The topic of holiness is one mainly for the church. The time the world talks about holiness is when it thinks Christians are hypocrites because they don’t follow their own standards, which are actually God’s standards.
A lot of ethereal debate can happen with holiness if we’re not careful. It can become a theological subject with little application. But that’s not what holiness is supposed to be. To be sure, holiness begins with God’s character, as we discussed in an earlier post.
My concern is that Christians love to talk about holiness but not practice it. Sure, God’s standards are incredibly high, but we are not going it alone. We have the Holy Spirit’s help. So I’d like to discuss three areas of our lives that holiness touches.
- Principled Holiness – Some separate biblical principles of holiness from holiness rules and commands. When I use “principled,” I am referring to using God’s commands for holiness and his principles when direct commands aren’t given.
- Personal Holiness – This is where the rubber meets the road in our personal lives. Are we following the commandments and principles for holiness found in Scripture? These are the cultural, social, and character issues that affect us every day.
- Relational Holiness – This concerns every relationship we have from our vertical relationship with God to our horizontal relationships with every other human on the planet.
To clarify principled holiness, some churches and church leaders demand that their people follow biblical commandments and rules within their communities. If the Bible doesn’t have specific commands on a topic, that community makes community standards that people must follow.
Other churches and faith communities may see biblical commandments as nonbinding for “New Testament Christians” or members of their communities. They have a very light and when it comes to standards of holiness.
But when I speak of principled holiness, the principle is that God made his standards that apply to all Christians. As we study the commands he gives in Scripture and the principles that are laid out, we have a framework to apply his high standards to our character and practice them in our lives.
Personal holiness calls us to personally practice their standards we see in the Bible. But it also means that we are responsible to apply and practice that holiness according to our own situations. Every person has different weaknesses and struggles. God’s principles are personal.
Relational holiness considers every relationship and every interaction with every person in our lives. It starts with pleasing God in our relationship with him. But to please God, we must also have holy relationships with the pinnacle of his creation, humanity. Every relationship profile is different, and so the holiness principles for relationships we apply will be different.
These aren’t the only three areas of our lives and persons that holiness touches. But for our intents and purposes, these are three of the most important areas. What do you think of these? Leave a comment and let me know what you think about one or all of these.