Holiness! Many people in America have their own definition of what this word means, but today I will speak to you on what holiness is and what holiness is not. Holiness is more than just being morally good it is the very essence of being set apart. Goodness is a part of that holiness. God is good but his goodness stems from his holiness. R.C Sproul’s definition of God’s holiness is being distinct, set apart and in a class of his own. The hebrew word for holiness is kodesh which is the state of being sacred or set apart or unique. There are many people in This country today who claim to be christians and followers of Christ but if you asked them what holiness is, not many of them would be able to give you a biblical answer.With that being said I would like to share with you what holiness is not.
Holiness is not simply the act of one doing good works. Many people across the world would look at devoted monks, catholics, muslims or even atheists who serve in the community as holy. Sinful men would like to think that holiness is something that they can earn or an attribute that is naturally inside of them. If you asked ten different men what holiness is you would more than likely get ten different answers. Men love to try to reason within themselves to define what this word means. They do good works to quiet their burning conscience that tells them their is nothing good in them. In colossians 2:18 Paul says “Let no man disqualify you, insisting on asceticism. This word asceticism is characterized by or suggests the practice of severe self discipline and abstaining from all forms of indulgence. These type of people believe that abstaining from certain foods or drinks or even cultural activities, makes them set apart or better than those who participate in these things. The Omish go without electricity believing that it gives them a connection with the world. The bible says do not be conformed to the world (romans 12:2) so they believe going without electricity helps them avoid temptations and the deterioration of family and fellowship. To obtain a life of holiness monks choose the path of separating themselves from society to devout themselves to God. They believe that by being celibate and living life in the simplest form and praying all day makes them holy and earns them eternal life. Many of them live in monasteries and some even wonder from place to place. Their vows forbid him of owning any personal property apart from a bowl, cup, two sets of clothes and medical aids. He can’t have any contact with or even think of being in the presence of a woman. They can not eat for pleasure, nor can they possess or touch money or seek personal relationships. Many americans who profess to be christians believe that if one goes to church, prays, reads their bible, pays tithes and tries really hard to live a good life that this makes that person holy. If they do these moral deeds they feel like they have become holy but the problem with that is sinful men do not get to define what holiness is.
There is only one being in the universe who has the right to declare what holiness truly is and that being is God almighty. In Exodus chapter 15 verse 11 it says, who is like thee among the gods, O LORD? Who is like thee, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders? 1 samuel 2:2 says There is no one holy like the Lord indeed there is no one besides thee, nor is there any rock like our God. There is not other attribute mentioned in the bible over three times repeatedly other than the attribute holy. In Isaiah 6:3 we see the seraphim crying out to one another that God is Holy, Holy, Holy. Seraphim are wonderful beings that are without sin and are in the very presence of God yet the bible states that they have wings that cover their face and their feet. This shows us how holy God truly is. The word holy means to be separate and comes from a greek word that means to cut or even separate. God is uniquely holy and has no rivals nor competition. God is so beyond and unlike man that me doing this paper doesn’t do him any justice. It’s like a blind man trying to describe the sun. He has no clue where to start. The only difference is that I have the word to give me an idea of how holy God truly is. God is so holy that scripture says he can not look upon wickedness. Hebrews 7:26 states that for it indeed was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. Did you catch that? It says he is unstained separate from sinners. God is the complete opposite of mankind. Jesus being the Lamb of God was without spot or blemish. He pleased the Father every day of his life in word, deed, thought and action. There was never a day in his life where He sinned. Christ is so holy that if he came on the earth with his full glory man would disintegrate to nothing. When we study the holiness of God we come to find out that God is truly separate and that their is truly no one like him. The bible says be ye holy for I am holy and without holiness no man will see the Lord. Well how do we achieve this holiness? There is no one on the earth who in themselves are holy. Holiness comes from God not man. 1peter 2:9 says But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light. verse 10 states that Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people, Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. The only way men can truly be holy is to receive holiness. They have to be granted this holiness from Christ himself. Christ is the only man who ever walked this earth who is Holy. Holiness isn’t just an attribute of God but it is something he shares with his people. He sets us apart by saving us and sanctifying us. This is all the work of God alone. God purges us and he cleanses us with his righteousness. This is why the gospel of Christ is so important. Man has a problem and his problem is that God is holy and he is not. Man is required to be holy but he doesn’t meet the requirements.. But Praise be to God who sent his son to live a perfect, holy and blameless life to die on a cross for those he has chosen. God’s holiness is best described and displayed publicly at the cross. Here we have the Son of God hanging on a tree and because of the sin of the elect God doesn’t spare of hold back his wrath but unleashes his holy fury and anger on Christ because of men’s transgressions. This shows us that no matter who you are you will be dealt with if you are not justified in the eyes of God. If He did not spare his only son, neither then will he spare those who reject such a great salvation. God didn’t just forgive us but he punished Christ in our place showing that His holiness truly is holiness.
In conclusion we see that holiness is not just a morality but it is an absolute perfection and separation from every and all things. It is being set apart and blameless and the only one who truly fits this definition is God himself. He displayed his ultimate holiness by not sparing his son Christ on the cross but making him drink the entire cup of wrath on behalf of sinners. Men can only be holy by trusting in the finished work of Christ and being regenerated and quickened by the Holy Spirit. This is not something man can do by himself. This is a work that only a Holy God can perform and we see this within our own lives as true believers in His Son Jesus. Let us continue to dwell on this attribute of God and grow in this knowledge for I believe that It will take an eternity of eternities to understand half of what holiness truly means.