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by Scott Wylie

Holiness, as outlined in the Bible, is a profound and transformative concept that calls Christians to a life of spiritual purity, sanctification, and devotion to God. It is both a divine attribute of God Himself and a moral quality expected of His people. In this article, we will explore the biblical concept of holiness, what it means, and provide practical tips for how Christians can actively pursue holiness in their lives.

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Infographic on the biblical quality of holiness.

What is Holiness?

Holiness, in a biblical context, is a state of moral and spiritual purity. It involves being set apart for God's purposes and living in obedience to His commands. The word "holy" conveys the idea of being separate, distinct, and morally pure. Holiness is not merely abstaining from sin but actively pursuing a life that reflects God's character and will.

Key Passages on Holiness

  1. 1 Peter 1:15-16 "But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'" This verse underscores the divine call for believers to be holy, mirroring the holiness of God.

  2. Hebrews 12:14 "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." Holiness is emphasized as a prerequisite for a genuine relationship with God.

  3. Leviticus 20:7 "Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God." God's people are called to consecrate themselves and live in holiness because of their relationship with Him.

Experiencing Holiness

  1. Surrender to God: Begin by surrendering your life to God completely. Dedicate yourself to His purposes and His will.

  2. Study God's Word: Regularly engage with the Bible to understand God's character and His commandments. Psalm 119:11 (ESV) encourages believers: "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you."

  3. Prayer and Intimacy: Cultivate a deep prayer life to grow in your intimacy with God. Seek His guidance, strength, and wisdom in pursuing holiness.

  4. Avoid Sin: Purposefully avoid and flee from sin. 1 Thessalonians 4:3a (ESV) advises, "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality."

  5. Accountability: Seek accountability with fellow believers who can encourage you in your pursuit of holiness and hold you accountable.

  6. Cultivate Virtues: Focus on cultivating virtues like love, humility, patience, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV) highlights the fruit of the Spirit.

  7. Practice Forgiveness: Forgive those who wrong you, as God forgave you. Colossians 3:13 (ESV) emphasizes this: "bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive."

  8. Serve Others: Engage in acts of service and kindness to reflect God's love to others. 1 Peter 4:10 (ESV) encourages believers to use their gifts to serve one another.

  9. Guard Your Heart: Proverbs 4:23 (ESV) advises, "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." Guard your heart against impurity and sinful influences.

  10. Seek God's Presence: Strive to live in God's presence daily. Psalm 16:11 (ESV) reminds us: "In your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Prayer and Reading Guide for Experiencing Holiness

  • Pray for Holiness of Heart:
    "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." - Psalm 51:10 (ESV)

  • Pray for Purity of Mind:
    "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer." - Psalm 19:14 (ESV)

  • Pray for Strength to Resist Temptation:
    "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." - Matthew 6:13 (ESV)

  • Pray for Wisdom in Obedience:
    "Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart." - Psalm 119:34 (ESV)

  • Pray for Grace to Forgive:
    "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." - Matthew 6:12 (ESV)

  • Pray for God's Guidance:
    "Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name." - Psalm 86:11 (ESV)

  • Pray for Love:
    "And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment." - Philippians 1:9 (ESV)

  • Pray for Self-Control:
    "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." - Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

  • Pray for Compassion:
    "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience." - Colossians 3:12 (ESV)

  • Pray for Obedience:
    "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!" - Psalm 143:10 (ESV)

Through prayer and the active pursuit of holiness, Christians can draw closer to God, reflect His character, and become vessels of His love and purity in a world in need of His transformative grace.

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