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What is holiness?

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Holiness is a much-misunderstood concept. It conjures up images of solitary hermits shutting themselves away from the distractions (and also the needs) of the world, or of self-righteous Pharisees condemning lesser mortals for their failures (Luke 18:11,12).

 

But Biblical holiness is not a subjective aura of saintliness, and it certainly does not involve withdrawal from the secular world. It simply means living in a way that honours God. He has called us out of the world to make us His own special people, and it is only by being distinct from the world that we can fulfil His purpose for us. So instead of conforming to the values and standards of the world, our lives must reflect the character of the God we belong to. “Just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (I Peter 1:14,15) Peter is writing to Christians, but he quotes from the beginning of Leviticus 19 - which is a manual of holiness. 

 

Leviticus 19 is an interesting chapter to read. It consists of a wide-ranging and apparently random list of commands, some of which appear rather obscure to us (why the ban on mixed fibres, or on certain hairstyles?); but it is clearly based on the Ten Commandments, which it fleshes out with numerous practical examples taken from all aspects of everyday life. The words “I am the LORD your God” run like a refrain throughout. It is because God ‘is who He is’ that the Israelites had to live in this way - and we shouldn’t need any other explanation or incentive to obey Him. The centrepiece of the chapter is one of the two ‘great commandments’ of Jesus: “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:29-31). If we obey this one commandment, we shall automatically fulfil all the others (Galatians 5:14; Romans 13:10). 

 

So does living a holy life merely involve obeying God’s Law? There’s a little more to it than that. God told the Israelites, “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God. Keep My decrees and follow them. I am the LORD, who makes you holy” (Leviticus 20:7,8). And Jesus said something very similar to His disciples: “Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them, and We will come to them and make Our home with them” (John 14:23). Obedience is only part of the equation. The process of sanctification (‘making holy’) is a virtuous circle, which is set in motion when God chooses us for Himself. It is then our responsibility to make ourselves worthy of His call, by conforming our lives to His will. But as we set out to obey God’s commands, He makes us holy by filling our lives more and more with His presence. So holy living cannot be reduced to sterile rule-keeping; at its essence, holiness is a deepening relationship with God.

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I enjoyed this weeks lesson that came to me from God on holiness.  The Spirit used "love thy neighbor as thyself" too!  Intge lesson he used the word partiality to contrast true holiness and deepen my understanding.  I was led to ask two different people what their vision of what holiness looked like and each gave an answer of mystical proportions that had nothing to do with normal earthly living.  I had to admit that I too had fallen into the same ideals.  Praise God for delivering me from error that I might understand holy living better!

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Just another view of holy.

I'll start with the definition of holy. The Hebrew word, Kodesh, is usually translated as holy.

apartness, holiness, sacredness, separateness

  1. apartness, sacredness, holiness

    1. of God

    2. of places

    3. of things

  2. set-apartness, separateness

In the OT, tools and vessels are called holy if they are used in the Temple. Tools and vessels which are like the ones in the Temple, and used by people in their homes are not considered holy. But the ones used in the Temple are called holy.  

1 Kings 8:4 They brought up the ark of the LORD and the tent of meeting and all the holy utensils, which were in the tent, and the priests and the Levites brought them up.

What made these tools and vessels holy? They were holy because they were separated from all other tools and vessels for a purpose which served God. 

The children of Israel are called holy. They were not perfect people as we know. They were not always obedient to God. But, still, they were called Holy. The children of Israel were separated by God from all other peoples on earth for a purpose.  In the same sense, born again Christians are holy. Christians have been separated from the world, filled with the Holy Spirit which is another separator, called and chosen by God, separated by God for His purposes. Christians are a Holy people and each individual Christian is Holy. We have been separated for Gods purposes. 

Back to the children of Israel who were Holy/separated for Gods purposes. The children of Israel were given the law, and many of the commands were commands designed to separate the children of Israel from the surrounding people. One set of laws involved which food they were allowed to eat. Back then, as well as today, people socialize over food. If the children of Israel were unable to go to a non-Jewish neighbors house, because their food was unclean to eat for the Israelites. The Israelites were unable to socialize with other people. The Israelites dressed very different with tassels hanging visibly from their garments. They were easy to spot and that uniqueness kept them separate. So, the children of Israel were holy because they were separated for God's purpose, and the law was to keep the children of Israel separate from all other people. 

