Defining Holiness – Part II
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 1:13-25
Key Verse: Hebrews 12:14
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Picking up where we left off yesterday, the Biblical definition of holiness has two-parts.
I described the first part yesterday. When someone believes in Jesus and finds forgiveness in Him, the Bible calls it being “born again” (John 3:3-15). When we are born again, the Bible tells us that God removes our sins from us and never remembers them again. In God’s view, we are as holy as we can ever be the moment we said “yes” to Jesus. However, that does not mean God has completed His work in us:
Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Although God has made us holy in our inner being, He wants us to be holy in our outer being as well.
Holiness in our outer being attracts others to God. It would be great if everyone could see the inner holiness that God sees when He saves us. Since they cannot, it is our job to “cleanse ourselves” of old habits that we formed before God did His work in us.
The good news about the work to cleanse ourselves is that God patiently gives us the rest of our lives to work on the things that may hide that fact that Jesus lives in us.
An example of a bad habit that hides Jesus in us is using curse words and other coarse language. When someone uses this kind of language to express themselves for years, often it does not go away at once. It takes effort and work to get rid of that unwholesome talk (Ephesians 4:29).
Another example is the habit of smoking. I have watched new believers struggle for months trying to give up a smoking habit. They became convinced that smoking is not a good habit, but it took a while to get rid of it.
There are many more examples, but I think you get the idea. Once God saves us through our faith in Jesus, we spend the rest of our lives working to get our outside as holy as what God did for our inside. We want others to see us as adding good habits and getting rid of bad habits.
This work that we do to cleanse our outer self after our salvation is not to earn God’s approval, but rather to give our best to Him who gave us His best. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
… Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. (Philippians 2:12)
Father, help me show reverence to You in my lifestyle. Help me develop a lifestyle that attracts others to You. In Jesus’s Name, amen.