The State of Faith
A Study on Holiness
1 Peter 1:15-16
But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God—who chose you to be his children—is holy. 16 For he himself has said, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
First, Who is God? What do we look for in God?
Holiness is, perhaps, the ultimate characteristic of God. God tells us that He is holy and demands that His people be holy as well. This admonition appears in the writings of Moses and is repeated by Peter:
Exodus 19:6 (NKJV)
6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
Leviticus 11:44-45 (NKJV)
44 For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 45 For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
Leviticus 20:7 (NKJV)
7 Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God.
So, we are to be holy. Easy to say but hard to accomplish, especially when it is clear there is a great deal of confusion over exactly what is meant by being holy.
Let us start with God. As we have indicated in our study on the attributes of God, holiness is complete purity, the total absence of sin - in all forms, at all times. Holiness is the pure basis of God. There is a clear sense in which all other attributes of God arise from His holiness. Still, this does not provide us with much assistance as we study our own sinful lives. And, what about all those Old Testament passages where God says "things" are holy? How do we account for the furnishings of the Tabernacle being holy?
It is not the place of this study to provide a complete word study from the ancient languages. But some consideration to the meanings of the various words involved in the concept of holiness will be extremely beneficial.