May I open this letter with this question, what is Holiness? Simply put, Holiness IS a purity of the heart, undefiled, separate from sin. We cannot become holy without the Spirit of God. When the heart (inside) is pure so will our actions (outside).
In other words, God cleans up the believer starting from the inside and it will be shown on the outside, in action and associations; for we will be known by the fruit of our salvation.
The Holy Spirit brings sanctification (inside cleansing) while the believer consecrates himself unto purity/holiness (outside cleansing) making the decision to stay away from all forms of sin; a clean life style. As we seek God for a relationship with Him through His plan of salvation, we will both have Jesus and the Holy Spirit as our teacher and guide in this life.
So you can say, it is God’s work to sanctify the believer and it is man’s job to consecrate himself unto a Holy life way of living. God will use the Holy Spirit to teach, guide and convict the believer as we go through life. A life of the Grace of God is a life of obedience unto the very will of God.
What are some of the characteristics of the Spirit of God?
- Galatians 5:22 gives us some insight on the Spirit: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
By God’s grace and grace alone through the infilling and power of the Holy Spirit will we as believers possess these characteristics of the Holy Spirit. We are to strive to have the “Fruit of the Spirit” alive and working in our lives as believers. This only can be accomplished by the work/power of the Holy Spirit alive in the believer. We as believers carefully guarding our mind, soul and spirit, our hearts against the work of Satan in this world.
Belief and faith in all that Jesus has done for us individually and all mankind through His death, burial and resurrection will direct us into a life of holiness. With addition to our belief and faith in God’s plan of salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ; we must add the necessity of prayer and the Word of God.
In the scriptures, we find the Words of Jesus, which tells us to pray about everything. You might say that prayerful living is a call to living a holy life; a vessel guided and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Here are some of the characteristics of the SPIRIT-FILLED life:
1. LIFE – when He fills us – He will fill us with His life, Romans 8:2, 2 Corinthians 3:6
2. HOLINESS – when He fills us – He will fill us with His Holiness, 1 Peter 1:2
3. GRACE – when He fills us – we shall be gracious, Hebrews 10:29
4. TRUTH – when He fills us – we shall be true and truthful, John 14: 13-17
5. POWER – when He fills us – we shall be men and women of power, Zechariah 12:10
Holiness is doing in all circumstances things that are right; set apart for the worship or service of God.
- Romans 7:12 (NLT) “But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy and right and good.”
Holiness, translates into two Greek words. One of these, hagiosune, implies the character of holiness, suggests holiness as a state, way of life; the other Greek word hagiasmos, the conduct of holiness,meaning consecration, sanctification, holiness, refers rather to the process of sanctifying.
In two of its uses the word “holy” seems to stand for the end product, the goal, of cleansing.
- Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NLT) “Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.
Holiness – a holy and pure life is attainable through Christ Jesus. Paul exhorted Timothy in:
- 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT) Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.
There has been a lot of talk in the church realm about wanting to do the work of God, being a vessel for the Kingdom of God. This could be anywhere from teaching, speaking; a word of knowledge, word of wisdom or prophesy, and may include that of praying for others to receive their healing.
But until we first realize and walk in what it means to be holy; that of living a life of holiness, truth and obedience, we will not be successful as a true witness for God’s Kingdom. As I have stated before, we must first “Seek God and His Righteousness” and everything else will be added. Thus, the very will of God will follow.
Yes, there will be a clarity in service for God as we seek Him. There has to be an inward relationship that is true, honest and holy. Jesus has made this clear in the Sermon on the Mount that holiness is a matter of inward affection and attitude; not just outward actions and associations.
It is clear that an outward expression of holiness will show forth as the inward affection and attitude toward God is persevered. Holiness is truly a matter of the heart! True holiness has always been a matter of the heart, a right relationship with God by faith. The only way to understand His Holiness is to grow closer to Him through His Word and prayer.
Being in His presence will change the very countenance of a person.
- living with God –
- for God –
- and in obedience to God.
In other words, Holiness is Walking with God.
Today, God has given us his spirit; indwelling in us to make it easier to be obedient to His ways. The journey to holiness continues with a right view of sin.
One of the biggest roadblocks to living a holy life is our refusal to take sin seriously.
ALL SIN must be taken serious when going after God and maintaining a Godly/Christian life. As the Bible states, “In Him we live, we move and have our being”. If we live, move and have our being in Christ than there must be no sin in us as a believer. Because of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit living in and works through us. So we as believers “Christians” are the instrument/vessel in which God uses to proclaim His Gospel and built His Kingdom.
