20150621FBCPM & 20150625FBCTH
WHAT IS HOLINESS?
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:15–16)
From Peter’s words here, we learn that God is holy. In fact, holiness is the most significant attribute of God given in scripture. We like to think that love is the most common character trait of God given in scripture—but his holiness beats it by a long shot.
Philadelphia pastor James Montgomery Boice once spoke to a discipleship group on the attributes of God. He began by asking them to list God’s qualities in order of importance. They put love first, followed by wisdom, power, mercy, omniscience, and truth. At the end of the list they put holiness.
“That did surprise me,” Boice later wrote, “because the Bible refers to God’s holiness more than any other attribute.”
The Bible doesn’t generally refer to God as Loving, Loving, Loving! Or Wise, Wise, Wise! Or Omniscient, Omniscient, Omniscient! But over and over we read the cry of the angels, Holy, Holy, Holy! (Robert J. Morgan, Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, and Quotes, electronic ed., [Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000], 373)
What is holiness? At it’s most basic level, to be holy means to be separated from sin. God, of course, is completely separated from sin. We, according to the text in Peter, are to be like God in his holiness. Holiness is not just separating from sin, it’s also separating to (or dedicating to) God and righteousness. Continue reading