One of the scriptural commands that I think we’ve often misconstrued and misinterpreted is the command to ‘be holy’. It was a repeated command from God in both the Old and the New Testaments. It’s a pursuit and a calling that should be at the core of who we are. All we do should be in a desire to be holy.
And to be holy means to be set apart.
Set apart for a purpose, goal, or mission. The great failure of Christianity has meant that we’ve separated from the world and lost the capacity and vision for mission.
But biblical holiness means that we separate ourselves in our actions, not in our relationships. Tweet that
Biblical holiness is rooted in the call to be people of light, hope, and grace. It is a pursuit of God that draws others closer to him. We are to remain relationally close to those around us with a vision and focus of serving them in the name of Jesus. God’s call to holiness shapes the way we act, think, live, work, and serve in this broken and hurting world.
Jesus prays that his disciples remain united in love and faithful in action (John 15), and the same God that called us to be holy because he is holy also calls us to go and make disciples, to be a good neighbor, and to be defined by our actions to ‘the least of these.’
Our great failure, and what we must work to reclaim, is not the idea that holiness is somehow an excuse to retreat. Holiness is not a retreat, it is a call to advance. God advanced and freed slaves. God advanced and became human. Our holiness should advance us in capacity and vision for mission reconciling the world to God.