“but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” 1 Peter 1:15 NKJV
Holiness. Yes, there is that word again. Hearing the word “holiness” brings a variety of emotions and perceptions. Some are good, but often the connotation is negative. Some church leaders teach being holy equates to stopping wicked actions, adhering to a dull dress code, and reading the King James version of the Bible.
Others say being holy means living in a strictly Christian community, eating a biblical diet, and kissing the tv goodbye. To belabour the point, some say holiness is a church denomination, or being silent for long periods of time, or abstaining from sex and alcohol. Maybe holiness means all of the above plus never sinning.
It really is odd that many widely held beliefs about Biblical topics are based on people’s thoughts, instead of what is written in scripture. When did God say holiness is established by the clothes a person wears? Why do people think holiness requires them to stay away from non-Christians? Which verse says being holy means to clean up one’s life by stopping sinful activity?
Many of the aforementioned descriptions of holiness are rightfully connected to the term holiness. However neither one, nor all combined, adequately convey the meaning of the word. Essentially, being holy means to be set apart, or sanctified. True holiness requires being removed from every place except the designated area. If a cup is holy to the royal family, then that cup is reserved for the royal family’s use alone. No one else has a right to the cup.
Doesn’t this provide a more accurate view of Biblical holiness. God calls each individual to be holy, separated from the world and designated unto Him. (Romans 12:1) When one asks Jesus for mercy on their soul and invites Jesus to be the King of their life, God marks that one with Jesus’ blood. The new believer is eternally set apart from the evil spirit of the world and translated into the kingdom of Christ. As Jesus said to the disciples, no one can snatch one out of His hand. (John 10:28,29 NKJV)
Holiness takes place in the heart, internally. No one but God can see it. (1 Samuel 16:7b) After the heart/soul becomes holy unto God, then outward actions follow. False holiness attempts to change outward actions with the goal of eventually achieving inward holiness. This method will never work. In the old testament the priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on items in order to make them holy. (1 Peter 1:18, 19, 22) The spiritual reality is still true today. One must ask Jesus the High Priest to sprinkle His blood on their heart. Then Christ works in the heart to give them power to live for God. That is the only way holiness will ever happen.
It is a commandment from God for all of his people to be holy, as He is holy. This commandment, however is not an angry rebuke. It is quite the opposite. It is an extraordinary honor and invitation. God, Who is holy, gives his people the opportunity to become like Him, holy. God is set apart from all of creation. He is perfect in every way, including thoughts, love, understanding, power, etc. All of God’s nature and characteristics are summed up in His words, “…I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) Today is the perfect day to accept God’s commandment and invitation to be holy by asking God to make you more like Him.