What’s So Funny ‘Bout Holiness and Perfection?

Holiness is a great word in the Christian faith:
“Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16

The problem is, today we tend to translate “Holy” into “Jerk.”

Word on the street is:
“Holy” people tend to be people you don’t really want to be around.
They tell you what to do, what not do.
They tell you what to say, what not say.
You feel like they’re always judging you,
then tweeting about it,
then updating their facebook
“anonymous” status…you know.

If that’s who God loves, who wants to be loved by God?

Well, A: Being a jerk is not what holiness is.

1) Holiness
There is only one who is “holy”: Jesus.

Our sense of holiness comes from him. We are holy, because he is holy. When Peter writes, “Be Holy,” it’s synonymous with “Be in Christ,” “Find yourself in Him.” We can’t do enough to be holy. The good news is, we don’t have to. We have Jesus to be holy for us. As we live in him, we live into his holiness. When you feel like you aren’t enough for God, it’s true. You’re not. But Jesus is. And if Jesus is enough for you, then you are all and more for The Father.

2) Wholly
Just as Jesus was wholly God’s, we can be wholly his.

Who do you belong to? Who do you turn to when you need mercy and grace? Jesus is not only the journey of Christian faith, but he is also the destination. Our goal is to become wholly his, that is, fully belonging to him. The apostle Paul calls it “slave.” I knew a guy that tattoo’d the word doulos on his arm. Doulos is the Greek word for “slave.” It was to remind him that he, in body and soul, was owned by Jesus his Lord and master. How we respond to Jesus and his holiness makes us holy and wholly.

3) Holey
You’re not perfect, cope.

One of the biggest barriers to Christianity is this demonic idea that Christians have a corner on perfection. Now that’s just silly. Scripture asks us to enter into Christ’s perfection, “Be perfect, as your father in heaven is perfect [MT 5:48].” In that imperative, “BE”, it’s understood that you are not; there are holes in the veneer of our perfectness. In fact, much of the whole Bible is written with the perspective that perfection is a God thing, that’s where we see it in life and action. The amazing thing is not that we are supposed to become perfect, but that we are invited into Christ’s perfection. Jesus makes room for all your imperfection and loves you anyway. You don’t throw away Swiss just because it’s cheese with holes. Got it?

Holiness is more than one word.
It’s living into all three of these at the same time.
It’s being accepting of Christ’s awesomeness on your behalf.

So be holy.
And be wholly.
And be holey.

Which “holy” do you need focus on today?

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