Journey to Holiness: An Invitation, Pt. 1
When I say, "Holy," what do you immediately picture in your mind? Go ahead and take a moment. I'll wait. There's no wrong answer here; after all, I asked what you think. Personally, I think of a glowing, brilliant white light against which I shield my eyes when contemplating God's person, but when I think of the holiness we're supposed to reflect, to be honest, I think of a list of rules. However, what we believe about holiness as opposed to what God's character and nature show us are two entirely different things.
In 1 Peter 1:15-16, we're admonished, "As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'Be holy, for I am holy.'" (NKJV) This is a quote from Leviticus, and if it is important enough that God repeated Himself, not twice, but six times in that book and then had Peter remind the church of it in his epistle, it must be crucial enough to explore. In Ephesians 5:27, we are told that Christ is returning for a church, holy and without blemish, so we, as the Body of Christ, cannot afford to get this wrong or become apathetic towards it. It is a command of God, but we have to ask ourselves, what does that even mean?
Now, before I go any further, I want to make it clear that in Ephesians the third chapter, seventh verse, Paul makes it clear that we become by an operation of the power of God at work in our lives. So if this is the case, we cannot become holy in and of ourselves. It is something developed as the Holy Spirit works in our lives. To the extent that we allow Him to do His work is the extent to which we grow spiritually.
Let's take a look at a couple of definitions. In Greek, the word holy is hagios, meaning sacred and consecrated. In Hebrew, the word holy is qados (pronounced Kadosh), also meaning sacred and set apart. So, we see that nothing has necessarily been lost in translation, although I think that we sometimes equate holiness with righteousness. They're different. Righteousness is a position before God, namely, right standing. We're there because of Christ. Holiness, however, is a state of being. The idea that we are "set apart," has the connotation that we have been removed from the general populace or divided out from the whole, and that's what I want to examine a little more closely because if God is holy and we are to be like Him, we must discover how He has set Himself apart and what we can learn from it.
In this culture, holiness is rare. We don't see it in the world, and we are hard-pressed to find it in the church, even among those we would consider the elect of God. We're told that God's grace covers all our sin, and so an assumption has been made that our character and behavior do not matter – teaching to which I do not subscribe. Holiness is a defining characteristic of God, and it is to be one of the church's, as well. Let's discover what is at the heart of God's holiness. I warn you, though, that it isn't for the faint of heart. I have no predetermined point I am trying to reach other than to understand the character and nature of God more thoroughly, and thereby understand what my own should be, knowing that though He created me in His likeness, I am not always an accurate reflection of Him to the world around me. I invite you to join me as I journey towards holiness. It's sure to be an adventure!
Heavenly Father, You have told us to be holy, because You are holy. Lord, I want to be like You. I may not understand all that this entails, but I do know that I want to obey. I know our world needs more representatives of Your character and nature. I choose to be one. A disciple that in every way mimics his teacher, and like Christ to only do and say what I see You doing and saying. I am committed to being holy because You are. Open my eyes to see and my ears to hear, I pray. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.