Then What Is Holiness?

A few days ago, I made a case for the fact that the Christian does not experience sinless perfection, this side of heaven. Yet Scripture says the Christian is to be holy because God is holy. Aren’t these two in contradiction?

I don’t believe so because of the sanctification process God has undertaken in our lives. But believers are not to sit back and let God do the work of chipping away the imperfections of our lives.

Over and over Scripture gives commands for us to follow. The book of James, for example, contains 108 verses and half of them deliver a command.

Is the Christian life all about measuring up to a high standard, then? Not really. I believe it’s all about imitation.

When I was four or five, I used to follow my mom around with a child-sized broom “helping her clean.” I wanted to be like her, so I did the things she did. Imitation of this kind, I believe, is at the heart of being holy.

Of course, patterning myself after God requires me to know Him the same way a child knows a parent. I suspect, however, that too many of us know Him less like we know Mom or Dad and more like we know the local fireman.

Most people agree, having a fireman in the community is a good thing. We might even be impressed with his state-of-the-art fire truck or water-dropping helicopter.

We certainly respect the fireman and do our best to follow his rules because we understand they are for our safety and protection. Certainly if a fire breaks out, we call him first.

What about the rest of the time? If we see a fireman on the way into Starbucks, we might nod and smile, but would we think of inviting him over to hang out?

If he should stop by our home, I suspect we’d wish we had checked the battery in the smoke detector or cleared away the brush more recently from around the house. Most likely we’d promise to do better next time, and with a sheepish grin, usher him out the door as fast as we could.

Should he stop by work, I doubt we’d be glad to see him. Rather, we might be concerned about the pile of boxes blocking the fire exit or worried whether or not we have a functioning fire extinguisher in place.

The fireman, as good a guy as he might be, isn’t our friend. He’s a benevolent authority who checks up on us from time to time, one we’ll call only if we have an emergency.

Too often isn’t that the role we give God? In truth, He’s our loving Father, but until we become intimately acquainted with Him as such, I suspect we won’t be doing a lot of holiness imitation.

Published in: on November 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm  Comments (5)  
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