13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”1 Peter 1:13-15 NLT
Holiness is a daunting word. Holman’s Bible Dictionary states, “Holiness comes to imply the fullness and completeness of God and godliness in all its facets and meanings.” When the scriptures say that we are to be holy as God is holy, it seems an impossible feat. It is impossible. But with God, all things are possible, (Matthew 19:26) and through the blood of Jesus, we are made holy.
Holiness is “to be set apart for God”. In Leviticus, chapters 17-25, we are shown how everything in the temple was set apart for God. The tools for sacrificing were holy. The Holy of Holies was set apart as the place of God’s presence. Only one selected priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and only once a year, and then only after he was made ceremonially clean.
All this was to remind the people of the holiness of God. The people brought sacrifices throughout the year mainly as a reminder of the holiness of God. But they had to keep returning to the Lord with sacrifices to be forgiven. Their failure to live rightly and the repetitive rituals caused discouragement and even futility. Living up to the expectations of God was impossible. How could they be holy?
The Depravity of Man
But at the beginning of time, God knew we would repeatedly fall short of His glory. (Romans 3:23) So, before the beginning of time, he chose to make a way. That plan was to send Jesus, His Only one and perfect (holy) Son, to be the sacrifice for everyone, once and for all! (Hebrews 9:11-15, 10:1-12) Therefore, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, His holiness and righteousness is assigned to us. When God looks at us, He sees His Son’s holiness. (Isaiah 1:18, 2 Corinthians 5:21) Amazing Grace!
When we understand Old Testament rituals for holiness, it gives us an appreciation for the cross and the results of God’s work through the cross. We see throughout the Gospels that Jesus came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Christ shed His blood and His body for the remission of sins at Calvary. (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20)
Holiness Comes from the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the agent of holiness in His people. When we accept Jesus as Lord and repent of our sins, God seals us with the Holy Spirit. He lives in our hearts and directs us into holiness.
The temple sacrificial rituals are no longer needed. We are now the temple of God. He lives within us. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) We are called to live holy lives, which can only happen by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit. We are in-filled with the Holy Spirit, who frees us from original sin and abides in our hearts and lives. The Holy Spirit then empowers us for a godly life and service in Christ. He makes us able to obey God’s commandments, make the right choices, overcome, and persevere. (Romans 5:5, Romans 8:26, Romans 12:1-2, 2 Peter 1:3-4)
More About Holiness
Pastor’s Wife (retired) & Chronic Pain Warrior blogs about how to make it through anything by relating her own life experiences to her writing. She is passionate about her love for the Lord and desires to spread that passion to others. She has a great desire to encourage women who are following behind her.