does it mean to sanctify something? Now think of all the different definitions of holiness you have heard and apply them – if you can – to the creation week. Remember, the first six days were not holy – only the seventh day was sanctified.
- “Holiness means sin avoidance.” If that is true then the first six days of creation must have been disqualified by sin. Yet God said those days were all good. Nope. That’s not what holiness means.
- “Holiness means moral perfection.” Ditto. There was no moral im-perfection in the creation week; God only does good work. So that can’t be what holiness means either.
- “Holiness means law-keeping.” What law? We are talking about the beginning of the world here. There was no law and no one to keep it.
- “Holiness means set apart to God.” Really? So you’re saying the whole earth is not the Lord’s, that He made little bits of it and said “this part is not mine – this unholy bit is set apart to someone I haven’t made yet”? That’s a bit of a stretch. I don’t think that is what real holiness is.
- “Holiness is godliness.” Quite aside from the redundancy of this definition, my question stills stands. Why was only the seventh day considered holy? If it was a “godly” day, what made the first six less godly?
My point is this: We have been sold a bunch of useless definitions of holiness. They don’t actually tell us what holiness is. This is because they come at holiness from the wrong angle – the human angle – and as such they are flawed and incomplete. Holiness is a God thing. He is holy and He makes other things, like people and creation days, holy.
So what is holiness?
As we saw in the last post, holiness means wholeness. To be holy is to be wholly whole, completely complete, and perfectly perfect. Why was the seventh day holy when the other six days were not? Because the seventh day was the day of completion. Aha! Bada-boom! Do you see it? Just look at how the seventh day is described in Genesis 2:
v1. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
v2. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
v3. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
The Law of First Mention that is taught to Bible School students says you need to sit up and pay particular attention the first time anything is mentioned in the Bible. In Genesis 2:3 we find the first mention of the word qadash which means “sanctify” or “made holy.” As you can see, sanctification has little to do with rule-keeping or sin avoidance and everything to do with being complete. It’s almost as if God could envisage how we would get confused in our pursuit of holiness and so decided to send us a message by connecting holiness with holidays.
The seventh day of creation was a holy day and a holiday. That is a divinely-engineered coincidence. If you want an insight into the meaning of true holiness, you only need to think of what makes for a good holiday.
God made holidays
A holiday is not a true holiday when the job is only half-done or there is work left unfinished. How can you enjoy a day off when the lawn is half-mowed, the cake is half-baked, or the bills half-paid? But once the work is done – then it’s a holiday! The pressure’s off. Now you can relax.
Adam and Eve began their new lives on a holiday. Sure there was much to do and learn and discover, but they were made fully formed and lacking nothing. They weren’t works-in-progress – they were God-made masterpieces, flawless works of art, perfectly capable of communing with the Creator. Sadly, they never got to experience the life that God had for them but that was not because of some manufacturing defect. Adam and Eve made a bad and fleshly choice. But put aside the Fall for the moment and try to envision how things might have been if all had gone according to the original plan. The holy life that God intended for Adam and Eve was meant to be one of joyful discovery and learning to live loved. Their occupation was meant to be co-laboring with the Lord of life. Living in fellowship with the Lord they were capable of unimaginable greatness.
This is exactly how it is with you. The day you began your new life in Christ you were made wholly new and fully formed. The new you is holy and whole; you are literally complete in Him (Col 2:10). Spiritually-speaking, you are a God-made masterpiece, a flawless work of art, perfectly capable of communing with the One who made you and gave you His life. You are not a work in progress for you have been made perfect forever.
“By one offering He has perfected forever, them that are sanctified.” (Heb 10:14)
When you have had a revelation of His sanctifying work, all the pressure to perform and improve evaporates. There’s no need for D.I.Y. Christianity because everything that needed to be done to make you a new creation has been done. The pressure’s off because it is finished.
So what happens now? The life God intends for you is one of joyful discovery. It is learning to live loved (because you are loved) and being holy (because you are holy). It is growing into who you already are in Christ. This is what it means to live the Christian life. It is not striving to perfect what He started; it is resting in His finished work and holidaying in His holiness.