Biblical Boundaries – Holy and Unholy

Biblical Boundaries – Holy and Unholy

Biblical Boundaries: Holy and Unholy.

“Just as there is a scientific order to nature, so then there is a moral order, and it consists of keeping separated the things that are separated, and maintaining the boundaries that respect the integrity of the world God created and seven times pronounced good.  The Torah is telling us that nature has its own laws, domains and boundaries, the crossing of which is an offense against the divinely appointed order. An ordered universe is a moral universe, a world at peace with its Creator and itself. Where there is order, there is shalom.” (Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, from his commentary on Leviticus).

We are confronted with the biblical concept of separation right way in the first few verses of Scripture. The Creation story itself is a tutorial in the fixing of boundaries. Creator God began the universe by separating light from darkness, day from night, water from above and water from below to create a sky in between, water from the land, one type of seed-bearing plant or animal from another, mankind from the rest of creation and the Seventh Day. In Scripture, we can observe the importance of boundaries as created life continued. He separated male and female, life and death, holy and common, and the Sabbath Day. There are plenty of other separations in the order that God created, and His point is, don’t blur the boundaries that God in His wisdom has fixed. Do not mix together that which God has separated. When people make a hybrid out of something God separated, it only leads to chaos, confusion and disorder. Blurring God’s established boundaries is simply not His will, it is not the way He wants things to go in his creation.

“The Holy” (Hebrew, “kadosh”) The God in the Bible is the very definition of holy. When we read “the Holy One” in Isaiah, the literal translation is “The Holy,” and the “One” is assumed. Yahweh God, the Lord of the universe, is The Holy. The transcendent Creator is uniquely set apart from evil and sin. He is completely pure and morally perfect. He is the author of Truth, Goodness and beauty, and is so separated from this material world that there are no categories in which to place Him. Comparisons are futile, for God is distinctively set apart in every way, utterly incomparable. God is the Wholly Other, the Everlasting One, worthy to receive one-of-a-kind worship and adoration, honor and reverence, and loving obedience. God is not associated in any way with the taint of sin, not influenced in the least by the evil one. God has perfect freedom from anything that would compromise His character or Essence. Creator God is a personal spirit full of uncreated light. He is high and lofty, above and beyond comprehension and imagination. The Lord God is truly the only Being in the universe who cannot be described adequately. When Isaiah 6:3 is recited in the Jewish daily worship liturgy, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory,” it is customary for the worshippers to stand on their tiptoes and stretch their arms upward three times. This is a graphic picture of believers attempting to rise up and grasp the unreachable holiness of God. In Isaiah we see the most distinctive quality of God, His holiness, exclaimed in triplicate. This three-ness emphasizes the Lord’s unique holiness, of course. To say “Holy” once is true and accurate, but somehow seems insufficient. God is certainly worth more than one Holy. To say it twice is more like it, expressing the truth that God has holiness to spare, He is overflowing in holiness, twice the amount as anything else on earth. But shouting out “Holy” three times? That surpasses weak descriptions like super-holy, really holy, holiness to the extreme. Three Holies from the angels around His throne tells us that our God is beyond the furthest extremes in holiness, that we can’t even imagine how holy God is. Three Holies expresses the truth that God uniquely exists in the very fullness of holiness.

Here is one meager attempt to describe why The Holy is worthy to be worshipped:

(1.)  The Holy is Better than Perfect. His power and wisdom created everything out of nothing. He is utterly complete and doesn’t need anything. He is older than time, and bigger than the universe. Outer space cannot contain Him. “His center is everywhere and His circumference is nowhere.” (Lockyer). He has unlimited righteousness. He is so set apart that we cannot in any way discover Him unless He chooses to reveal Himself. Because God’s essence is purity and goodness, He is the Judge of the world who will apply ultimate justice. He is the standard for what is good vs. evil, and the basis for moral discernment. We can only understand God on His own terms, because human understanding is completely inadequate. Even with our extended knowledge of God through Scripture, we are merely on the outer fringes of His ways. Even considering all we have heard about God, we have only heard the faintest of whispers about Him. (Job 26). The mind of God is boundless, and combines all the knowledge that has ever existed, or that will ever exist, in the history of the world. Therefore, whatever is not on His mind has never existed. The Holy is set apart because of His greatness.

(2.)  The Holy has more Substance than all of Creation. We can describe God’s glory as the weighty splendor of God’s presence. God’s glory outweighs the world, and is so expansive that He fills the universe and then spills over. The entire universe is too small, too confined a space, to contain God’s glorious presence. God has more substance, more girth, more spiritual matter, than our meager reality. In those moments in human history when the presence of the The Holy made an appearance, nature seemed to burst at the seams. God had to somehow split the created world and present Himself. Maybe Isaiah had it right when he cried out to the Lord, “Tear the heavens apart and come down!” (Is. 64:1). Glory sightings in Scripture tend to be quite dramatic. The presence of God’s glory provides a lot of drama. We can get everything from angels and trumpets to fire and earthquakes, from lightning and smoke to hurricanes and thunder, from voices out of clouds to blinding lights to foreign languages. When God’s glory made an appearance on the Cross of all places, graves were opened, bodies were resurrected, the sacred curtain in the Temple was ripped from top to bottom. And when God’s light was snuffed in the death of Christ, the world experienced darkness in the middle of the day. The Holy is set apart because of His weighty glory.

(3.)  The Holy is Passionate about Mercy.  Mercy is the chief attribute of God. “Mercy is the defining explanation of everything that God has revealed of Himself. The root of all of God’s activity in this world, beginning even with the world’s creation, is Mercy.” (Reardon, Christ in the Psalms). Mercy can be described in many ways: Eager love-in-action; steadfast kindness; loyal compassion; live-giving favor; the deep love reserved for someone in an intimate relationship, and offered even if there is no prior relationship. God may seem to be preoccupied with justice, but His is a saving justice, a justice that is based on His love. The Hebrew language has three main words for mercy, all of which are fulfilled in Yahweh God: Chanon, which is mercy in the context of grace, forgiveness and pity; then there is Hesed, which is mercy as lovingkindness, loyalty and covenantal love; finally there is Rachem, a mercy which is related to the word for womb, a sacred place where life is protected and promises to bring new life. In the Hebrew Bible, God is revealed as the One who offers Himself to be a sacred womb, the ultimate safe place for our souls. Psalm 56:15 puts all three mercies into play: “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful (rachem) and gracious (chanon), slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness (hesed) and truth.” The Holy is set apart because of His tender mercy.

(4.)  The Holy Glories in His Love. God is rich in what might be called glory-love. When Moses asked Yahweh to reveal His glory, God revealed His heart of mercy. These are two intertwined aspects of God’s identity that help reveal to us His character and His essence. “Then the Lord Yahweh came down in the cloud and stood there with Moses, and proclaimed His Name, Yahweh. And He passed in front of Moses, proclaiming,
The LORD! The LORD! a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in mercy and faithfulness, maintaining lovingkindness to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Exodus 34). Moses asked God to reveal His presence, and God gave Him a revelation of who He is at heart… Mercy. Perhaps God’s glorious presence shines brightest when His mercy is more evident. Since Scripture says that all these attributes of love are actually His Name, there is no question that God wants us to weave together an identity which combines His majesty and splendor with His compassion and grace. Evidently, His glory IS His mercy. There was an eternal truth revealed in the wilderness Tabernacle. In the Holy of Holies, God’s glorious presence was placed directly above the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant. “When Moses entered the Tent of Meeting to speak with the Lord Yahweh, he heard the Voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the Mercy Seat. And Moses spoke to Him there.” (Numbers 7:89). The Holy is set apart because of His glory-mercy.