Christians who are holy because they are separated by God for His purposes, but while being Holy, we are told to be holy. Do not act like the world. There are two kinds of holy in scripture. One kind of holy is appointed by God, separated by God for a purpose. The other kind of holy is our actions, and thoughts, and is a continuing growth.

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When we are born again we are set apart unto God by His Spirit living in us.  As we learn to walk in the Spirit we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh so we do not act like the world.  Instead we begin to do the works prepared for us before the foundations of the world.  As we focus on Christ, the Kingdom of God and His righteousness become our objective.  We read the Bible daily and pray constantly to become better acquainted with our Creator.  So we daily are washed and regenerated by the Holy Spirit and our minds are renewed.  Titus 2:14, 3:5-6  Romans 12:1-2   We present our bodies a living sacrifice, wholly giving ourselves to the Lord to be transformed.

Eph. 5:25b-27  --Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himsmself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  

Holiness and sanctification are things that God does in our hearts.  As our hearts are changed, our words and actions will reflect this.

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Are you talking about the holiness movement or a person being holy?

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So does living a holy life merely involve obeying God’s Law?

That is certainly a good part of it, and to be more precise it is the moral and spiritual aspects of the Law of God and the Law of Christ. Essentially holiness is deliberate SEPARATION. In describing the holiness of Christ, Scripture says that He was "separate from sinners".  That does not mean that He isolated Himself from sinners, but rather that while He freely mingled with sinners, He had nothing whatsoever to do with their sins.  

Therefore it means separation from sin, evil, the world, the flesh, and the Devil. It is also separation from sinning brothers and sisters until they repent.  It is separation from compromised and apostate churches.  It is separation from the deception that is all around us.

There is a news article that informs us that the First Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina has officially approved same-sex marriage just recently.  

The South Carolina church that was founded by the Southern Baptist Convention's first president has adopted a new non-discrimination policy that will allow for the congregation to not only marry same-sex couples but also ordain openly gay, lesbian and transgender ministers.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/baptist-church-founded-by-first-sbc-president-allows-ordination-of-gay-and-transgender-ministers-142997/#8MDXyB8yJ4MsB5jD.99

That is the opposite of separation from sin and evil.  So what should genuine Christians do in this regard?  They must separate themselves from this apostate Baptist church.

 

 

 

 

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Question: "What does the Bible say about holiness? What does it mean to be holy?"

Answer: 
In 1 Peter 1:13-16, Peter writes to believers, "Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'" Peter is quoting from Leviticus 11:44 and Leviticus 19:2.

First, let's look at God's holiness. What does it mean that God is holy? Passages like 1 Samuel 2:2 and Isaiah 6:3are just two of many examples of passages about God’s holiness. Another way to say it is absolute perfection. God is unlike any other (see Hosea 11:9), and His holiness is the essence of that “otherness.” His very being is completely absent of even a trace of sin (James 1:13Hebrews 6:18). He is high above any other, and no one can compare to Him (Psalm 40:5). God’s holiness pervades His entire being and shapes all His attributes. His love is a holy love, His mercy is holy mercy, and even His anger and wrath are holy anger and holy wrath. These concepts are difficult for humans to grasp, just as God is difficult for us to understand in His entirety.

Next, what does it mean for us to be holy? When God told Israel to be holy in Leviticus 11 and 19, He was instructing them to be distinct from the other nations by giving them specific regulations to govern their lives. Israel is God's chosen nation and God has set them apart from all other people groups. They are His special people, and consequently they were given standards that God wanted them to live by so the world would know they belonged to Him. When Peter repeats the Lord's words in 1 Peter 1:16, he is talking specifically to believers. As believers, we need to be "set apart" from the world unto the Lord. We need to be living by God's standards, not the world's. God isn't calling us to be perfect, but to be distinct from the world. First Peter 2:9 describes believers as "a holy nation." It is a fact! We are separated from the world; we need to live out that reality in our day-to-day lives, which Peter tells us how to do in 1 Peter 1:13-16.

