. . . as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
If you listen to most teachers, you would begin to believe that holiness is something you do. To be holy, according to many, is to do certain things and to avoid certain things. If you want to be holy, they would say, here is the way. Doing holy things, according to this teaching, leads to holiness.
But those who have discovered the true message of the Scripture, the message of God’s love and grace, read about holiness differently. Holy is what we are, not what we do. Those who belong to the Lord are already holy—because of Him, not because of us.
You see, the concept of holiness means to be “set apart,” made special for the use or the glory of God. A place may be known as a holy place because it has been set apart for the glory of God. An item, something in the Temple for example, is said to be holy because it has been specified as belonging to and purposed for the Lord. People are holy when God has chosen them for Himself and has made them His own.
So, if you belong to Jesus, you are holy. It is already decided, already done. You can’t become more holy or less holy. Your actions can be consistent with or inconsistent with holiness. That would be to take the holy and use it in a profane or common way. Holiness extends to conduct, but does not proceed from conduct.
I find it very hard to sing the popular chorus:
“Holiness, holiness is what I long for, Holiness is what I need…”
It seems to me that only unbelievers should sing that. We have holiness because of Jesus. We are holy because He has made us holy.
In fact, if you really want to rattle your legalist friends, assure them that you are just as holy as Jesus. It’s true because He is your holiness.
So… be holy!