By Bishop Chet Smith
"Holiness" is God's standard of living for His people; this is what the Congregational Holiness Church teaches.
The Psalmist wrote, "Thy testimonies are very sure: Holiness becometh thy house, O Lord forever" (Psalm 93:5).
From the pen of the Psalmist comes the assurance that holiness will never be superseded nor become obsolete.
The teachings of holiness will always be sure and steadfast. In these last days, with liberalism, worldliness and
permissiveness abounding, holiness must be proclaimed with a loud voice. Holiness of belief and practice is not
optional, but required. Under "The Condition of Membership" the Discipline of the Congregational Holiness Church
states: "He or she must be in harmony with the Articles of Faith, also must abstain from the use of tobacco in every
form, the use of slang language and other things that are contrary to holy living and take the Bible as his or her
rule of conduct."
God's holiness is proclaimed throughout the pages of the Bible. Holy Scriptures reveal the holy nature of God from
Genesis to Revelation. The Apostle Peter wrote, "But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all
manner of conversation; because it is written, be ye holy for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:15-16). This admonition was
written to the early Christians who were scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. Peter
was calling these scattered Christians to a life of holiness. He reminds them that the God who declares His holiness
in the Old Testament also declares His holiness in the New Testament. In His unchanging essence of what He was,
He still is, and what He is, He will always be. Moses wrote of a God who is holy. Malachi wrote of a God who
The Greek word for holy is "hagios." Hagios translated means "to be righteous, pure, sinless and godly." It also
means to be separated and entirely different from all other beings and things. In the Living Webster Encyclopedic
Dictionary of the English Language, "Holy" is described as "consecrated to God, saintly in character and of divine
origin." What becomes increasingly evident in the Old Testament is overwhelmingly evident in the New Testament:
that holiness means the pure, loving nature of God, separated from evil, and it is aggressively seeking to
universalize itself. Peter wrote, "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and
godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue, whereby are given unto us
exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped
the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:3-4). God's plan of universalizing His holiness is for every
believer to be translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of his Son.
It then can be said of the believer that he is to be holy. God's divine power will enable him to live a separated life
that is entirely different from all who live worldly. The Apostle Paul wrote of Jesus, "Who is holy, harmless, undefiled,
separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26). Holiness is of a divine origin and not
of laws passed down from traditions or man-made philosophies. The best righteousness that man could produce
would not satisfy the demands of a God who is righteous, pure and the embodiment of absolute holiness. All
self-made righteousness is as filthy rags to God and would never produce holiness of heart, mind, and body.
He who is holy has called believers to be holy in mind, spirit and body. He does not want the Christian to be
corruptible and dying with the world. To live with God eternally, the believer must be like Him. Therefore, the
believer must live a holy, pure and righteous life. He must pursue, seek and go after holiness. Scripture demands
holiness, for it is written, "Ye shall therefore be holy for I am holy" (Leviticus 11:45). The Apostle Paul wrote,
"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit,
perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 7:1). In the book of Hebrews, there is the great cry for the
paths of holiness, "Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews
The words `holiness,' `saints' and `sanctification' are all translated from the one Greek word, "Hagios." The Old
Testament equivalent Hebrew word is "Kadosh." The basic meaning of "Kadosh" is "to be set apart, separated and
different from all others or things". When it is applied to individuals, it means pure, sinless, righteous, holy. The
believer has been separated from the world and set aside for God to use. We are thereby called holy unto the
Lord. There are several things in scripture called holy unto the Lord because of their special connection to him.
The ground that Moses stood upon was called Holy Ground (Exodus 3:1-5). The temple that worldly King Herod
built was called Holy (Matthew 24:15). Within the holy temple was the Holiest of Holies (Hebrews 9:2-3). The Apostle
Peter called the Mountain of Transfiguration the Holy Mount (1 Peter 1;18). The gospel and scriptures are called
Holy (Matthew 7:6; Romans 1:2). Anything that becomes associated with God is separated unto God in a very
special sense and becomes different from all other things.
Israel, A Holy Nation Unto God:
In the Book of Exodus the children of Israel were called a holy nation. They were set apart in a very special way
unto God. God had said to them, "Ye shall be holy unto me; For I, the Lord am holy and have severed you from
other people, that ye should be mine" (Leviticus 20:26). Israel was to be holy in that they were to be different from
all other nations. They were to believe God and serve Him faithfully. The promise to Israel was, "Now therefore, if ye
will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:
For all the earth is mine; and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation" (Exodus 19:5-6). The
people were to be holy, the priests were to be holy, the tithe was to be holy, and the temple was to be holy.
However, the children of Israel refused to participate in the great plan that God had designed for them. Sadly,
National Israel rebelled in unbelief. Their ultimate sin was the rejection and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Church Is Holy Unto the Lord:
The church is now the holy people of God. The Apostle Peter wrote, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal
priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out
of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9). The privileges and responsibilities of following God were taken
away from the Jews and given to the church. However, Jews are not excluded from the church. The church is set
apart unto God as holy, separated and different. The Apostle Paul wrote of the church, "In whom all the building fitly
framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of
God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:21-22).
The Individual Is Holy Unto the Lord:
The individual believer is holy unto the Lord. The Apostle Paul wrote, "What? Know ye not that your body is the
temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a
price; Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The body
then becomes the dwelling place for God's presence and replaces the Holy of Holies within the inner Sanctuary of
the temple. Every believer is called a saint, or holy one. Paul wrote that believers were chosen in Christ before the
foundation of the world and that they should be holy and without blame (Ephesians 1:4). "God hath from the
beginning chosen the believer through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."
Only in holiness can we resemble God. God has not summoned us to great learning but unto holiness of heart.
God has not called us to be conformed to this world's mold but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We
are called not only to holiness of speech but holiness of conduct. Our roots are in His holiness. Holiness permeates
heaven and holiness will be the song of the ages. All the redeemed will one day sing out the refrain, "Holy, holy,
holy, Lord God Almighty." God has called us unto holiness.
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