Holiness. Not a word that is tossed around much these days. I’m not sure if it makes people uncomfortable or no one really understands what it means. What comes to mind when you think of that word? I’ve always been intimidated by the concept. Most likely it is because I don’t feel like I measure up to my definition. Oh its not that I’m doing anything particularly awful…I just don’t feel like I deserve the title.
I’ve always associated holiness with moral perfection. With that definition in mind you can see why I am uncomfortable pinning that label on my shirt (Those close to me say “Amen”). But I think I’ve had the definition only partially correct. I asked my wife what she thought it meant when we say God is holy. She replied, “He has no broken parts.” I love that definition. I know God is morally perfect, but I never understood His holiness as being synonymous with being “unbroken”. God is…whole. Therein lies the dilemma…I’m not.
…It is written: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16
I have always struggled a bit with this declaration, or is it a command? Either way, I have had a difficult time with – either way. If God is declaring it so, that I am to be holy, then on my best days I still fall short and on my worst days…well lets not go there. If its an command then I’m really in trouble because in spite of my best efforts, I still haven’t been able to nail down absolute moral perfection. But maybe I’ve had it wrong…maybe God is NOT imposing an impossible demand but rather declaring His intention to help us become unbroken…whole…no broken parts…like Him.
Many times holiness is seen as “sweating out religion”. “I’ve got to be good enough to come to God because that is what He demands.” But the gospel of Jesus Christ says that we can never be good enough,whole, through our own efforts… we have too many broken parts. Only the One who is whole can bring us back to a state of “wholeness”. That is why Jesus died. He took our brokenness and exchanged it for our His wholeness.
I no longer have to sweat out being good enough, but rather, I accept what He has done for me on the cross. I want to know the One more intimately who died for me and loves me in spite of my shortcomings. I think I have finally discovered the right reason to become holy…not to measure up to my own flawed standards but allowing God to help me become less broken and more like Him.