Living the Christian Life – Chapter 8: Why Holiness?

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries3 Minutes

The word “holy” is common in most cultures, but do you know what it really means? Scripture tells us that God is holy, which means God is “perfect” and “set apart” from all other beings in the universe.

“For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:3 NASB).

The declaration that God is holy is made continually by the Old Testament prophets. Holiness is the foundation of God’s nature. While God is our loving, personal God—our Abba or Daddy in Heaven—He is also holy, which means He is truly awesome and all powerful.

It’s important to also remember that Jesus is Himself God—one and equal with the Father and the Spirit. While he put off the power and glory of His divinity to come to earth as our Savior, He was—and He is—still the holy God. While the disciples couldn’t see this, the demons knew who Jesus was in all the fullness of his divinity.

“Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of
Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the
Holy One of God!” (Luke 4:34 NASB).

While Jesus is loving and kind, He is also holy. Peter, James, and John experienced this one day when Jesus allowed them to see Him in his glory up on a high mountain:

“He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun,
and His clothes became white as light” (Matthew 17:2 ESV).

So God is holy. But here is a radical truth from the Bible—God calls you and me to be holy as well! The apostle Peter writes, “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16 NIV).

What It Means to be Holy

The apostle Paul reiterates the Old Testament commandment from God:

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

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we
have done but because of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9 NIV).

God has always desired his children to walk in holiness. We see this when Moses gave the Law to the people of Israel:

“For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45 ESV).

So what does it mean to “be holy because I am holy”? How can we be like God?

This is one of the mysteries and wonders of the Christian faith. The calling to be holy is not hyperbole or some religious, but impossible notion—we can be holy.