WHAT IS HOLINESS – AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

By Edward Thal /

Many Christians ignore God’s instructions on personal holiness (that is, separation from the world’s way of thinking and the world’s way of doing things). They are like people who are ill and never get well despite visiting doctor after doctor because they follow only the remedies that they approve – and then they blame the medical profession for their continued misery.

The Old Testament Book of Judges depicts such lawlessness and its unhappy results, summarizing the cause and effect in a closing statement: In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

Today the standard of practical holy living is so low among Christians that the least degree of real devotedness to God is viewed with surprise, criticism and disbelief. For the most part, Christians are satisfied with a life so conformed to the world that it is hard to discern just how and where Christ has made a difference.

But holiness is a real and practical possibility in the life of every Christian. God expects us to display the spiritual health of true holiness.

The paradox is that we don’t attain holiness by focusing on holiness or on rules and regulations to make us holy! Old Testament Law contains 248 commandments and 365 prohibitions: it is a practical impossibility to obey them all. It is only when we get to the New Testament that we discover the purpose of this Old Testament law and ritual: the law was our schoolmaster to bring is to Christ…” (Galatians 3:24).

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans we see this purpose fulfilled in his own life as he recounts his personal struggle and triumph against the rebelliousness and sinfulness that haunted him: O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord…For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 7:24-25; 8:2).

The power of Christ is revealed in the fact that by His one sacrifice He not only met all the requirements of the Old Testament Law, but also paid for (and thus removed the penalty for) the uncountable number of sins resulting from our habitual breaking of the law. It remains only for us to yield to His indwelling life.

  • Recognize that God paid a great price for us (1 Peter 1:18-19)
  • Recognize likewise that God expects us to be holy, because He is holy (1 Peter 1:13-16)
  • Offer the only acceptable sacrifice to God: yourself! (Romans 12:1-2)
  • Love Christ. Look to Christ. Yield to Christ. Walk with Christ. (Matthew 22:37)