Updated: Oct 12, 2021
DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN COMMON AND HOLY
IDENTIFYING THE COMMON & PROFANE: Once we understand the basic meanings of the profane and the holy, that we are looking at things that are common vs. things that are set apart we need to look a bit deeper to understand what God sees or has determined is common. We can look again at 1 Peter for some clues. 1 Peter 1:13-19 nasb 13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
Peter begins to distinguish between what is set apart/holy and what is not (profane or common). Let’s look at some of the verses that highlight the differences: 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers In these 2 verses Peter clearly informs us what is NOT holy or set apart. 1. Conforming to the former lusts of our ignorance. 2. Futile way of life inherited from your forefathers. Remember if it is not holy, it is common and the common things of this world are profane to God. We need to look at and understand why these 2 things are “common” and therefore unholy.
Why is conforming to the former lusts of our ignorance common or unholy? Galatians 5:17-21 nasb 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Paul helps us understand this concept by saying in Galatians that the spirit and the flesh are at war. They do not agree. If being holy is being set apart to and for God, then common things could not be inline with the ultimate set apartness/holiness of YHVH. Instead of being set apart common things conform, they look just like everything else,. Therefore the common or profane is indistinguishable from the world and is accepted by the world as “normal.” Paul talks about this as well in his letter to the believers in Rome: Romans 1:21-32 nasb 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. Earlier in this chapter Paul says we are without excuse for not believing in God since His creation speaks to His invisible character, then Paul lays the hammer down. He just wrecks those who so quickly cast off holiness for the common and exposes their behaviors which are these “lusts of ignorance” mentioned in 1 Peter: 1. They know Him but do not honor Him 2. Exchange the glory of the incorruptible God for an image or a form of corruptible things 3. Exchange truth for a lie. 4. They worship the creation instead of the creator. 5. Knowing God’s commands they not only do the things He says not to do, but also approve of those who practice them as well.
Why are these behaviors common? What/who are they common for? Who is “god” in this arrangement? The Scripture answers these important questions. 1 John 3:4-13 nasb 4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. 7 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; 12 not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. 1 John 2:15-17 nasb 15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. These verses in 1 John continue to reveal the issues of pursuing the lusts of our ignorance mentioned in 1 Peter. These lusts are common place to the world. They are one with the world. As we read in Galatians 5 those common things of the world are at war with the Spirit of God, they cannot agree. 1 John 3:13 summarizes this concept perfectly: 1 John 3:13 nasb 13 Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you. Why would the world hate something that is common to itself? If we are being honest with ourselves, it wouldn't. This is constantly played out in our society. These lusts or passions that are common to the world rule, and if you disagree with them, if you stand up and speak out against them, if you are set apart at all from their ways of thinking or their behaviors you are crushed under the scrutiny and judgement of those more tolerant and wise than you. You must conform otherwise they withhold their love and support, or excommunicate you all together from their all accepting world view. Those of the world hate you, hate the Bible you stand for, hate that you believe in YHVH. When we love the common things the world loves, worship at the altar of self the way they do, listen to their “wise men”, follow their commands, and do as they do, they have no reason to hate us, because we’ve conformed, we are just like them. Our lusts are the same as theirs, our knowledge the same as theirs, our path guided just as theirs are, our entertainment the same, our idols the same, our beliefs more and more the same, it is common, not set apart, therefore, according to Scripture it is profane. I am not making a case for hating those who love the common things of the world, however, it is a call to understand and discern what it truly means to be set apart, and to pursue it with our eyes wide open to the consequences of rejecting what is common to embrace what is holy. Why is this a problem? When we have chosen to allow ourselves to be conformed to the world, we are in unity or harmony with it, which can mean only one thing according to
1 John 2:15, that we are not in harmony with God, we are not set apart. This should cause us to ask some very difficult questions. 1. What in my life is common with the world? 2. Am I set apart from the world according to God’s standard? 3. Am I driven more by my own passions, plans, knowledge or lusts than I am by obedience to God’s commands?
Why are some inherited ways of life common or unholy?
The second common item mentioned in 1 Peter 1 is the “futile way of life inherited from your forefathers.” If we had to summarize this, we could say the traditions or customs of men. These things are also common or profane, because they are not set apart.
Colossians 2:6-10 nasb “6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority”
In his letter to the Colossians Paul makes it clear the source of human tradition is the principles of the world not YHVH. As we adhere to, follow, trust, or root ourselves in those common traditions or philosophies we willingly set aside the knowledge of God that was made evident to us through Yeshua (Colossians 2:2) and adopting the common knowledge of the world. What would motivate us to make such a trade? Why would we choose traditions and philosophies that follow the principles of decaying world? Yeshua addresses these questions plainly. John 3:19-20 esv "19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed."
Jeremiah 9:6-9 esv "6 Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit, they refuse to know me, declares the Lord. 7 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: “Behold, I will refine them and test them, for what else can I do, because of my people? 8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully; with his mouth each speaks peace to his neighbor, but in his heart he plans an ambush for him. 9 Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the Lord, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?" People make the trade of Godly holiness for the common or the profane because they love it. They love the darkness more than they love the light, and Yeshua says it will testify against them and all who fall into the same error. It doesn't matter where this error is taught or cultivated, whether from the halls of Ivy League Universities or the pulpits of churches around the world, it will always lead to darkness and destruction. Yeshua also warns against following or believing in the fruitless traditions of men as well.