Holiness is an all-inclusive term for the moral excellence of God. It is a major focus of the Bible. This concept – variously expressed as holy, holiness, hallowed, sanctify, sanctification and sacred – means consecration to God thus being totally separate from sin, its evil influence, the carnal flesh and every unholy pagan way, and becoming slaves of righteousness by being totally set apart or dedicated (devoted) to God for His purposes (Rom 6:19,22, 13:12-14; 2 Cor 7:1; 2 Tim 2:21).
As the Son of God, the Messiah (Jesus) was termed the Holy One in Peter’s address (Acts 2:27).
Holiness is separation from sin and separation to God
corporately as the church (Lev 11:44,45, 19:2; 1 Cor 3:16,17; Col 3:12; 1 Pet 1:13-16). Commencing at salvation, holiness is primarily an internal quality (not the legalistic conformity to an outward lifestyle), increasingly being lived out in a pure and righteous way as we allow Him to deal with issues in our lives as we obey the Word of God – “Make them holy by the truth, your Word is truth” (Ex 31:13; Lev 18:1-4; Jn 17:17; 2 Cor 6:14-17; Eph 1:4).
Sin offends God and in fact separates the sinner from God. It is only when the sin is removed (by confession and repentance) that the blood of Christ can cleanse and restore relationship with Him.
In God’s sight we are perfect when we are covered by the blood of Christ, yet in reality we are still coming into that state (Col 1:22; Heb 10:14). Through discipline, the Holy Spirit helps us change from the old carnal lifestyle and be made whole in the image of God as we present ourselves as living holy sacrifices to God and live holy lifestyles (Rom 12:1; 1 Cor 1:2; Eph 5:25-27; Heb 12:10). We determine the level of transformation by the degree of surrender. Holiness and obedience go hand in hand. Godly obedience is the manifestation of holiness and love for Jesus.
Holiness requires we be proactive, diligent and establish Godly disciplines as we don’t drift towards holiness but away from it. Un-holiness because of the sin bias in humanity quickly, and with little effort, infiltrates and defiles, just as leaven or yeast (which is a picture of sin) effortlessly affects the dough it is in (Hag 2:12-14; Gal 5:9).
We must honestly review our lives regularly to ensure we are living in alignment with Scripture. The Bible is the unchanging standard that we need to gauge ourselves against, not what others around us are doing; nor should we try to make the Bible fit our compromised conduct and diminishing values. God’s ideals remain constant; it is our behaviour that needs to be addressed.
Various objects and places may also be termed holy or sacred, being separated unto God’s service but they should not be revered more than God Himself.
See also: consecrate, dedicate, defile, devotion, evil, holiness movement, review, sanctify, sin/sinners.