In this day and age, one may ask, is it still possible for one to attain holiness?
How do we measure one’s level of holiness?
Holiness is not a principle can be measured in terms on “partially holy” or “completely holy”. This is so because it is only God who has the parameters for measurement. However, He has given is His word to direct us as we look forward to walking in the streets of gold
What is Holiness?
So at times we define Holy as being set apart, consecrate, sanctify or separate. It is about distinction and division from one thing and separation for or to another thing.
1 Pet 1:15-16
Holiness: God’s Standards
Attaining holiness begins with an understanding of what God means when He calls us to be holy
In Exodus 3, God told Moses to remove his sandals and He told him that was holy ground. This was the same ground that Moses had walked on all those years as he took care of the sheep. But at this particular moment it was holy ground, God had separated it as he revealed Himself to Moses; His presence was there. God declared it separate from other ground.
Holiness Requires Separation
To attain holiness one is required to separate from one thing and to a different thing. God separated the ground He chose to appear to Moses from the rest of the ground of the earth for His purpose.
God has called us to abandon our unholy ways and to pursue the holy way. Without this action, holiness is not possible.
2Tim 2:22 says ‘Flee from your youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. We therefore see the dual command of separation; we separate ourselves from youthful passions in order to dedicate ourselves to righteousness, faith love and peace.
1 Peter 1:14-16 tells us that we are to separate ourselves from the desires of our former ignorance and inappropriate conduct and separate ourselves to him and appropriate godly conduct.
HOLINESS HAS STANDARDS
One can choose to define holiness according to several standards,but its only one that matters,that is the one given by God
A. Holiness is only defined by God
Society does not dictate what is holy and what is common. It cannot set standards of holiness; only God can because holiness has high standards.
Too often in this religious world we always think that what we do is holy as long as it is dedicated to the Lord. We often think that some things we may do in church are to be considered as worship and acceptable to God as long as we simply declare that it is dedicated to God. This is clearly not the case.
For example in Acts 10:9-16, Paul tried to declare unholy what God had declared holy. God is the only one who can define holiness. Therefore we have to do what God says.
In Exodus 19:5-6, we are to do what God tells us to do.
B. External Holiness alone is unholy
Mathew 15:1-9, Jesus was clear about this. The Pharisees were keeping their own traditions and not following the commands of God. The Pharisees kept external holiness but their hearts were far from God.
When we engage in actions that probably seem holy like attending worship, going to church or even praying but our hearts are far from God or we are rebellious, we still remain unholy even if we appear holy to others. We can only be holy to the Lord only if our hearts and our actions are separated from the world and dedicated to God.
Holiness: where we fail
A. Our attitude toward sin is more self-centred than God centred
Most of the times we are concerned with our own victory over sin, than we are about how our sins grieve the heart of God. Many times the only reason we are upset about our sin is because we are only focused on our success and not because we know that we have done an offensive thing towards God. All sin is against God because HIS law has been broken and His authority despised.
Pharaoh, Saul and Judah said ‘I have sinned’ but David and the prodigal son said ‘I have sinned against heaven and before Thee and against Thee, Thee only have I sinned’.
God wants us to walk in obedience and not personal victory. Obedience shows God centred attitude and personal victory a self-centred attitude.
B. We must take personal responsibility for holiness
While holiness is defines by the Lord, living by faith doesn’t mean that we don’t have to put any effort. We have personal responsibility for the choices and decisions we make.
We are not passive participants. We have been empowered by God to choose our course. In normal circumstances as human beings we blame each other for our mistakes. Adam and Eve did that. As long as we do that we will continue to lead a life of sinfulness.
C. We do not take sin seriously
We have categorised sin- we have good sin, bad sin, medium sin etc. GOD TOLERATES NO SIN. We need to take our actions seriously and see the devastating effects of sin if we are going to live in holiness. God does not find our sins acceptable. When we accept this harsh reality we are now ready to separate ourselves from these actions, so we can separate ourselves to the Lord.
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord