What is Holiness?
God wants us to be holy, as He is, but what is holiness, and what does it mean to be holy? In the Old Testament the word “holy” is translated from a Hebrew word, “qadash,” which means “set apart.” In the New Testament “holy” is translated from “hagios,” meaning to be faultless.
Surely if we are faultless we are set apart as well, because it is the condition of humans to be sinful, to be misguided and to make mistakes in life. However once we are saved, we are set apart – not because we’ll never sin again, but because He is working in and through us, making us holy as He is.
Surely there is no holiness for us, and we can never achieve it, unless we are willing to have Him work in our lives. God is the source of all holiness, and through grace, we are filled with His Holy Spirit, which is the holiness that lives in us and transforms us from error-ridden human beings, to a condition of holiness.
Many people attempt to achieve holiness on their own. There are many ways people have devised to try to do this, but any attempt without the blessing of Jesus Christ and His grace is ineffective. We can go meditate on a mountain three hours daily for fifty years and still be seekers only, if we have not given our lives and our hearts to Jesus.
Once we humble ourselves and accept salvation, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts. It changes us from the inside, so day by day we become more in tune with the holiness God wants to share with us.
Yes, we are set apart, because most people aren’t there yet. They are still trying to find God in their own way, or as one woman told me, with their own “brand of spirituality.” Or maybe they aren’t trying to find God at all and have already discarded that idea, and are going their own way, doing their own thing, ignoring the Creator for all they’re worth. They are like ostriches with heads buried, because while they are doing their best to ignore Him, He still sees them, still loves them, still works on them, and He hasn’t forgotten them. The love of God is infinite and endless.
Though we open ourselves to God’s holiness and are willing for Him to work in and through us, we are not holy in the same way God is… for He truly is faultless and set apart. We, however, still have our human nature. We’re still in the world which is infested with negativity. We’re still prone to error. However, so long as we continue to study the Holy Word and stay in fellowship with our chosen congregation, we are placing ourselves in the light that leads to increased holiness by the power of the Holy Spirit, and we are not alone.