When you think of holiness, what do you think? I think many believers have sized up holiness as being something they are not sure they want to try. What I mean is that we know holiness describes God and the things of God. We know that holiness is good but, since it is applied to God, it is beyond us. Truthfully, the idea of being around that which is holy makes us fearful. We think of God telling Moses to remove his sandals because he is standing on holy ground. We think of the High Priest going into the Holy of Holies once a year to make atonement for the people. Holy is used to describe angels, the Bible and the Spirit of God. We are somewhat confused about what holiness really is and what it is supposed to mean to us.
We know that we are nowhere close to holy and yet we are instructed, “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:15-16 (ESV)
While we can’t measure it, nor will we come close to His holiness, the Holy Spirit says, pursue it! In every event and activity we are to pursue holiness. God’s will for us is that we would be holy. How is that possible?That is what Jesus accomplished for us at the cross. It was our unholiness that was keeping us separated from Him, and it was the blood of Christ that cleansed us and declared us holy.
We are to live out that which has been made possible for us by Jesus. We are to aggressively pursue holiness. Look at the commands in 1 Peter 1:13-16: prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope; do not conform…to evil desires; be holy.
We become a holy dwelling, and God invades, fills, and empowers us. God dwells where holiness is. We have been declared a holy temple to God (1 Cor. 3:15-16). Jesus declared us holy by His work on the cross. He has taken up residence in our lives.
So we are holy, but if we want to experience the power, joy, and presence of God that truth brings, then we must pick up the holiness that has been won for us and live it out. Simply meaning we are moment by moment asking, “What would the holy thing be here in this situation?” We cannot be lazy spiritually.
All believers should pursue holiness but especially teachers of God’s Word. To be holy means to be different. As a teacher you are held to a higher standard. “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1 (ESV)
All of God’s character qualities work together, but if there is one that stands out in Scripture, it is His holiness. It is also the primary characteristic that He wants us as believers to take on.