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Monday, April 11, 2005 

What is Holiness?

Pronunciation: 'hO-lE-nes
Function: noun
1 : the quality or state of being holy -- used as a title for various high religious dignitaries

Pronunciation: 'hO-lE
Function: adjectiveInflected Form(s): ho·li·er; -estEtymology: Middle English, from Old English hAlig; akin to Old English hAl whole -- more at WHOLE
1 : exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness
3 : devoted entirely to the deity or the work of the deity
4 a : having a divine quality : venerated as or as if sacred

We sing about it, we seek it, we say we have it, and we talk about how God is defined by it, but what is holiness? Webster's dictionary can offer us some interesting definitions, but still seems to fall short of what holiness really is. The English word "holy" is used about 650 times in Scripture, "holiness" 21 times. The angels declare God's holiness in Isaiah 6. Peter tells us in his first epistle that we ought to be holy like God. So it is apparent that we ought not only to understand what it means to be holy, but we ought to practice it as well.

Because of this necessity, I have decided to take some time and talk about this issue with the weblog. I have realized recently that corollary issues like sin and atonement are very misunderstood among Christians. So I am going to start with holiness and work toward an understanding of what it means to lack holiness and how that affects us spiritually. Finally, I want to show from Scripture how we become holy and how that translates to a change in our lifestyle.

I hope some of you will hang with me on this and interact some. Let me know if you have any questions that you want me to address and maybe we can together find some Biblical answers.

Until Christ is Formed in Us All,

Holiness is where human language comes to its limitations. The words summs up YHWH's otherness. It tries to capture his moral purity, power and love and so. He is set apart from all of his creation, to be worshiped for his attributes, which he and he alone possesses. Holiness is a word which captures what we cannot comprehend. But we know from Isaiah that YHWH's otherness is to the utmost, for he is not just holy, or holy, holy, but holy, holy, holy! The only time in Hebrew bible a word is repeated three times!

And, so the concept of the Triune nature of YHWH is reflected...
God the Father is Holy,
God the Son is Holy,
God the Spirit is Holy.
Holy, Holy, Holy...Yes, I agree with Hughd, it is a word which captures what we cannot comprehend.

It seems to me that you're making something spooky and intangible what is plain. As I understand it, to be holy means to be set apart for a purpose, special, weird, if you will.

God and Jesus are certainly that and to this we are called.

The biblical writer wouldn't have told us to “be holy as God is holy,” if it were something wholly unattainable. We are called to be a special people, set apart. God's kingdom. We do that by leaving behind our love of money and power and just embracing Love. By God's grace, if you must put a religious spin on it.

But live the kingdom we must. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done...

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About me

Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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