(5.)  The Holy is Content to remain Humble. In His other-worldly greatness, God chose to humble Himself in order to care for His human family. God’s character miraculously embraces lowliness as He joins Himself with the humble: “Though the Lord is on high, He looks upon the lowly. Though the Lord is great, He cares for the humble.” (Ps. 138:6). The high and holy God, high and lifted up, makes Himself available to mankind. “Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?” (Ps. 113:4-6). Imagine that… God is so above and beyond that He has to stoop down to view the galaxies! Since we cannot possibly reach God’s height on our own, The Holy extends Himself to reach us. “For this is what the high and lofty One says, He who lives forever, whose Name is Holy – I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit.” (Is. 57:15). The great God doesn’t just reach down far enough to help the high and mighty ones of this world, but He keeps going lower to reach those of us who recognize our brokenness, our need for Him! In God’s case, and in God’s case only, power will not corrupt, and absolute power will not corrupt absolutely. We need not fear that God would ever abuse His unlimited power and glory and authority. We can absolutely trust God’s power. Confirming this truth of Yahweh’s humility, He went so far as to empty Himself and make Himself nothing (Philippians 2). God volunteered to leave His eternal loft, a volunteer of love. Yahweh submitted Himself to the human experience. Lord in the flesh lowered Himself to become a human fetus dependent on a teenage girl, then a baby needing to be changed and burped, and then going through the developmental stages typical of all human beings. This physical version of the spiritual God lived a short life of humility and compassion and sacred power, and ended with His submission to a torturous death on the Cross. Just how humble can God become? Apparently, there are no limits to God’s lowliness, and that sets The Holy apart.

(6.)  The Holy has an eternal Name that is not a Word. When God created that sacred space on Mt. Horeb and presented Himself to Moses at the burning bush, Moses didn’t exactly know how to respond. Moses wanted to know God’s name for one thing, so that he would know how to properly address Him, and call out to Him, and refer to Him. God seemed reluctant to share His most personal eternal Name, so He gave Moses a name that wasn’t even a word. Was this purposely mysterious, or even evasive? Perhaps God’s Name was too “wonderful” to even understand or take in at the human level (Judges 13:18). Or, maybe God’s name here was deliberately unclear because, similar to God’s face that couldn’t be seen, His Name could not be heard by mere mortals? Who’s to say? It’s clear that the precise pronunciation and spelling have been lost through time.

God gave to Moses His name of Yahweh, which is about as close to a personal name of God as we’re going to get. Scholars have been lining up to solve this puzzle of a name for centuries, and have been unsuccessful. It is obviously an archaic use of letters, because Yahweh is the “to be” verb in the future tense. There is no “am” in the Hebrew language, which lead many to claim that Yahweh means, “I will be what I will be.” But many others say that God was using that non-word in the poetic sense with “I AM,” because He is trying to communicate that He is outside of time, so must always speak in the present tense. So now we can try to read Yahweh as, “I AM He who is,” “I AM the One who exists,” or “I AM the Existing One.

To repeat, the non-word Yahweh is connected with the Hebrew verb “hayah,” to be, to become, to happen. Martin Buber thinks the verb could also partly mean “to be actively present.” So Buber, and many other Jewish scholars, think the Name could mean something like, “I will be there as I will be there,” or “I will be what I will be.” In other words, “I live an uncreated existence, and yet I will be ready, willing, able to be present in whatever situation you are in.” Rabbi Jonathon Sacks believes that early Christian translations omitted that future tense altogether. He says that in this Name, the LORD claims to be “the God of the future tense.” In this important future tense, Sacks believes that He is a God of surprises, that we will have to learn to trust Him, and that we will only know Him through His moral commitments and His acts, not just His abstract essence.

“What is the Name’s mystery? First, it has no vowels. Without vowels it is impossible to pronounce a word. But YHWH also has no real consonants! Y, H and W really are blowing sounds, rushings of air through the mouth. The point is one of elusiveness or abstraction. The Name of God is so subtle it could slip away from you. YHWH is not a God you can grab hold of and be sure you’ve got it in your mental grasp.” (Rabbi Arthur Green, These Are the Words: A Vocabulary of Jewish Spiritual Life).