Finally, how can we become holy? Holiness only results from a right relationship with God by believing in Jesus Christ as Savior (accepting His gift of eternal life). If we have not placed our faith in God's Son alone to save us from our sins, then our pursuit of holiness is in vain. So, we must first make sure we are born-again believers (seeJohn 3). If we truly are believers, then we recognize that our position in Christ automatically sets us apart from the world (1 Peter 2:9). After all, we have a relationship with the living God! Then we must daily live a set-apart life, not trying to "blend in" with the world, but instead living according to God's Word as we study the Bible and grow in it.
http://www.gotquestions.org/holiness-Bible.html

Edited by bopeep1909

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There are two kinds of holy in scripture. One kind of holy is appointed by God, separated by God for a purpose. The other kind of holy is our actions, and thoughts, and is a continuing growth.

Two kinds of holiness, yes. But they go together, like two threads wound around each other.

Are you talking about the holiness movement or a person being holy?

What is the 'holiness movement'? I haven't come across it.

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There are two kinds of holy in scripture. One kind of holy is appointed by God, separated by God for a purpose. The other kind of holy is our actions, and thoughts, and is a continuing growth.

Two kinds of holiness, yes. But they go together, like two threads wound around each other.

Are you talking about the holiness movement or a person being holy?

What is the 'holiness movement'? I haven't come across it.

Question: "What is the Holiness movement / church?"

Answer: 
The Holiness movement/church is an influence within Christianity that teaches that a person can achieve perfect holiness, or sinless perfection, while on earth. This doctrine is also called “entire sanctification” and usually comes via a spiritual experience that those in the Holiness movement refer to as the “second work of grace” or the “second blessing.” The Holiness movement is opposed by Reformed thinkers, who assert that original sin still exists in even the most faithful person.

The Holiness movement began in 1840 when a Methodist leader named Phoebe Palmer began to hold revivals and teach the necessity of holiness—and how to attain it. Groups and denominations historically associated with the Holiness movement include Wesleyans, Methodists, Nazarenes, and the Salvation Army. However, it should be noted that churches differ widely on doctrine, even within denominations. The Holiness movement did have a profound effect on the history of the church, particularly in North America during the Third Great Awakening. Holiness adherents are typically interested in obedience to the Law and see their obedience as a way to gain closeness to God and greater spirituality.

While holiness is a biblical mandate and something every believer should strive for (Hebrews 12:14), those in the Holiness movement typically leave out an important detail: the fact that absolute holiness is impossible to attain. Perfection, sinlessness, and a holy life are not within man’s power to achieve. This idea is backed up by the Bible in numerous passages, most notably in the book of Romans. Paul’s argument in the first part of Romans is that man is fallen and unable to make himself follow the Law. In addition, it could be said that the whole history of Israel, with its repeated failures, is an object lesson about man’s inability to achieve holiness through the Law.

The Holiness movement is related to Pentecostalism in that it says that God helps the believer by giving him the “second blessing” of His Spirit. The “second blessing,” according to Holiness teaching, seals the believer in a sinless state. Unfortunately, a “sinless state” is not supported by either the Bible or human experience. While an emotional experience can make one feel that holiness is possible and that we never want to sin again, we still live in the flesh, and the flesh is still beset with weakness (Romans 7:14–19). Even the apostle Paul was unable to be completely sinless, and he admitted as much, saying that the old law of sin was still alive in his body, even though he served God in his mind and spirit (Romans 7:21–23). Elsewhere, Paul mentions a “thorn” in his flesh, making him rely on God’s strength instead of his own weakness (2 Corinthians 12:7). Near the end of his life, when by all accounts he should have been the most holy, Paul called himself the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Had Paul not received the second blessing? Or perhaps there is no second blessing resulting in sinlessness. The fact is that none of the apostles ever hinted at the possibility that man can achieve “entire sanctification,” and there is no mention in the Bible of a “second blessing” of the Spirit.

Christians do sin (1 John 1:5–10), but, hopefully, less and less as we mature in Christ (Philippians 3:12). The Holiness movement is wrong in its assumption that a believer can keep enough rules to attain sinless perfection in this world.

http://www.gotquestions.org/Holiness-movement.html

Edited by bopeep1909

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Now you describe it - yes, I have come across these teachings, but not under that label.

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