by Ashley Bumgarner
Holiness (qadowsh—Hebrew) – (hagios—Greek) means “to cut, to be separated, set-apart.”
Being holy means to be set apart to God, loving Him above all else and living a morally pure life, consecrated for His purpose. You must be separate from the ways of the world, beloved. How does a Christian pursue holiness?
It has always intrigued me to consider the various mind sets held by true Christians regarding the numerous aspects of spiritual life. Take the process of sanctification for example: Some stand before the Lord saying, “I am who I am; I can’t change; grace will cover me.” They make little effort to alter anything about their lives, depending upon the Lord to do it all. There are others who adhere to methods and formulas to make themselves holy. Many times these border on outright legalism. Which is it: no effort, great effort, or somewhere in between?
In the New Testament, you will find every gospel and nearly every epistle exhorting the reader to turn from sin and walk in holiness. In fact, Jesus tells His disciples to “strive to enter by the narrow gate” (Luke 13:24). Striving means to apply great effort, straining, sweating, etc. Make no mistake about it, the New Testament is filled with imperatives—principles, necessities and commands. However, all are to be fulfilled by grace, with the help of the Holy Spirit, not your effort alone. You can strive and rest all in the same breath. Work diligently, pursue holiness and godliness, even strive while resting in His all encompassing grace during this lifelong process.
Holiness is not legalism. It IS NOT rules and regulations: no makeup, no jewelry, men must have short hair and wear white shirts and black pants, no dancing, no playing cards, no meat, etc. Following these rules won’t make you holy, but it can make you proud and self-righteous. Holiness IS all about your heart, and your decision to be set apart for Jesus—walking in a manner that pleases Him.
In the coming days, as conviction of sin increases, there will be a revival of holiness—with renewed passion to love and please the Lord. Let’s build on Biblical standards and Kingdom principles, not man-made rules. In all of this, you can be certain that your freedom in Christ never allows vanity, immodesty, drunkenness, or any immortality.
Without holiness you will not see the Lord. “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
Want more? Check out our latest series: The Forgotten God