Identity – God’s Possession


DSC_7763_cropped These are 6 arrows made by a tribal person in the jungles of Papua New Guinea that Lorna brought back after her summer spent in the Iteri tribe.

The top flat one is for killing pigs, the next pointed one for fish, the next splayed one for birds and the 4th down for killing humans. They were head hunters before the gospel came.

We have lost our sense of the maker of something being its owner. But here in the tribe, the native makes his own arrow and if he wants to destroy it for some reason he can because he owns it. He uses it for whatever purpose he wants as it belongs to him.

This morning I want to consider how God is our owner and can direct us as He wishes. I will attempt to show you how the term holy equates with God’s ownership.



Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”  Exodus 3:5


  • We have been focusing on our identity in Christ – Romans 6-8
  • The common understanding today is that chapters 3 to 5 relate to justification and 6 to 8 relate to sanctification (sanctification is only in 6:19,22)
  • Clearly sanctification is a Biblical doctrine but I believe that the term identification better captures the teaching of 6 to 8 etc.
  • This morning I want to look briefly at sanctification or holinessCapture1
  • Why the Old Testament?
  • The Old Testament is full of historical events that were recorded to point forward to Christ and His ministry in the New Testament.
  • Just like Gideon’s clay lamps.
  • There are literally 100’s of similar examples that point forward to the born again believer’s position in Christ.
  • Today we will look at one of these.



  • There are many English words in our Bibles that all come from the same Greek root word ‘hagios’.
    • Holy (holiness, hallowed, etc.) – numerous times  ~600 2/3rd OT
    • Sacred – 29 times mainly Old Testament
    • Sanctification (sanctity) ~60 times half Old and half New
    • Saint – 7 in OT, 61 in NT
  • Standard definition – set apart from & set apart to
  • Two general types of usage (apart from reference to God)
    • Positional truth (your standing in Christ)
    • Conditional truth (your day to day condition)



What does it mean to be holy?

Where is the first Biblical reference to this?

What does it mean for us today?


Like tumbleweed (Exodus 3:5)tumbleweed

The original word in the text refers to a bush similar to what we know as tumbleweed. This type of bush is very dry and mostly air so rapidly burns up when on fire. However, in this case the bush was not consumed.

The Lord called to MosesMoses_Pluchart

The Lord called to Moses from the midst of the burning bush

Three Commands

    1. Don’t come near
      • The reason for this command will be discussed next week
    2. You are on ‘holy’ ground
      • Why was the ground holy?  Because God was there. The place where God dwells is considered to be holy because He owns that place as His exclusive possession. This would be similar to the holy of holies within the tabernacle, like the furniture of the tabernacle, like Aaron and his sons, and like you – the born again believer – indwelt by God the Holy Spirit.
    3. Remove your sandals
      • What is the significance of removing his sandals?


What do men say?

    • Moses was to yield his rights to live as he wanted to God
    • He was to demonstrate the life of bondage as a slave
    • To remove his protection
    • As a sign of respect to God
    • Like asking us to remove things like pride etc.
    • A Sign of Reverence and Respect
    • A picture of confessing our sins
    • Not bringing grime into the presence of God
    • To step  out of his comfort zone
    • Pictures the removal of sin from contact with the defiled

 What does the Bible say?

A SIMILAR EVENT (Joshua 5:13-15)

In this case Joshua encountered the Captain of the Lord’s Army who told Joshua to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. The Captain of the Lord’s Army is a preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. As God, the land on which He was standing was holy and He thus told Joshua to remove his sandals in a manner very similar to Moses at the burning bush.



  • The term ‘Levirate’ comes from the Latin levir, meaning “husband’s brother”.
  • This is a marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obliged to marry his brother’s widow, and the widow is obliged to marry her deceased husband’s brother.
  • This practice is associated with patriarchal societies such as existed at the time of Abraham and is practiced in some parts of the world even to this day.
  • This was done to maintain the inheritance of the dead brother.

The Practice

  • levirate marriage is a practice going back to Judah in Genesis 38
  • This event predates Moses by over 400 years
  • As such Moses knew full well what this command of the Lord’s meant
  • The sandal was a sign of ownership
  • Removal of the sandal was the sign of ownership transfer

The Passage in Deuteronomy 25:5-10

  • Two brothers and one dies having no son (vs.5)
  • The living brother must take the widow as his wife to raise a son for his dead brother (vs.5,6)
  • If he refuses the widow takes him to court about the matter (elders at the city gate)(vs. 7,8)
  • If he still refuses, the widow pulls off his sandal and spits in his face (vs.9)
  • He then becomes an abomination in Israel for not fulfilling his duty to his brother (vs.10)


The Circumstances (Ruth 4:1-10)BoazSandal

  • Elemelech, Naomi and their 2 sons moved to Moab (1:2,3)
  • The sons married Orpah and Ruth from Moab (1:4)
  • Elemelech and his 2 sons died before having children (1:5)
  • Naomi returns to Israel with her widowed daughter-in-law Ruth (1:22)
  • Boaz  was a kinsman of Elemelech and wanted to marry Ruth (2:1 etc.)
  • Boaz and a closer relative assemble in the court  to determine the outcome (4:1)
  • The closer relative gives up his title to Ruth and her land by removing his shoe (4:8)
  • Boaz declares that he acquired Ruth  to raise up a son to Elemelech  (4:9,10)

The Interpretation

  • The giving of the sandal to another was the way in which ownership was transferred (Ruth 4:7b, 8, 10a)
  • This was a standard ancient practice in Israel (Ruth 4:7a)


As related to Moses:

  • The removal of his shoe signified he was transferring his ownership to God.
  • He could not retain his ownership (control of himself) in the presence of that which was holy – a holy God.
  • His standing before God was now of a bond-servant – directed by God to do His will.
  • From now on we see that Moses recognized his own complete inability to do God’s will (Exodus 4:1, 10, 13)
  • God was able to use Moses mightily in delivering Israel.Capture5

As related to us:

Capture8He made us and remade us so we are His like the primitive arrow.


Capture9You are not your own, you have been bought with a price (1 Cor.6:19,20)


Capture10The positional truth of God declaring the believer holy or sanctified = we are now under His ownership


Capture11We are His bond-servants (Rom.1:1 [Paul]; Phil.1:1 [Paul and Timothy]; James 1:1 [James]; 2 Peter 1:1 [Peter])




To God you are a Saint.

 To God you are holy.

 To God you belong to Him.

 To God you are His servant.


By your identity with Christ – crucified, buried, alive, seated, hidden, and coming with Him. “Romans Six reveals our position as having died unto the principle of sin; Romans Seven teaches us our position as having died unto the principle of law. Both must be counted upon if we are to abide in Christ, and walk in the Spirit, as set forth in Romans Eight.”