The word “holy” or “holiness” don’t often appear these days in some of the most influential books on the Christian life. In fact, holiness seems to be a word that speaks language of a former era. There are reasons for the alienating impact of the word “holiness.”
Too many used this word for restraining from alcohol or from smoking or from marijuana or from sex before marriage — so that the word gathered for itself only negative ideas. The positive idea of holiness disappeared. You can blame the old-fashioned fundamentalist if you want, but the word is important and it is vital to a biblical sense of what it means to have a heart for God.
One could say the ethic of the Temple was permeated with holiness; in fact, Israel’s Torah was a Torah designed to make Israel holy. And there’s more than a few examples of the summons to holiness in the New Testament.
But one area where the term rarely appears is when it comes to the ethic of Jesus. We get most often, and properly so, the word “love.” Jesus reduced Torah to the twin commandments of loving God and loving others. But love does not obliterate holiness; genuine holiness is love on fire. It is love absorbed with the right person and the right thing. The Jesus kind of love is a holy love. Kingdom living manifests that holy love.
In my book , I try to cast a vision of what can be called “kingdom holiness.” What does holiness look like if it is shaped by the kingdom vision of Jesus?
Join the One.Life summons. Jesus calls us to kingdom holiness. You’ve got one life. Give it to Jesus.
Book here: One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow.