Holiness is primarily about union with God in Christ and sharing in Christ’s holiness.
Holiness is scary because we’ve viewed it as unattainable. It’s heavy because we’ve felt that we can’t continue in holiness. It’s vague because we aren’t really sure what “holiness” looks like besides the description of God that we’ve heard.
The God we saw in the Old Testament was a God that induced fear and dread. Caveat: We should have the fear of the Lord. But, He’s also our Father. So the fear shouldn’t be punishment but reverence. There’s a balance. People were even afraid to let God speak to them!
We see in Isaiah 6 that God is not just holy, He’s holy, holy, holy. That’s a lotta holy! Holiness is God’s very being. Let’s make sure we understand what holy means. Basically, Holy means sacred or set apart. This seems self-explanatory in the context of God but what about us? God instructed us to holy as He is holy.
45 For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God.You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.
Leviticus 11:45, ESV
The God that Jesus showed was our Father, someone to be both revered and approached. As His children, we shouldn’t fear God as an abusive Father. We cry “Abba” or “Daddy” a term of intimate endearment. We can come boldly into the throne room and call on our Daddy!
You might be thinking like I have, “Ok, I get it, My Dad is holy. But, how do I get holy?” Great question. You don’t.
Let’s look at this in scripture. Paul quotes Leviticus when talking about holiness.
14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:14-16, ESV
The word that Paul uses for “be” is the same word but a different language of the word that is used in the creation story in Genesis.
God: “Light be!” And light was.
So God commanded light and light was. Later God commanded holiness of His people, His people were made holy. Now, just because He’s commanded and called His people to be holy doesn’t mean they act that way. When He called us to be holy, His call is the power to live out holy. Holiness is not something we do, is acknowledging His call and the power that call has. Once this is done, Holiness is simply allowing the inside change to show on the outside.
God: Be holy like me. I am made holy.
This is the tricky part: Stopping the constant self-pruning. Rest in His power and faithfulness to trim His plants. If He sees something in you that is not you, He’ll trim it.