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What is Holiness? (and/or a user’s guide to holiness)

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. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But 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.” 1st Peter 1:13-16

Holiness is a kind of odd thing in today’s Christianity.
Holiness isn’t something you’ll hear about if you visit a church for less than a year. Many times, you only really hear about holiness when someone, most likely a celebrity, has done something wrong sexually and it’s been disclosed in public.

Like a friend you’re always just a bit too busy for, “because this is my Netflix catch-up night,” holiness rarely gets decent treatment. Why?

Well, because holiness is a both a bit too frank and feels like an unfinished conversation because we have broken views on it.

Holiness [hoh-lee-nis]
1. the quality or state of being holy; sanctity.

Sanctity [sangk-ti-tee]
noun, plural sanctities.
1. holiness, saintliness, or godliness.
2. sacred or hallowed character: “the inviolable sanctity of the temple.”
3. a sacred thing.

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O.K. We’ve got some scripture and definitions to go off of; let’s look at what “Bad” holiness looks like:

Bad Holiness keeps asking, “Are you sure this is the most holy thing to do?”
Bad Holiness keeps saying, “You keep messing up. God’s not going to like that.”
Bad Holiness keeps saying, “You’re never going to get this right. You are such a sinful person.”
Bad Holiness shows up late and says, “This is probably sinful, by the way. I’m not going to give you a definitive yes or no, I’m just going to plant a seed of guilt that robs you of hope and happiness.”
Bad Holiness comes around and rubs your face in errors you’ve been forgiven for.
Bad Holiness shows you a long list of things you should and shouldn’t do.
Bad Holiness tells you, “If you don’t get these right, you’ll end up in hell.”
Bad Holiness does one thing REALLY well.
It separates you from a God who is crazy about you.

A God so crazy, in fact, He sent someone who he loved and knew deeply, His only Son, all of God dwelling in humanity to die for all sins, for all time- Beginning, Middle, and End.

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John Thompson is a Seattle-based writer and poet who loves DVD’s with a Special Features section. As a Pastor’s kid, he has had an eclectic journey of faith and life finding a calling to follow Jesus Christ. Seeking to find the story behind the story is something that he loves to hear and share. To read more from John, check out his blog or Like him on Facebook.