The seventy Greek-speaking Jewish scholars who translated the original Hebrew into Greek around 150 BC, produced an authoritative version of the Hebrew Bible called the Septuagint. This Greek version of Scripture was determined to be divinely inspired long before Jesus, and copies were spread around the Greek-speaking world. This version of the Scripture then, was the Bible that was used during the 1st Century, and thus by Jesus and His early followers. Whenever Jesus quoted His Bible (the Old Testament) in the Gospels, He is quoting directly from the Septuagint. That was the commonly used Bible during Christ’s time, in Jewish life and worship and study. The Septuagint translated Yahweh as “I AM the Existing One,” so that would be the most familiar way of referring to Yahweh. All Bible-reading Jews would have thought of Yahweh when hearing the phrase “I AM.” In the minds of the Jews, I AM would have been completed with “the Existing One” since that was what they were most familiar with. So Jews would have been thinking of their God as the Existent One, the only Being who is self-existent and truly independent. Only Yahweh God is the Essence of Being, the Ground of Being. Put another way, they would have thought of Yahweh as, “I AM Being.” One of God’s titles that has lasted through the centuries, “the Existing One,” is drawn directly from the Greek Bible’s version of Yahweh, the sacred Name that cannot be uttered. In the Orthodox Chruch, the Existing One is addressed every day in prayers and worship.

YHWH, or Yahweh, so basic, so mysterious, so elusive. A personal Name, yet somehow impersonal. It is God’s self-revealed Name, alluding to His uncreated existence, His eternal Personhood, His quality of Being, His basic self-sufficiency and self-existence. It is perhaps somehow a spiritual version of an “act of being” verb. Yahweh, intimately relational, a keeper of covenants, unchangeably complete, infinite and everlasting. God is the LORD, He will not give His glory to another. Yahweh, set apart from everything else in His holiness. As one scholar put it, “The whole content of biblical history is a commentary on the meaning of this Name.” 

Too Wonderful for Us to Fully Understand. Don’t we have a wonderful God, a God who causes us to be filled with wonder? The Holy One is better than perfect, His glory fills the universe, He is passionate about mercy, His identity involves the intimate fusion of his glory and His grace, and He is content to remain humble. Besides that, The Holy’s name is not even a word and proves to be a bit abstract. Yahweh seems, at least in part, to be a declaration of eternal self-existence, His holy autonomy, and His status as being the Ground of Being. To think that with all these transcendent qualities, He came to us in the flesh to rescue us from the consequences of sin. We can only kneel in awe before Him to honor Him, full of gratitude, reverence and holy fear.

“So set yourselves apart for a holy life, because I am Yahweh your God. Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am Yahweh-M’kaddesh, the LORD-who-makes-you-holy.” (Leviticus 20:7-8).

The Holy Believer: One who is set apart by God, designated for His sacred purposes; one who earnestly desires to be a saint (“sanctified one,” or  “holy one”); separated in spirit from that which would tarnish the believer’s character or hinder his purpose in God; one who is humbly representing the presence of God in the world; one who is living in a way that is distinctively Christ-like; one who is cleansed and purified by the Holy Spirit to increase one’s usefulness to the Lord; one who is living into God’s sanctification process; one whose life is marked by growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus (2 Peter 3:18); one who willingly participates in his transformation into the image of Christ; one who is faithfully and intentionally living into the holiness of God; one who is unafraid to consider his Christian faith his central identity, above all other identities.

Unholy: that which is “business as usual” in the world; that which is united with the world’s values systems; common; ordinary; dedicated to purposes in life that are contrary to God’s intentions; living in a way that doesn’t reflect the image of God; profane; unaware of God’s holy presence in the world; one who rejected God’s adoption papers; one who is unwilling to “believe into Jesus” (John 3:16); one who settles for whatever the world has to offer; someone who is satisfied with being a “good person” instead of a saint.

