image credit: Joshua Poe
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:15-16
What is Holiness?
The idea of us being holy would be fully unthinkable if it were not for this command. Holiness seems to be reserved for God alone. He is called holy. How can we be holy?
If God desires this of us, we should know how we can be holy. And, the first thing we need to do is understand what holiness actually is.
There are two common thoughts about what holiness means.
- The state of being set apart.
- The state of being without sin.
Can We Be Without Sin?
It is this second part of the definition that gives most Christians pause. Can we truly live a life without sin? I mean, we have all sinned and fall short (Romans 3:23).
But, where in the Bible is sin and holiness connected? We have things, which we consider as sinful acts, being improper for us because we are holy (Ephesians 5:3). And, as we purify ourselves from those sinful acts, we will perfect holiness in us (2 Corinthians 7:1).
Which Comes First, Holiness or Sinlessness?
It seems to me that a life without sin is an overflow of a holy life rather than the means to live holy. Since we have set ourselves apart, offering ourselves as living sacrifices, we no longer conform to the patterns of this world (Romans 12:1-2). Our minds are renewed and our lives are holy and pleasing to the Lord.
Our focus is not in stopping sin in our lives; it is remaining set apart. We are not defensively trying to keep bad things from our lives, but we are offensively remaining set apart in every area. As we remain set apart, sin has no hold on us.
Being Set Apart is Not Conformity
How do we remain set apart? The patterns of this world want to conform us to its way of living. It wants to convince us we don’t need God. The world wants to steal your holiness.
Religion also wants to conform us to its way of living. It also wants to convince us we need to act a certain way, but religion says that God only accepts certain behavior. It tells us that to not conform to its specific behavior is sin.
Conformity steals our connection with God. By creating rules we think we know what to do, so we don’t go to God to get His mind. However, anything that doesn’t proceed from faith is sin (Romans 14:23).
Therefore, giving thanks for your food before you eat can be sin. Having family devotions can be sin. Putting a Christian bumper sticker on your car can be sin. Behaviors that do not originate from faith are sins.
Being set apart is not trying to look a certain way. Being set apart is to commit your life to God, being connect to Him, and living from that place. We are not worried about sin; we are focused too much on connection. Our recognition and work to stop sin is a desire to remove things hurting our connection with God.
We Are Holy Because That Is What God Calls Us
Finally, be holy because God is holy. To be holy is a place of being not an act of doing. We are holy. God calls us this, therefore we will be holy as long as we believe it to be true. God is holy because there is none like Him.
The angels are no flying around Him saying you have no sin, you have no sin. But, You are so amazing, there is none like You.
But, we are like Him. We are created in His image. Therefore, as we live as we were created to be, we also will be holy. It is our identity. It is who we are.
How can we be holy? We transform our mind from the world’s way of thinking to God’s. We realize who we are and remain set apart. We fight to stay connected to God, because that is who we are made to be… we are made to be holy.