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Home

Holiness

aymon de albatrus


"Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:" (Heb 12:14 AV)

"Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord:" (Heb 12:14 ASV)


Holiness and Sanctification are synonyms. That is the words are interchangeable.

Holiness is the state or quality of being holy, in sanctity. Holiness means the state of being set apart for the worship or service of God. It is most usually ascribed to people, but can be and often is ascribed to objects, times, or places. The definition of Holiness in the highest sense belongs to God and to Christians as consecrated to God’s service, and in so far as they are conformed in all things to the will of God. Amen

Holiness is a purity of the heart, undefiled, separate from sin and sinners. We cannot become holy without the Spirit of God. Galatians 5:22 tells us that the characteristics of holiness are nine-fold: "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control". Against such there is no law.

Holy is a quality of perfection, sinlessness, and inability to sin that is possessed by God alone, indeed God is thrice HOLY: "And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory." (Isa 6:3). As Christians we are called to seek holiness (1Pe 1:16). But this does not refer to our nature. Instead, it is a command of our practice and thought. We are to be holy in obedience (1Pe 1:14). God has made us holy through His Son Jesus (Eph 1:4; 1Pe 2:9). Forensically we have been made Holy, but experientially the Holy Ghost works this Holiness into us.

Sanctify, Sanctification means to be set apart for a holy use. God has set us apart for the purpose of sanctification not impurity (1Th 4:7) and being such we are called to do good works (Eph 2:10).

As Christians we are to sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts (1Pe 3:15). God sanctified Israel as His own special nation (Eze 27:28). People can be sanctified (Exo 19:10,14) and so can a mountain (Exo 19:23), as can the Sabbath day (Gen 2:3), and every created thing is sanctified through the Word of God and prayer (1Ti 4:4)

Sanctification follows justification. In justification our sins (past, present and future) are completely forgiven in Christ, for nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (Rom 8:38,39). Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire. True sanctification (Holiness) is impossible apart from the atoning work of Christ on the cross because only after our sins are forgiven can we begin to lead a holy life.

In the process of having been saved it is important to differentiate between justification and sanctification. Justification is another word for salvation. Jesus gave his life on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. His blood washes away our sins and frees us from an eternity of suffering and condemnation. We are saved once by a Sovereign act of God, and saved forever. We can do nothing to earn salvation (Justification), it is the gift given to every child of God regardless of race, age, maturity, or merit. Sanctification instead is a life long process occurring as a result of salvation. At the moment of conversion, the Holy Spirit enters our life and we are free to live the life God wants for us. We are thus sanctified simply because of our standing in God as lost souls saved by grace.  Indeed we were already saved before time was, before the foundation of the world: “3 ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ, even as 4 He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. 5 He hath predestined us to be His own adopted children by Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will,” (Eph 1:3-5)

Sanctification is a forensic term, in the sense that legally in front of God, having had our sins forgiven, the punishment due for our sins has been done away with and we have been made consecrated to Him by the marvellous and unmerited Grace of God through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross who has vicariously paid fully for our sins. Though our sins were as red as scarlet, now they are made as white as snow (Isa 1:18).

With Sanctification a person is set apart by God for a specific divine purpose. The very moment we perceive to be saved in Christ we are also immediately sanctified and begin the process of being conformed to the image of Christ. As God's children we are "set apart" and from that moment we will carry out His divine purposes unto eternity: "For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (Heb 10:14)

Sanctification is an incessant process that continues in a Christian's life on this earth. Unlike the things and places that are sanctified by God in the Bible, people have the capacity to sin. Even though we have been "set apart" as God's children, we continue to behave in ways that are contrary to holiness. Soon after conversion, we realize that there is a new inner battle being waged within us, a battle between our old sin nature and the new Spirit nature. Paul in Galatians best describes the inner struggle between the Flesh and the Spirit, which are contrary to each other (Gal 5:17).

Indeed like Paul, our heart's desire is to please and obey God, but our flesh is weak making sin difficult to resist. Yet, it is in our continual struggle with sin and obedience to God that sanctification does its work. And as Paul, we can take comfort that Jesus Christ will deliver us from this conflict (Rom 7:24,25) and that there is no condemnation to those that are in Christ and walk in the Spirit (Rom 8:1).

What does it practically mean to be "set apart"? Sanctification can be described as an inward spiritual process whereby God brings about holiness and changes in the life of a Christian by means of the Holy Spirit. The effects of living in a fallen world have harmed everybody differently. We all face different issues, struggle with sin, and past hurts of varying degrees, hindering our ability to live the life God desires for us. Once we accept Jesus Christ into our lives, the Holy Spirit enters our life to start a transformation process (progressive sanctification). He convicts us on areas that need to be changed, helping us to grow in holiness. We begin to view the world, people, and personal difficulties from a more biblical perspective. Our choices begin to be motivated by love and truth and not selfishness. For instance, we may have misplaced our confidence and security on beauty, wealth, and materialism, but God may ordain difficult circumstances to liberate us from these growth-hindering snares. The transformation process may be painful, but it is always motivated by God's love for us. Further, God promises in His Word to not give us more than we are able to handle (1Co 10:13).

