The Bible is very clear: God is holy. What’s not so clear is what, exactly, holiness is. When the Scriptures show an image of God’s holiness, it’s usually fire or incredible brightness. Those images imply an aspect of God’s holiness we can understand: his righteousness. The impurities and darkness of sin can’t survive the fiery light of God’s holiness. In fact, as Moses and Isaiah learned, coming into contact with too much of God’s holiness would destroy human beings. And that leads us to another aspect of holiness: something separate, set apart. If we know anything about ourselves and our fellow humans, doesn’t it make sense that if God is completely righteous, he’s different and set apart from us?
So why does holiness matter if God is separate from us? Well, it matters because God said he expects his people to be holy, too. God gave the ancient Israelites a complex set of laws to show what holiness looks like. Today, he offers something even better: God shares his holiness directly with Christians through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. That’s right. God gives holiness to Christians, and we have it, already, right now. We have a hard time believing it because our lives don’t really look all that holy. But God’s promises are more real than our perceptions. Christians have been made holy in God’s sight. The challenge, of course, is learning to make our actions match.
(c) Copyright 2007, A. Milton Stanley