I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:3, NIV)
The Christian claim has always been that we are children of Abraham through faith (Rom. 4:16). If that is so, we are the people through whom all the peoples of the earth should be blessed. Or if the footnote in my Bible is more correct, all the earth should use our name as a blessing.
Abraham was called by God and set apart so that through him all the peoples of the earth might be blessed.
I often forget this aspect of holiness. God calls us to be a people set apart from the world and its ways so that the world might be blessed by and through the church. Holiness is a means to God’s ends, not something we strive for in and of itself.
And it is necessary. We cannot be the means of God’s blessing if we are not holy, if we do not respond to the call to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. God could arrange it without us, but God has chosen to call a people to holiness so we might carry the blessing of Abraham to the world.
I think this is why the Bible spends so many words discussing holiness, urging holiness, teaching holiness, and explaining the means by which holiness is secured and regained. It is why we need our sins forgiven. We cannot be God’s holy people and be sinning. It is why we need to forgive each other. As God’s called people, it is not our place to refuse those whom God has forgiven. It is why our holiness can never be about hiding safely behind walls. Our vocation is to be a blessing to God’s beloved children.
“I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:17-18, NIV)