Holiness: A New Definition

Yesterday I talked about God’s desire for his followers to be a holy people.  This is a constant theme of the scriptures.  Exodus 22:31, “You are to be my holy people.”  Holiness is defined in Deuteronomy 13:18 as doing right in the Lord’s eyes.  1 Thessalonians 4:3 tells us that it is God’s will that you be sanctified.  The Apostle Peter tells Christians to live holy and godly lives. 1 Peter 3:11.

Why this emphasis on holiness?  The answer is simple: God is holy.   We are called to be holy because God is holy.  It is natural that you resemble the one you follow.  The more you follow Jesus the more holy you will become.

Holiness is most visible not in your church attendance, or even in how many things you don’t do, but in how you treat others.  Paul says in Galatians 5:6 that all that matters is you love others like Jesus loved you.  For many people Christian means that’s the guy who will point out what’s wrong with you instead of being the guy who is for you.  Of all the social injustices Jesus could have spoken against in his day the one he spoke against the most was the religious leaders who constantly pointed out what was wrong with everyone else.  He didn’t want to be known as that guy, but rather as the guy who is light of the world.  What would it look like if we defined holiness not in what we do wrong but in striving to be the light of the world?  How would that change your life, your church, your family, your community?

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