Christianity 201

August 15, 2015

How Would You Define Holiness?

I wonder how I would fare with the question in the title above? I think my answer would involve some notion of separation or being set apart. Maybe that’s sanctification. Are the two not synonymous?

This is from the archives of Logos Walk Word Journal:

Deuteronomy 33:3 • Your Steps and Your Words

“Indeed, He loves the people; All Your holy ones are in Your hand, And they followed in Your steps; Everyone receives of Your words.”
—Deuteronomy 33:3 (NASB)

Who are “the people” referred to here that “He loves”? Who are “Your holy ones” identified as being “in Your hand”? Well, the answer lies in two clues about their behavior that sets them apart: “they followed in Your steps” and “receives of Your words”. They are the ones who listen and obey. I read a report produced by The Barna Group titled, “The Concept of Holiness Baffles Most Americans”. Normally I wouldn’t be too concerned about a poll of “Americans” because that implies a mixture of both Believers and non-Believers alike, meaning that I would expect the views of non-Believers to deviate from those of Believers in a combined poll. However, it’s this mixture that IS alarming since on this point there is virtually no mathematical difference between the views of either group! The responses of born again and non-born again adults are virtually identical. When asked to provide a definition of holiness, the most common answer was “I don’t know”, followed by a wide array of answers. Only 35% responded that “God expects you to become holy”, meaning that most don’t believe it’s even really an important issue.

The report offers some opinions as to what this might mean, but considering the fact that the Bible is becoming less and less important to those who call themselves Christian, I’m not at all surprised to learn of a measurable disconnect between the group and the biblical teaching of holiness. Combine this with the fact that in America there is no statistical difference in the behavior and moral underpinnings of those who attend church and those that don’t, it’s really not hard to understand that greatly de-emphasizing—if not outright dropping—God’s Word is a necessary step towards enabling one to act any way they choose. Without God’s Word, one is not presented with the standards of being wholly separated and exclusively devoted — i.e. “holy” — to God.

“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”
—Deuteronomy 7:6 (NASB)

The demand for holiness carries over into the New Testament as well.

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
—Romans 10:1-2 (NASB)

Lord, that we would be an example to everyone of your holiness, the product of receiving Your Word and following in Your steps, so that we will become Your exclusive and dedicated possession, rid of all ties to this world, exclusively bound to You.†††


Here’s a classic worship song that came to mind as I was preparing this:

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