Closer to Sodom or Heaven?

“Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty, walk before Me, and be blameless.'” (Genesis 17:1)

Notice something important in God’s charge to Abram. He commanded him to “walk before Me and be blameless.” Here God indicated to Abram that a walk with Him necessitated a walk of holiness. “Be BLAMELESS.” God Almighty is a Holy God. If we are to walk with Him, we ourselves must also be committed to holiness, in every area of our lives.

We often omit this charge today. But here is God, to whom Abraham was a “friend” — this aspect of “friendship with God” (James 2:23) is something that so many love to emphasize — and yet His command to Abraham was to be holy before Him. There is no substitute for this!

And this is not something which can be relegated to “Old Testament” teaching only. The commands to holiness in the New Testament are multiple, and found in virtually every author and book:

— “It is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'” (I Peter 1:16)

— “Therefore you are to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) It is significant that here in the Sermon on the Mount, where the Fatherly aspect of God is so emphasized, the call to holiness is as as strong as it is anywhere in the word of God.

— “I urge you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present yourselves a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.” (Romans 12:1)

— “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.” (I John 1:6-7)

The requirement of holiness for the person who would walk with God is emphasized throughout the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New. When we minimize holiness in our walk with God, we may claim to be His “friend,” but in reality we are closer to Sodom than we are to Heaven.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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