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The Doctrine of Holiness

Why this is important: The holiness of God is the most difficult of all God’s attributes to explain, partly because it is one of His essential attributes that is not shared, inherently, by any of us.

We know we are created in God’s image, and can share many of His attributes, to a much lesser extent, of course — love, mercy, faithfulness, etc. These are the gifts of God to us and grow in us as fruit of His Holy Spirit.

  • Holiness is not something that we have as an inherent part of our nature; we only become holy in relationship to the Messiah. It is an imputed holiness because of His great work.
  • Only in the Messiah do we “become the righteousness of God”

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. | 2 Corinthians 5:21

  • God’s holiness is what separates Him from all other beings, what makes Him separate and distinct from everything else.
  • God’s holiness is more than just His perfection or sinless purity; it is the essence of His “other-ness,” His transcendence.
    • It is amazing. It is stunning. We stand in awe.
  • God’s holiness embodies the mystery of His awesomeness and causes me to gaze in wonder at Him as we begin to comprehend just a little of His majesty.

Becoming holy involves striving after God. We have to be diligent. We have a role in setting ourselves apart for God.

  • 2 Peter 3:14  — Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.
  • 2 Corinthians 7:1  — Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:11  — Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
  • Ephesians 4:22–24  — that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
  • 1 Timothy 5:22  — Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thereby share responsibility for the sins of others; keep yourself free from missing God’s goal (aka sin).
  • Hebrews 12:14  — Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Master.
  • James 1:20–21  — For the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.
  • 2 Peter 3:11–12  — Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!