What is Holiness?

Holiness is defined as: The quality of being holy.

Holy is defined as: Belonging to or derived from or associated with a divine power

Using this definition, holy is an association, or a relationship with God, and belonging to Him.

But do we really need to be holy, to act holy? To answer this let’s look into God’s instruction book for mankind, the Bible

Holy or Holiness is listed over 600 times in the New King James Version.

The first place the English word holy is used is in Exodus 3:5

Then He said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground." (Exodus 3:5 NKJV throughout unless otherwise specified)

Did you ever wonder why the "place" where Moses stood was holy ground? The location was not so special, but it was the presence of God Himself that made that place Holy.

‘For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy… (Leviticus 11:44 emphasis added)

So what is that to us? Why does God say, be holy for I am holy?

Because God wants a relationship with us. That relationship can only be attained when we are sanctified or made holy. God does not dwell with un-holiness or uncleanness

"that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, (Leviticus 10:10).

God wants a relationship with us that is holy. He called us to "be holy"

For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:7)

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, (Ephesians 1:4)

This call to "be holy" is a call to be Godlike. Because God is Holy. [1 Peter 1:15-16] .


What has God made Holy?

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Genesis 2:3)

Sanctified is defined as: Made or declared to be holy; devoted to a deity…

So the first thing (that we know of) in creation that was sanctified (or made Holy) was the Sabbath day. In fact this was one of the 10 commandments [Exodus 20:8] .

The account of creation is interesting, on each of the first six days something was created, but on the seventh day, God sanctified it. We see revealed to us the character of God, As creator, and as sanctifier.

What else is holy?

Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. (Romans 7:12 )


What is God’s will for us?

For this is the will of God, your sanctification:… (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

God wants to sanctify us?

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

How are we sanctified? Since we cannot do it on our own.

"Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17)

A method of sanctification that God uses is His word.

It is through the word (which is truth) that sanctification comes.

But not only by the written Word but by Yeshua are we sanctified.

For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14)

Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood… (Hebrews 13:12)

…you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did all Christians everywhere—whoever calls upon the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and theirs. (1 Corinthians 1:2 NLT)

We are made holy because of the sacrifice of Messiah (Christ)


Now what?

Is that all there is to it? Or do we play a role in this?

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. ‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel." (Exodus 19:5-6 emphasis added)

Andrew Murray once said "Obedience is the path to holiness…"

Obedience, not just the knowledge of God’s will, not even the desire to do it but the actual performing of God’s will, this is obedience. This is what will keep us holy.

Wait a minute! I thought we are free in Messiah (Christ), free from the law?


Freedom through Holiness

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:18 NIV)

The freedom we have in Messiah is the freedom from the bondage of sin.

We are free, free from sin, through Yeshua. But we must take on His yoke [Matthew 11:29-30]

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22 NIV emphasis added)

Only through not sinning and becoming slaves to God are we led to holiness. You see we only have two choices. sin, or holiness.

Through Yeshua we are sanctified, set apart, freed from sin.

But what is sin?

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (1 John 3:4 KJV)

Sin is the transgression of the law, I would suppose John is referring to God’s Law, or Torah, The first five books of the Old Testament. (At the time John wrote this there was no "New Testament".)

Out of this, and with further expounding of the Torah by Yeshua and other new testament writers we have sin defined for us. We see we do not have the ability to overcome this sin except through the grace of Yeshua Messiah. (Romans 6, 7, & 8)

Since we have this grace over sin, and we have Yeshua in us to be holy, why can’t we sin willfully, and then call on Yeshua for forgiveness?

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, (Hebrews 10:26 NIV)

We cannot continue in the ways of this world. No sacrifice remains for those who do such things, remember we are set free from Sin. [Romans 6:18]


What Do we need to do to stay Holy?

Firstly we must read God’s word.

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17)

I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the peoples. ‘You shall therefore distinguish between clean animals and unclean, between unclean birds and clean, and you shall not make yourselves abominable by beast or by bird, or by any kind of living thing that creeps on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. ‘And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine. (Leviticus 20:24-26 emphasis added)

God’s people are not to be like the other people. God’s people are to be separate (sanctified) from others. Not doing as others but distinguishing between clean and unclean, holy and unholy.

The Hebrew word for Holy "Kodesh" comes from a root that means to be "set apart".

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1 emphasis added)

If we cleanse ourselves from sin we become useful to God.

Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:21)

Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 20:7)

Easton’s bible dictionary defines Consecration:

The devoting or setting apart of anything to the worship or service of God… …In the New Testament, Christians are regarded as consecrated to the Lord.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9)



Through this discussion we have defined holiness, covered our need to be holy. Discussed how we become holy, and how to remain holy. But let’s close with a sobering verse about holiness.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: (Hebrews 12:14)

Our only hope lies in Yeshua. But He has a word of encouragement.

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 emphasis added)

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