In our minds we have divided sin into categories of serious sin and not-so-serious sin. God does not categorize sin in that way. Little sin, big sin. All sin separates us from fellowship with God. God hates all sin, not just some sin. Sin is sin.
Holiness is a command to be followed and is displayed in the life of a Disciple of Christ.
Peter says, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy”
- 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NLT) But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
The apostle Paul describes holiness in this way:
- Galatians 2:20 (NLT) “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
As we can see, holiness has two aspects: putting the old life to death, and putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Romans 13:14 (NLT) Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. We cannot become holy without the Spirit of God.
- Paul writes in Romans 6:22 (NLT) “But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.”
As we see, Holiness is a very important attribute in our life…it is the roadway to the heavenlies… the road traveled by those who walk in “God’s ways”.
- Isaiah 35:8 And a main road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness. Evil-hearted people will never travel on it. It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways; fools will never walk there.
- Isaiah 5:16 But the LORD Almighty is exalted by his justice. The holiness of God is displayed by his righteousness.
This fruit in our life is the noticeable uniqueness of the spirit and life that manifests itself when one is truly converted. It can be seen on the countenance and is felt in one’s association with others, being witnessed to by the Holy Spirit.
For example; after a time of early morning prayer with God, I went to work. A few minutes after arriving at work one of my co-workers came over to me and asked, “What is it about you today;I don’t see Paul, all I see is Jesus.” She continued to ask questions and prayer for a situation in her life. That is the witness of the Spirit to the holy life. Let me add, the best feeling in life is to know God and be a vessel for His use, His purpose and be in His will. As a Christian you can be assured of Eternal life with Him when your time is done here on earth.
God’s power to convict our hearts of sin is one of the greatest gifts we have. Conviction shows us the real need for the forgiveness and grace of God. It is what shows us the reality of the cross, the sacrifice that was made because of our sinful nature.
If we harden our hearts to the convicting power of God, we become ignorant to the things of God. We then are separated from the life of Christ and become of this world. When we no longer feel conviction, we are more willing to give ourselves over to the selfishness of our hearts.
It is time we raised the standard for our behavior and behaved in a manner fitting to the term “Christian”.
- “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:29-32)
And how do we become holy? By a process called sanctification; thru and by the Holy Spirit of God. His Spirit reveals and glorifies God and Christ in us. Through Him Christ dwells in us, and His holy power works in us.
Just as God sanctifies the believer so must the believer consecrate themselves unto holiness; which calls for turning, staying away from and not being a part of anything that is not pure, truthful or right.
This may include turning away from, eliminating, certain music, certain books, certain television shows, certain internet websites and certain social communications.
To truly know God, to walk with God and to be used of God will take a dedicated life, a lifestyle of holiness.
- 1 Peter 1:2 (NLT) God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace.
The experience of salvation is for all to receive by faith, “a salvation that came through the spirit who makes you holy and by your belief in the truth” stated in 2 Thessalonians 2:1.
Another way to state this could be penned in 2 steps:
Step 1 – must have a desire to be holy.
Step 2 – is to repent, by confessing sin, turning from all unrighteousness of the flesh and spirit; cleanse ourselves from all that is not right, giving them up to God and by doing so having them cleansed away in the blood of Jesus. Again let me say, this will take faith, faith in Christ Jesus and what He did on the cross. Do you desire to be “holy”?
- Peter writes, “As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct” (I Peter. 1:15).
- Take these words into your heart-from God’s Word, Leviticus 11:44, 45, “I am holy.’ `Be ye holy,” and carry them in your heart as a seed of God that has life. Allow that seed to grow to a maturity in Christ bring forth holiness.
Holiness is conformity to God’s laws and commands. When all God’s laws without exception are written in our hearts, then we are holy. We will apply them and be walking them out in our lives. For the commands and precepts which God has given us are all pure, perfect, and holy.
They are the holiness of God in writing, and when the soul is conformed to them, we have holiness of God upon our hearts as stated in:
- 2 Corinthians 3:3 (NLT) “Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. “For as much as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshly tables of the heart.”
Be Holy in everything you do…
Those that live a Holy life will see the Lord.
- Hebrews 12:14 Try to live in peace with everyone, and seek to live a clean and holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.
- Matthew 5:8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. (“see God”…possess God, enjoy His presence, wisdom and understanding)
In conclusion, it can be said, that when the soul is molded and fashioned according to the image of God, with the very example of Christ and the rules of the gospel; then you are holy. As God said, “Be ye Holy as I am Holy”.
Love in Christ Jesus,