“When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.” – Psalm 114:1-2
When God led Israel out of bondage in Egypt, He did so because they were His people. In the desert He tabernacles among them. His presence took up residence in the Temple, in the Holy of Holies. Likewise the nation was to be comprised of holy people who were set apart unto God. Their holiness was to mark them as different from the other nations allowing them to witness to the changing power of the One true God.
Just as Israel were to be a holy people where the Lord dwelled, we are to be holy as well. Peter expands on the idea when he writes,
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:14-16
As children of God we are to be holy just as Christ is holy. Christ is the key. Just as Israel was redeemed from physical bondage in Egypt, we are redeemed from spiritual bondage by Jesus.
“knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” – 1 Peter 1:18-19
As Christians then, we are to be holy, aligning ourselves with God’s will and focusing our attention on Jesus as the motivation to live holy lives. Until we recognize that there is no other savior but Jesus, we will always run to other gods, to idols, to those things we believe will provide what only Jesus can.
In order to pursue holiness, your focus has to be on Jesus and the gospel. Holiness is not the result of work-driven effort, but of gospel-driven reflection.