"Be holy, for I am holy"
"Be not conformed but ..."
"in the world" - "not of the world"
The reality of what holiness means seems to be somewhat vague among Believers, just like godliness. As was explained in the Kingdom Godliness message, their meanings are distinct. (It would be helpful to read that message before reading any further.)
In brief, the difference is this:
Godliness is the disposition of being alive to God (living in the awareness that God is present)
and holiness is living differently (in accordance with the word and character of Christ).
The apostle Peter emphasised the difference when he asked:
"... what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness," 2:3'11.
(Perhaps, the vagueness of understanding is not surprising because of the interrelationship that exists between many of the things of God.)
There is a significant basic distinction between godliness (being alive to God) and holiness (living differently) in that godliness precedes holiness. And godliness produces holiness.
This means that holiness becomes evident when godliness is acted on. However, holy conduct is not produced through a person's own effort.
The Holy Spirit is very much involved because it is He who gives Believers the understandings and the power of these things.
Actually being holy in everyday life can mean a sorting out of a Believer's thinking, as Peter exhorts:
"... gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
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',"
1 Peter 1'13-16.
What is the purpose of being holy? Earlier Peter gave the answer:
"That you may proclaim the praises of Him
who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light,"
1 Peter 2'9.
The fact is that a human being's life manifests either uncleanness through sin or holiness through Christ.
For Believers this is the understanding:
"God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness," (1 Thessalonians 4'7).
God calls His People in holiness. They are accounted holy (different). That's because they have been born again by the Spirit.
It's from that position that the Father calls His Children to be holy (live differently).
"Holy" is translated in Strong's Concordance from the Greek word hagios as:
holy, holy one or thing; saint; or sacred.
From Romans to Revelation it is mostly rendered saints or holy ones.
This being ascribed as holy is one of the truly awesome things God ascribes to the whole Body of Christ:
a chosen generation,
a royal priesthood,
a holy nation,
His own special people (1 Peter 2'9).
Therefore, Believers are to accept what they are and be the Saints we are declared - and called - to be.
"I AM HOLY"
Jesus is the Holy One. The enemy soon recognised that, as Mark reported: "a man ... with an unclean spirit ... cried out ... I know who You are - the Holy One of God!” (1'23-25).
When the Lord says, "Be holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1'13-16) Jesus is the I am. He reveals the holiness of God.
His holiness is absolutely unique, far above any other "gods" and unlike humans. In His uniqueness He is love and He is gracious and merciful. We are to love as He loves.
Another aspect is that only He redeems. Every person who has been redeemed is so because of God and is called to be like Him and be redemptive.
He is holy inasmuch as He alone has all spiritual authority and power which He delegates to His People in the name of Jesus.
Just as Jesus' holiness portrayed the Father so, in Christ, we are called to do the same.
"Love has been perfected among us in this:
that we may have boldness in the day of judgment;
as He is, so are we in this world,"
1 John 4'17.
"BE NOT" AND "BE"
God makes a call for His People to "be not" and then to "be". This is where the elementary principle of repentance (change of mind) is crucial because it is the power that upholds a disposition.
These scriptures make the point:
1. "... do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind," Romans 12'1-2.
2. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ," 2 Corinthians 2'17-18.
3. "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand," Romans 5'1-2.
"For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace," Romans 6'14.
These are powerful truths of a Believer's new creation.
"IN" - BUT "NOT OF"
Being holy is all about Believers being alive to God and living differently while having much the same needs of soul and body as the rest of society.
It is a life of being distinctly spiritual and at the same time obviously natural.
The world is ungodly and unholy. Believers "are not of the world" (John 17'16) but sojourners and pilgrims (1 Peter 2'11).
Being godly and holy has challenges for these pilgrims. Nevertheless, Jesus encouraged His People:
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world," John 16'33.
Paul could say of himself and Timothy:
"... we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God," 2 Corinthians 1'12.
The enemy lays traps to lure Believers into becoming comfortable among unbelievers and to all intents and purposes being one of them.
This is why 1 Corinthians 11'28 says:
"... let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup".
Take stock. Look around. Pray. Put God's Kingdom first. Hear the word of Christ and receive the blessings of holiness:
"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'
Therefore 'Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.
I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty'.
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God," 2 Corinthians 6'14-7'1.
"... looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God," 2 Peter 3'12.
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to pay the ransom for every Believer's redemption.
And thank you, too, for the abundant supply of the Holy Spirit's grace and power.
In Jesus' name. Amen.