Monday, July 11, 2016


“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (Ephesians 1:4) 

What are the first things that come to mind when you think about the word holy? Some hear about holiness and associate it with a particular denomination. Many think of holiness as legalism because of being raised with a list of DOs and DON’Ts. Holiness implies that something is special but when we hear the phrase, “holier than thou,” it is often tied to arrogance and self-righteousness. At times the ‘holy’ ones we’ve encountered appeared to be miserable or maybe think they are better than everyone else. For many, the word holy is actually negative. True holiness is not religious drudgery or an impersonal task list. It’s not about striving. It’s about surrender. It is being who we were created to be

Now, what comes to mind when you think about the holiness of God? We have discussed how important it is to have the right view of God. We get tripped up when we view Him just as we view every other human being and it’s a struggle to take Him at His Word. Because the love of a person is limited and conditional, we assume there are strings attached to being loved and chosen by God. 

As we reflect on the last several weeks, we see that everything we have and all we are called to be is in Christ. Holiness is no different. In fact, the only way we could ever be holy is in Christ. Holiness starts and ends with God. He is the standard. What earthly thing could ever come close to representing His holiness? God is perfect. He is set apart. There is no one like Him, no comparison. And yet, He tells us to be holy as He is holy. What does God mean when He tells us to be holy?

Before we can fully grasp being set apart in Him, consider who you are apart from Him. We can’t even begin to understand God’s holiness without looking at our sinfulness. Sin is the enemy of holiness but Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice so that our sin would be atoned for once and for all. He went to the cross to redeem and save us from our sins and eternal separation from God. Why? Because He loves us! And out of that same love, He chose us to be holy and blameless. How can this happen? By knowing Him. 

“The call to pursue holiness is an invitation to experience the blessings and joys of intimacy with God, to be free from the weight and the burden of sin, and to become all He created us to be.” 
— Nancy Leigh DeMoss

While the Bible does say to be holy in our conduct, the focus is not a holy to-do (or to-not-do) list or what’s on the exterior. We need to be changed on the inside. It’s a heart thing. Yes, holiness is about our purification and righteousness (which affects our actions and what we do). To be holy is to be set apart from sin. But it is also to be set apart to God. We can’t have one without the other.

So, how can we be holy? By being in relationship with the One who is holy. By setting apart time to be set apart. We live in an unholy world. Without intentionally allotting time to be with the Holy One, we are destined to fall. Our actions will be in our own strength, we’ll get frustrated in our sin cycle, and find holiness to be unattainable. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can be holy as He is holy. Just as the revelation of being loved can only truly happen as we pause from doing, the same goes with an understanding of holiness. We must take the time to rest in Him. (Sabbath rest is holy!) Don’t let the busyness of life hinder your relationship with our holy, loving God. Rest in the Lord! Be holy! 

To pursue holiness is to pursue the Holy One.

“If you think you can walk in holiness without keeping up perpetual fellowship with Christ, you have made a great mistake. If you would be holy, you must live close to Jesus.” — Charles Spurgeon

“Nowhere can we get to know the holiness of God, and come under His influence and power, except in the inner chamber. It has been well said: ‘No man can expect to make progress in holiness who is not often and long alone with God.’” 
— Andrew Murray

“The greatest miracle that God can do today is to take an unholy man out of an unholy world, and make that man holy and put him back into that unholy world and keep him holy in it.” — Leonard Ravenhill

Additional Readings:
Isaiah 6
1 Peter 1:13-16

Reflection Questions: 
Before this series, what was your perspective on holiness (negative/positive, being/doing, experiential/Biblical)? What is a stumbling block in your personal pursuit of holiness? How do you need to set apart your time differently in order to be set apart and holy? 

Find (and share) a scripture that motivates and encourages you to be holy and pursue holiness.

If you're jumping into the series now, feel free to check out the #WDYTYA16 page that includes links to all the posts so far. 

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