Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
2 Corinthians 7:1 NIV
The Hebrew word for “holiness” is qōdes, a word that highlights the realm of the sacred in contrast to everything common and profane. The adjective qādôš, “holy,” refers to God and what belongs to him. In various places in the Hebrew Scriptures, God is called by the title the “Holy One of Israel.” God has called every Christian to a holy life. In other words, to live a holy life is to live a life in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible and in contrast to the sinful ways of the world. When God was forging a relationship with the Israelites, he told Moses to “Give the following instructions to the entire community of Israel. You must be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). God was calling his people into relationship with himself and he wanted his people not only to survive the experience but to be nourished by it. But for that to happen, they needed to know the ground rules, needed to come to him on his terms not theirs.
Jesus, while on earth, lived a perfectly holy life – Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22, 2 Corinthians 5:21, I John 3:5.
But the holiness of Christ was more than just the absence of sin. It was also a perfect conformity to the will of His Father (John 6:38, John 4:34, John 8:29). Christ lived a life pleasing to God in action, motive and attitude. Holiness is more than just actions – our motives and attitudes must be holy, in other words arising simply from a desire to do something because it is the will of God. Our holiness before God depends entirely on the work of Christ.
However, there is a holiness which we have in Christ (our standing before God) and a holiness which we are to strive after, to which we are called to in our daily lives (1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:7). To continue to live in sin as a Christian is to go contrary to God’s very purpose for our salvation.
So, therefore, holiness is not necessary as a condition for salvation – but as an essential part of salvation that is received by faith in Christ.
- Do we have this lifelong struggle with sin as Christians though sin has been overthrown and weakened?
- What is the nature of sin?
- What is the seat of indwelling sin? (Mark 7:21-23)
- If holiness is supposed to be the basic, fundamental, essential element to the Christian life, why do we not experience it more in our daily walk?
- Why do so many Christians constantly feel defeated in their struggle with sin?
- Is Holiness “living by Faith”? Yes/No
- If yes, do we still have a personal responsibility for our walk of Holiness?
- Are Sins into categories?
- Is Holiness an option? Yes/No
Justify your answer with supporting scriptures (Hebrews 12:14)
- Does our salvation depend to some degree on our attaining some level of personal holiness? (Isaiah 64:6, Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 5:19, 1 Peter 3:18)
- What is the purpose of our salvation? Ephesians 1:4
- How do we deal with our wills in our pursuit of Holiness? Romans 12:1-2