1 Peter 1:15-16 "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.' "
When I hear the word "holiness" immediately some thoughts come to my mind. I used to associate holiness with rules and regulations. I used to imagine this floating finger in a thought bubble above my head, wagging in the air before me conveying the message of "Tisk! Tisk!" Why? Well, like many, I believed the common misconception of a works based relationship, that holiness was just a great big burden that I'd have to carry in order to have a relationship with God. "If I follow the rules, God will love me."
Family, this could not be further from the truth! The enemy (all three- The devil, the world and our flesh) would love it if we resented the idea of holiness and merely categorized it as a set of rigid rules. Most of us don't like rules very much. We think of them as limitations. Satan, that sly fox, cleverly deceived Eve into believing God's rule was keeping her from something good. In the same way, Satan wants us to believe that holiness is keeping us from something good.
Don't think rules, think revival! Holiness brings revival on the inside that overflows into righteousness on the outside.
The Lord does not desire to place a burden of rules upon us. On the contrary, The Lord desires to lighten our load, and relieve us from the back breaking burden of sin and all of our insufficient solutions for it.
Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
"Psalm 55:2 "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you;"
In fact, both Jesus and Paul the apostle were frustrated with the Pharisees for this very thing! The Pharisees were infamous for meticulously preaching the do's and don'ts of the law although they themselves were not practicing the law. The obsessive observance of the law as a means to "holiness" while neglecting the very purpose and principle of the law actually led to bondage not liberty. Weakness not power. This is not what the Lord wants for us.
Jesus said in Matthew 23:4 "They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them."
Paul said in Galatians 5:4 " You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace."
To be Holy is to be set apart. Holiness is not a set of rules. Holiness is Godliness! If God is our dad, and He is Holy, then... Shouldn't we also be holy?
Ephesians 5:1 "Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children."
Too often we mistake holiness and spiritual maturity with outward appearance, but God does not view people the way that we do. God looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
Another common error that keeps us from the wholeness of holiness is that we sometimes perceive Holiness or the pursuit of it as self righteousness, pride, or a facade. "Oh that person thinks they're holier than thou." This way of thinking must be eradicated from within the Church. This deception suggests that somehow wallowing in our wickedness is better, more authentic and hence pleasing to God than it is to be obedient to the Word of God. Are we perfect? Obviously not. Thank God that we were born again.
Now let us submit not to our human depravity but to our holy destiny.
1 Peter 1:15 "But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;"
Are there people pretending to be holy? Sure, many of the pharisees were guilty of this as mentioned above. This is no excuse to attach a negative connotation and skepticism to holiness. Sin is to the Christian what kryptonite is to Superman. Holiness on the other hand, is to the believer is what spinach is to Popeye. Get it? Ultimately holiness is for God's glory and our good. It isn't a physical feature, but a spiritual posture. It isn't an external regulation, it is an internal transformation. Do not be deceived, there is POWER in holiness. The power of God, ready to be displayed in and through us!
How can we be Holy?
John 17:17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
God's word is the truth about God, and the truth about us. God's truth makes us holy, not only holy but free. Isn't that awesome?
John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."