The process of Sanctification is personal for each individual, the end goal is to check sin and generate spiritual growth. Sanctification has nothing to do with living in sinless perfection for we will never be sinless in this life as we live in this body of sin. In fact, the Bible warns against such false teachings: "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1Jo 1:8)

Sanctification is not about trying to be sinless in order to earn the favour of God. Rather, sanctification is for our own benefit, like every other commands of God. God commands us to pursue sanctification so that through it we may be blessed, on the other hand it is impossible to be Holy without the personal intervention of the Lord in our lives.

Within ourselves we do not have the capability nor the knowledge to be Holy for all we knew up to conversion was to continually sin and sin and nothing else. It is God, the Holy Spirit, which after converting us He vivifies our spirit, working in us progressively the things of God so that we may understand them and making us willing to do them. In other words, today we are more "holy" than yesterday but less "holy" than tomorrow, reaching full Holiness only when shedding our sinful ‘tent’ and being with the Lord.

Sanctification is the process of God to bring us to perfect Holiness, in Heaven.

Holiness is an attribute of God, and holiness is always part of the presence of God. Practical holiness is the evidence of the presence of God in the converted believer. Actions that demonstrated holiness would spring up, not premeditated, as the believer focused more and more on the relationship with Christ. This is the life of faith, a life in which one recognizes that the sin nature never departs; yet grace invades and draws the person after Christ.

Calvin formulated a practical system of holiness that even tied in with culture and social justice. All unholy actions, Calvin reasoned, resulted in suffering. Thus he proved out to the city fathers of Geneva that dancing and other social vices always ended with the wealthy oppressing the poor. A holy life, in his outlook, was pietistic and simple, a life that shunned extravagance, excess, and vanity. On a personal level, Calvin believed that suffering would be a manifestation of taking on the Cross of Christ, but suffering was also part of the process of holiness. He expected that all Christians would suffer in this life, not as punishment, but rather as participation in union with Christ, who suffered for them. And yet, socially, Calvin argued that a holy society would end up as a gentle, kindly society (except to criminals), where the poor would be protected from the abuses of the wealthy, the lawyers, and others who normally preyed upon them.

Holiness portends also the majesty and awesomeness of God. He is majestic in holiness (Exo 15:11), and the very being of God is such as to provoke awe and fear. Jacob at Bethel, in a dream beholding the exalted Lord, awakens to cry, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven" (Gen 28:17). The primary response to God's majestic holiness is wonder, awe, even dread. So does the psalmist proclaim: "Worship the Lord in holy array; tremble before him, all the earth" (Psa 96:9). His majestic presence calls for the response of worship and reverence. It also makes for awe and trembling.

Incidentally have you ever noticed how your "holiness" upsets worldly people around you and in some cases they actually move away from you?

Holiness then denotes the separateness, or otherness, of God from all his creation. The word holy, in its fundamental meaning contains the note of that which is separate or apart. God is totally other than the world and man: "I am God and no man, the Holy One in your midst" (Hos 11:9). This separateness, or otherness, is first of all that of his very "God-ness", His essential deity. God is not in any way (as in many religions) to be identified with anything else in all of creation. Secondly, it signifies God's total apartness from all that is common and profane, from everything unclean or evil.

Holiness in relation to God refers to His moral perfection. His holiness is manifest in total righteousness and purity. The holy God will show himself holy in righteousness (Isa 5:16). His eyes are too pure to approve evil (Hab 1:13). This moral, or ethical, dimension of God's holiness becomes increasingly significant in witnessing. Everything associated with God is also holy: "a holy Sabbath" (Exo 16:23); the heaven above is God's "holy heaven" (Psa 20:6); God sits on his "holy throne" (Psa 47:8); Zion is God's "holy mountain" (Psa 2:6). God's name is especially holy, and never to be taken in vain (Exo 20:7; Deu 5:11).

Both in the OT as in the NT His people are called to consecrate themselves to Holiness: "I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am holy" (Lev 11:44). "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." (1Pe 1:16)

Believers both in the OT and in the NT, as the chosen saints of God, are: "And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. …" (Exo 19:6; Deu 14:2) "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation" (1Pe 2:9) In the OT the holy nation was Israel and in the NT the holy nation are all those in Christ (both Jews and Gentiles), those that are gradually transformed to this final goal: "that He (Christ) might present it to Himself [as] the glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such things, but that it be holy and without blemish." (Eph 5:27) God's covenant folks are separated people, separated unto the Lord, and therefore holy not first of all because of any virtue but simply because of their apartness from the world to Him. The mark of holiness is the highest expression of the covenant relationship between a holy God and his people

In a nutshell:

  1. Only God is HOLY and has Holiness in Himself,

  2. We, as his elect, have been Justified (salvation) and set apart (sanctification) to be moulded into perfection (Holiness) as He is perfect,

  3. Forensically we are already "Holy" but experientially we shall only arrive to perfect Holiness in Heaven, after shedding this body of sin,

  4. We are commanded to be holy, but without the Holy Ghost working in us, teaching and making us willing, we have no hope, thus we are to be active in the process and follow His gentle prodding,

  5. Holiness then denotes the separateness from the things of the world and anything contrary to God (1Jo 2:15),

  6. sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord, no man can possibly achieve Holiness unless the Lord has saved and regenerated his soul, thus we glean here that if a man does not follow Sanctification/Holiness he is not saved and thus will not see the Lord,

  7. We are His workmanship and He will finish what He has stared to bring us to perfect Holiness in Heaven. Praise the Lord forever and ever. AMEN