The Call to Holiness


Why does the Bible care so much about holiness?

Much of the world thinks that holiness is a waste, that holiness stifles life and detracts from joy.

In his book, The Fight, John White shares a list of images that often come to people’s minds when they hear the word “holiness”:

  • Hollow-eyed gauntness
  • Beards
  • Sandals
  • Long robes
  • Stone cells
  • No sex
  • No jokes
  • Frequent cold baths
  • Fasting
  • Hours of prayer
  • Getting up at 4 a.m.
  • Clean fingernails
  • Self-humiliation

But from God’s perspective, it is holiness that truly makes us human.

Many years ago, a man wrote to a newspaper advice column, “Dear Abby, I am in love and I am having an affair with two different women.  I can’t marry them both.  Please tell me what to do, but don’t give me any of that morality stuff.”

Abby wrote back, “Dear Sir, the only difference between humans and animals is morality.  Please write to a veterinarian.”

From God’s perspective holiness (morality) is what makes us human (beings created in the likeness of God), and from God’s perspective holiness is actually what leads to the abundance of life rather than detracting from the quality of life.

Jesus tries to make that clear to us in John 15:10-11: “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in His love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete!”

David Seamands observes, “The word evil is the word live spelled backwards.  It is life attempting to live against itself.  And that can’t be done…it is an attempt to live against the nature of reality and get away with it.  It is an attempt at the impossible.  The result is inevitable—breakdown and frustration.” (Freedom from the Performance Trap, p. 192)

From God’s perspective, immorality corrupts and squelches life; holiness enriches life!

It could be said that holiness is to unholiness what

  • whole is to broken
  • clean is to polluted
  • healthy is to diseased
  • fresh is to spoiled
  • true is to counterfeit
  • full is to empty
  • abounding is to inadequate

No wonder the Bible cares so much about holiness.  God cares that much about us.


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