As children of God, we are called to walk in holiness.
However, holiness is frequently viewed as a huge unattainable feat. As an attribute that describes God and Jesus, but not us. After all, ‘we are only humans.’ But regardless of how we may feel, the believers in the New Testament were often referred to as holy, which means that holiness is also for us today.
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters who share in the heavenly calling… Hebrews 3:1
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…. Colossians 3:12
What is holiness?
Holiness is simply ‘separation unto God.’ It involves walking with God and allowing him total access to all areas of our lives. It is daily yielding to the promptings of the Holy Spirit so that our attitudes, behaviors and responses line-up with the living Word of God.
Holiness involves purity in our thoughts, words and deeds. Having a pure heart and meditating on the Word of God instead of allowing dark negative thoughts to overcome us. Speaking God’s words of faith into all situations instead of allowing our tongues to stir our lives in the wrong direction. Acting like Jesus would when confronted with different circumstances.
Holiness is putting God first and obeying Him even when we do not feel like it. Casting off the flesh with all its deceitful desires and imitating God.
We are commanded to live holy lives
God has commanded us to be holy.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14
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
As we obey His command, our fellowship with Him is strengthened resulting in a deeper walk with Him as He manifests himself to us more and more. But we need to rely on Him daily because our holiness comes from Him and not from our own strength.
Holiness comes from God
You cannot ‘holy’ yourself. Holiness comes from God.
First and foremost, you are made positionally holy at the new birth by God because He has made you the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Then, as a result of your position in Christ, you are enabled to walk in holiness through the grace of God by the power of the Holy Spirit who lives and dwells in you.
SELAH: Stop and Ponder!
Then, I’m going to say the same thing again in a slightly different way for emphasis.
Holiness is imputed to us by God because of Jesus Christ. Then we are to respond by walking in holiness through the help of God. Therefore, as believers, we are both declared holy by God (positionally) and also called to live a lifestyle of holiness which reflects our relationship to God. Holiness not only refers to what we do, but also to who we are. Reflect on the scriptures below.
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. Colossians 1:22
He saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. 2 Timothy 1:9
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Ephesians 1:4
If He saved us, called us and chose us to be holy before the beginning of time/creation of the world, then it means that our holiness originates from Him, not us (because we weren’t here at the beginning of time). As the Scriptures point out, He did it because of His own purpose and grace not based on our works or anything we may have done.
God has made you holy and given you the ability to walk in holiness. However, it will not manifest in your life until you make a concrete decision to obey Him and walk with Him in light of what He has already done for you.
I pray that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened so that you will fully accept God’s gift of righteousness. And as you do, I pray that you will live a holy life, set apart to God through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives in you.
Except where indicated, Scriptures are taken from the NIV.