Redefining Holiness

What is holiness?  Seriously, what is holiness? It is the clothes someone wears, or is it the length of his or her hair? Is it the movies that he or she watches, or is it the way that he or she talks?

We have such a perverted view of holiness. To main stream Christendom holiness is certain actions, rituals, way of living, that shows that someone is worthy of being declared righteous. We look how we are living compared to the life of Christ. Then feel guilty when we are not meeting the mark that we perceive. One the other hand we look at other Christians that are not living at the same level that we are and we feel that they are not meeting the mark that we feel they should. Is this really Holiness?

It is time that we redefine holiness, or revert back to the real meaning of holiness. Think, where does the Bible say that Holiness means to live perfectly? We remember statements such as, “Be Holy, as I am Holy,” but that does not mean that we are to live perfectly. Then if it is not perfection, then what is it?

Actually First Century Biblical Holiness has nothing to do with perfection. It means “set apart”. The Greek word is also related to the word for sanctification. Holy things are things that are set apart for the use of God. The Holy Goblets in the Temple, the holy oil used for anointing; these things were all set apart for serving God.

In the same way we are set apart for God’s service. It has nothing to do with how we live, rather it has to do with our relationship with God. Being set apart for God, we are washed in the blood of the lamb. We are cleansed by the blood. That means that by grace we are saved and that the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit is actively working to help us.

A holy person is not a perfect, sinless person. There is only one perfect person and we hated him so much that we killed him. Instead the Holy Spirit draws us further and further from the ways of the world. We do not set ourselves apart for God, rather God sets us apart through the Holy Spirit. As we grow closer to him, we grow farther away from the world.

2 thoughts on “Redefining Holiness”

  1. I agree that holiness cannot be achieved through the righteous acts of men, which is why Jesus came so that we could be washed clean by His blood and be made new creations, but I question if it is true to say that holiness has nothing to do with actions.

    You used the example of the Holy Goblets in the temple being sanctified and set apart for God’s use, which is a very good example, and Paul used a similar analogy regarding vessels, he wrote:

    “Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.  Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.  Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” ~2 Timothy 2:19–22

    It seems that we are sanctified and set apart as holy by the Lord Jesus Christ, and because of His perfect work, we are now vessels of honor that walk in righteousness.

    Sometimes there is a tendency to react against trends that we see as error; some people teach a holiness that is achieved in works of righteousness by man’s own competence, yet, on the other side, many teach a holiness that does not bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We should strive to rightly divide the Word and cut down the middle in the straight and narrow path.

    1. Thanks for your comment:
      Don’t get me wrong actions play a part in Christian life. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
      The deeper relationship that we are with God we no longer seek after the evil works. As the workmanship of God we were created for good works, but that’s not something we can achieve in the flesh. Only through the work that Christ did in us.

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