The Christian is expected to live a life of holiness. To be holy (in a spiritual sense) is to be separated from everything that is wicked, profane, and sinful – and dedicated entirely to God. This is how every Christian must view his/her own life – as separated from all the ways of sin and completely dedicated to God!
God Is The Standard For Holiness
What standard are we to use to determine what is right and what is wrong – what is holy and what is unholy? The Scriptures demonstrate that God has not left this up to a matter of private and individual interpretation. Rather, that He (Himself) is the standard for our holiness. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”
God is holy. Many passages demonstrate this to be true (in addition to 1 Peter 1:15-16). For instance, Revelation 4:8 identifies four living creatures in Heaven who are continually proclaiming the holiness of God. 1 John 1:5 helps us understand that God is entirely light (righteous) and is separated from all of the sinful ways of darkness.
Now, God’s holiness is not just some nice piece of information. Instead, God’s holiness is full of implications for how we must live our lives in order to be approved in His sight. For instance, 1 John 1:5 declared God’s holiness. Then, 1 John 1:6-7 states that we cannot be in fellowship with this holy God if we are practicing anything that is sinful! Therefore, consider some of the ramifications of God’s holiness. (1) God’s holiness means that everything/everyone in His presence must be holy. (2) God’s holiness means that there must be a perfect standard to guide individuals into the way of holiness. (3) God’s holiness means that God’s vengeance will be taken against His enemies. (4) God’s holiness means that a perfect sacrifice would need to be made to make others holy.
Then, before moving to the next point, consider some additional points concerning the perfect standard God has given to guide individuals into the way of holiness. His word (contained within the Bible) tells us about God’s holiness – and it tells us about the things God expects of us. Therefore, whenever we comply with this standard, we live in a way that pleases God (2 Timothy 3:16-17)!
The Grace Of God And Our Holiness
Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Then, Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Clearly, then, there is a problem for all of us regarding our holiness – the problem of sin. We have all committed sin, thereby separating ourselves from our holy God. When we have done this, there is nothing we could do to remove the stain of this sin – by ourselves. We would be entirely hopeless and destined for an eternity in Hell fire because we have separated ourselves from our holy God.
But, thanks be to God in that He had a plan of redemption in place before this world ever began! Before time on earth began, God had a plan to save mankind from His sin by sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross (see Ephesians 3 and 1 Peter 1:18-21). Through Jesus Christ, God has given all mankind the opportunity to be reconciled to Him and forgiven of their past sins (see 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 and Acts 13:38). God has done His part to make us holy in His sight (by providing Jesus’ sacrifice). However, He requires that we be obedient to Him by hearing His word (Romans 10:17), believing (John 8:24), repenting of our sins (Acts 17:30), confessing Christ (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (Acts 2:38). When we do this, we are forgiven of our sins – and are made holy once again, being cleansed by the blood of His Son!
Then, God requires that we live a life of faithful obedience to Him (Revelation 2:10). In fact, Titus 2:11-14 indicates that the reasonable response to the marvelous grace God has shown to us in sending His Son to die so that we could be saved from our sins is to live zealous lives for Him, accomplishing the good deeds He wants us to be doing!
Perfecting Holiness In The Fear Of God
Given these truths about God’s holiness and about the grace of God, we should dedicate our lives entirely to God. After stating that Christians are the people of God who must be separated from all of the ways of sin and devoted entirely to God (holy), 2 Corinthians 7:1 says, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
The pursuit of holiness is a life-long pursuit. Perfect holiness can only ever be found through Jesus Christ. As previously described, we are made perfectly holy in God’s sight whenever we obey the gospel’s plan of salvation. But, whenever we violate God’s law again, we separate ourselves from our holy God. Then, whenever we repent of that sin, confess it to God, and ask for His forgiveness, we are again made perfectly holy in His sight.
The simple fact is that there is nothing sinful or wicked that God permits to remain in our lives. Again, everything sinful separates us from our holy God! So, we must make the decision to cleanse ourselves from every evil thing (“from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit”). James 1:27 instructs us to keep ourselves “unspotted from the world.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says, “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
This kind of complete holiness (in thought, in word, and in deed) must be pursued as we recognize the fear of God. Remember, God’s holiness requires that He take vengeance upon those who do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ (see 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Therefore, you must choose to pursue this kind of complete holiness in recognition of the fact that you will stand before God and be judged for everything that you have done while living on earth (2 Corinthians 5:10) – and that you will reap what you have sown (Galatians 6:7-8).
Are you living a life of holiness in all areas? Are you living your life according to God’s standard of holiness? If not, recognize that your sins have separated you from your holy God (Isaiah 59:1-2) – and, that God has loved you so much that He sent His Son to die an agonizing death on the cross so that you could be made holy! Now, allow the love of Christ to control all of your decisions and actions (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) – and dedicate yourself entirely to God and His standard of holiness (see 1 Peter 1:15-16)!