Most believers know Scripture tells us to be holy. And if asked what that means, we’d probably begin by listing some behaviors we think we should avoid — behaviors like cursing, drinking, or gambling.
While we can all agree that good, moral behavior is important in the life of a believer, the call to holiness can sometimes become obscure in our modern world. Often times, our behaviors and practices are no different from those around us and therefore, holiness doesn’t have a chance to stand out among our peers.
So what does it mean to be holy?
To be holy is to be set apart. That means believers are to be separated from sin and intertwined with God — not only in action but in thought as well. In fact, our holiness should be evident in such a way that it’s the first thing others see in us.
We all know that once we accepted Christ as our Savior we died to ourselves — the old self died and the new self came to life (John 3:3-7). Gone are the days where we live only for ourselves or for our own sinful desires. We now live for God. And we are called to holiness.
Although moral character and pure living play an important role in holiness, we miss the point if we reduce holiness to just these characteristics.
For example, being a Christian means more than just believing in Jesus. And it means more than following a set of rules. Being a Christian means uniting with Jesus — becoming one with the Savior — through the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s why Paul says he was crucified with Christ and no longer lives, but Christ lives within him (Galatians 2:20).
In other words, Paul died to himself and its Christ who lives through him. Paul understood that he entered into a relationship with God when he accepted Christ and was now united with God through Jesus Christ. And because he is united to Christ, he shares in Christ’s holiness. This same truth applies to us as well.
That doesn’t mean that we are now free from the responsibility of pursuing holiness in our lives. Yes, we’ve been made holy through our relationship with Jesus, but we’re commanded to continue to express God’s holiness through the way we live (Romans 6:19).
So take a moment and remember that you are united with Jesus and share in his holiness.
And enjoy the abundant life that is already yours in Christ.
Donna Hughey is an award winning Christian author and columnist. She lives in Crescent City.