by Renée N. DeGroot
“A highway shall be there, and a way,
and it shall be called The way of holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it…
but the redeemed shall walk there.”
This verse is from one of my favorite passages of Scripture—it is beautifully poetic and it memorably illustrates a picture of the Christian life. The way of God’s children is a path characterized by holiness for that is an attribute of God, and it is what God has called His people to become.
The Scriptures that speak of holiness reveal that it is an attribute that God gives and a virtue that God requires.
Holiness from God
“The LORD is righteous in all his ways,
and holy in all his works.”
It is a fundamental of our faith that the Lord we serve is a holy God, eternally holy and holy in all of His attributes and actions. This holy God has set His love upon His children; and, what sinful being could be touched by the pure, immortal Divine without being affected, even transformed? Salvation from the Lord shows us His holiness, uncovers our filthiness, and renews us in righteousness.
The Lord enables us to follow Him, giving us a new name and a new master so that we are not slaves to sin but are made lovers of righteousness. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:22). And yet, the work is not complete. The ability is there, the desire is there, but there is need of the Lord’s command in 1 Peter 1:16:
“It is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
Jesus Christ is leading us to join Him one day in the heavenly places. He calls us His brethren, and we are to “be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). Pursuing holiness will not change our status in His eyes, because His children have been chosen by no merit of our own and graciously redeemed by His blood. However, we want to be holy because He makes us holy, He commands us to be holy, and He is glorified when we reflect His nature. God chastens us, punishes us for our sin “for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).
In God’s holiness, He saves us. We are instructed to be like Him, for we will see Him in His holiness at the end of our journey on the narrow way. Men and women who have been given much, have much required of them (Luke 12:48). God has given us His name, and in turn, we are required to live by that name and in honor of that name. God sent holiness man-ward through His Son; we must mirror His holiness and display it to the world.
Holiness for God
So, we are made holy and we want to be holy. God’s Word tells us why… “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
And how, for example… “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
And to what end… “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:13).
Personal holiness will please the Lord, but as it influences other parts of our lives, our relationships, our community and environment, God will continue to be glorified. More of the earth will be transformed for His name and His kingdom.
Sanctification, or the process of being made pure and holy by the work of the Holy Spirit, is both a spiritual and physical process. We are physical and spiritual beings, and salvation saves our souls as well as our bodies—both are made to conform to the Lord’s will. This concept was seen in the above verses: to “present your bodies a living sacrifice” and “stablish your hearts in holiness.”
We must first be faithful in the primary level of holiness—personal communion with God—before reaching on to the next. The Christian’s purpose should be to show a testimony of holiness to others, shining as a reflection of God’s pure holiness in everything that we are involved in. God created the earth to bring glory to Him, and the salvation from the Lord Jesus makes it possible for sinful men and women, now His children and partakers of holiness, to once again bring glory and honor to His name.
~Renée N. DeGroot