CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick, May 1, 2023 – There are few things more misunderstood than holiness. Even some Christians have a hard time with the concept. Maybe that’s because holiness has gotten such a bad rap over the years, which is unfortunate, because the state of holiness is the state of being born-again – that is, living in the state of grace – and there’s nothing better in this world than living in God’s grace.
When you’re born-again, God’s Holy Spirit enters into you. The spirits of the world get booted out, and God’s Spirit enters in. God’s Spirit is holy, which is why it’s called the Holy Spirit. So when God’s Holy Spirit enters into you at rebirth, you become holy not because of anything you’ve done, but because of the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in you. That is the source of your holiness.
God’s Holy Spirit confers holiness on you. You are only holy because of the presence of God’s Holy Spirit. In and of yourself, you are not holy. You cannot do anything to make yourself holy. You cannot say anything to make yourself holy. You cannot stand or kneel or lay face down to make yourself holy. But if God’s Spirit is with you, you’re holy by default. You cannot NOT be holy when God’s Holy Spirit is with you. You cannot NOT be holy when you’re living in a state of grace as a born-again follower of Jesus.
Not everyone is holy to the same degree. That’s because not everyone has the same measure of God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus, scripture tells us, had the full measure of God’s Spirit while he was on Earth in human form. No-one before or since has had the full measure of God’s Spirit, so that means no-one before or since has been as holy as Jesus. That’s a spiritual fact.
If you’re genuinely born-again, you’re holy. That’s also a spiritual fact. The fact of their holiness sometimes blows people away because they think “What? Me?!!! I can’t possibly be holy!” But again, it’s important to remember that you’re not holy because of anything you do or anything you say – you’re holy solely because of the presence of God’s Spirit in you. There’s no other way to become holy.
Holiness, over the centuries, has gotten a bad rap from people trying to be holy when they’re not (or worse, pretending to be holy). Holy is not something that you can try to be; holy is something that you either are or are not. And again, you cannot be holy by your own efforts. If you try to be holy by your own efforts, you’ll end up like the “holier than thou” guy in the temple who gave himself airs because he fasted and tithed. That’s the sort of guy that gives holiness a bad rap.
The hypocritical Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees were also good at being fake-holy. Jesus warned us about their hypocrisy – they considered themselves holy and therefore above everyone else, but they were just blowing spiritual hot air. They might have fooled themselves and others around them, but they couldn’t fool Jesus and they didn’t fool God. God knows who’s holy and who isn’t because he knows who has his Spirit and who doesn’t.
We see the same attempt to appear holy in mainstream established churches today, with the priests and ministers adorned in elaborate costumes that designate them as holy. But wearing certain clothing can’t make a person holy any more than fasting or paying tithes can. Only God’s Holy Spirit can make a person holy, and only by God’s decision. The same principle holds true for so-called holy water and so-called holy artifacts, including so-called holy places.
There are no holy places anymore, only holy people who have been made holy by the presence of God’s Spirit in them. Jesus taught us that we won’t have to go to a specific location anymore (like the temple in Jerusalem, which housed the holy of holies) to worship God, because God will come to those who worship him in Spirit and in Truth. We don’t have to go to God; God will come to us. Those who live in God’s grace become temples by the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in them. They become walking talking holies of holies.
Again, you are holy not by anything you do or say or think or wear, or by the office you hold (priest, minister, pope, etc.), or by your location – you can only be holy by the presence of God’s Holy Spirit in you, and that through spiritual rebirth. God’s Holy Spirit is the source of all holiness.
So if you’re genuinely born-again, you’re holy.
“And they shall call them The holy people,
The redeemed of the Lord.”