Agape Love, the Supreme Distinctive that Sets Us Apart. The particular kind of love in Galatians 5:22 is agape love. It is the same love that the Father and the Son share. It is the highest form of love, and can only come from above, from God Himself. Agape love is the ultimate expression of God’s nature, the essence of His character (refer to Exodus 34). The most virtuous person on the planet cannot manufacture agape love as if it’s merely a highly esteemed trait. We don’t have it in us. We aren’t born with the ability to show agape love. It is impossible for us to demonstrate agape love on our own, because it can only derive from God, and not from human nature. Agape love is the supreme fruit of the Spirit, and can only be produced in us through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. “For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with love; God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us; We can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!” (Romans 5:5, various versions). This divine love being poured into our hearts is meant to be demonstrated to others through acts of kindness and compassion. This love, this affectionate regard of others, is deliberate and intentional. Agape love spills over from our hearts only after being poured into our hearts. Through the Holy Spirit, agape love can realistically become second nature to us and in us, by displacing the old loves in a Christian’s life, the love of money and things, of pleasure and self, of power and attention. In some beautifully mysterious way, the loyal, unconditional love from above in us is somehow completed when Christians love others. Agape love is the means by which God’s love may reach the world. Agape love is an eternal virtue, and it lasts forever (1 Cor. 13:8). Agape love is the primary fruit of the Spirit, the divine love offered to us to spread God’s love to others. Love poured into us, love splashed out to others. Agape love is the primary way God intends for us to set ourselves apart for God’s holy purposes.

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no root of bitterness grows up to cause trouble and the corruption of many.” (Hebrews 12:4).

PURSUE PEACE: Live in harmony with others; intentionally combine separate people into a unified whole; reconcile apparent differences with others; adjust yourself in order to fit together with others; be of the same mind with others; be agreeable and forgiving; join together with others in a unifying purpose; mutual understanding; a dependable sign of holiness and purity.

Peaceful and Holy. The author of Hebrews joins peace with holiness in the same breath. We can’t have one without the other, it seems. Evidently, peace with others is a sure sign of holiness before God. In this case, what is meant by holiness? To be holy here is to refer to how believers were sanctified, purified, in the liturgical sense of long ago. Faithful Jews would need to undergo a ritual cleansing in the baths outside the Temple. It was a sign of purification, setting them apart to worship God. The ritual bath cleansed the believer and symbolically separated them from impurity. So to be holy and purified in the New Testament sense was to harken back and remind the believers in Christ that they needed to be purified and cleansed in the successor to the ritual bath, Holy Baptism, in order to follow Jesus. They needed to be holy, and to grow in holiness. One sure way of becoming impure was to have fractured relationships, to live in unforgiveness and discord with fellow believers. Being at peace with others was a sign of purity and holiness. Harmony leads to holiness. Heartfelt reconciliation was a dependable sign of purity in the Christian community.

Growing in Holiness. Unholiness succeeds in blocking our vision of God. Impurity blindfolds us in God’s presence. Just as those who didn’t immerse themselves in the ritual bath were not allowed to worship God in the Temple, we are not able to see God if we haven’t been purified in Jesus’ blood and made holy. Could there be a more profound goal in our lives than that of actually seeing God? In His beatitudes, Jesus stated, How fortunate you are, how blessed you are, when you have a pure heart! For then you can progressively see God! Your eyes will open to see more and more of God! (Matthew 5:8). Holiness, to be set apart to live in purity and to act accordingly, results in the greatest privilege one could imagine: to be able to see more and more of God, and to finally see Him face-to-face! As the Orthodox Bible puts it, “To be pure is to be unmixed with anything else. The pure in heart are devoted to the worship and service of God. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, they 1- practice all virtue, 2- are not conscious of any evil in themselves, and 3- live in temperance, a stage of spirituality attained by few in this life. When the soul is not dominated by sinful passions nor its energy dissipated by the things of this world, its only desire is God. Then the heart – holding fast to the new life in Christ ands contemplating the glory of God – shall see God through communion with His Son.” Is it any wonder we need for Jesus to daily wash our feet of impurity as we walk after Him? Is it any wonder we need to grow in holiness, to mature in our purity? “Beloved ones, with promises like these, and because of our deepest respect and worship of God, we must remove everything from our lives that contaminate body and spirit, and continue to complete the development of holiness within us.” (2 Cor. 7:1, TPT).

“Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them, so they can be made holy by your truth.” (Jesus praying to the Father for His followers, in John 17:17-19).

Truth will always have a strong pulse, for the Scriptures are alive and at work. The Bible is God’s spiritual breath exhaled into the believer, offering life-giving communication. Far from a dead book, the Bible is full of divine energy, crackling with the power of truth. The Word is not a pile of dead leaves, a collection of lifeless words and stories raked into a stockpile of moral guidelines, abstract propositions and historical data. Through the Holy Spirit, Scripture has the ability to transform people. It has a life of its own, working on the believer as guide, critic, teacher and surgeon. The Bible is God’s directional, pointing us to Jesus, who is the source of the very energy the Word offers. The Word is God’s floodlight, revealing who we are and who God is. “There is no understanding the God of Israel without deep sensitivity to the holiness in words. For what is the Bible? Holiness in words.” (A. J. Heschel). The Bible is God’s set of vocal cords, speaking the truth, articulating what’s on God’s mind. The Bible is God’s potter’s wheel, used by the Potter to shape our life into something distinctive and useful. Believers who live into Scripture cannot help being set apart, made holy. Believers living in the Word are just naturally, much like a priest, representing God and made useful for His service. When we live into the Word, our life purpose becomes sacred, and we are sanctified in the process. The eternal truth of the Word renews our life and sets us free to serve the ever-living God.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes, and some for ignoble. If a person cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  (2 Timothy 2:20-22, NIV).

What does it look like when a believer is set apart, is made holy and sanctified? Holiness looks something like this: Suppose there is a palatial house that is stocked with everything needed to manage the household… utensils and bowls and kitchen implements needed for special occasions, as well as for every day use. Special occasions deserve crystal goblets and silver platters, golden dinnerware and china cups. These valuable utensils are employed to truly bless the guests and reflect the honorable intentions of the homeowner. The special utensils used for banquets will not be confused with the common instruments for everyday use. Only the cheap utensils are used every day, when there is nothing special being enjoyed. Only scrap wood and common clay is used to make these everyday utensils. Only the cheapest of materials is used for waste cans and compost buckets, for bowls that are merely filled with everyday food cooked with common ingredients. The master of the house wants his expensive utensils used for his special occasions, for the best he has to offer his guests. The master has a whole pantry of these valuable utensils, they are all set apart for the master’s banquet table, dedicated for only the highest purposes of the master. These utensils are not to be used for cold leftovers and watered-down wine. The expensive utensils must be scrupulously cleaned and kept separate from the chipped wooden bowls and clay pots and tarnished metal dinnerware. The cleaned and polished utensils are to be kept ready for use at a moment’s notice, reserved for the master’s beck and call.

Likewise, believers are called to be set apart for the Master’s highest and best use. Followers of Jesus were bought with a price, they are valuable and expensive, and they are called to be set apart from common, everyday use. God has called us to be dedicated for a higher calling than common existence. It’s true that all the Master’s utensils, special or common, are made in His image. But once one believes, the believer is called to rise above mere worldly usage into the honorable and noble calling of the Master’s reserved instruments, no matter what that would be. The special kitchen ware are set apart from common usage, separated from the everyday world. And we are to dedicate ourselves to the Master’s high calling. Believers are to remain clean and pure by running away from youthful indulgences, from anything that stimulates immature ambitions and desires. We are reserved for mature aspects of character needed for the Master’s use, qualities like righteous behavior, stable faith, deep love, and consistent peace. As special utensils we chase after such qualities. This higher calling involves character, not career. A saint who digs ditches is being put to a higher use than a CEO who is enslaved to common worldly desires. A minimum-wage laborer who demonstrates God’s character is indeed a special utensil in the Master’s house, while a multi-millionaire living a self-indulgent life is merely a chipped wooden bowl filled with tasteless porridge. One more thing about being a sacred instrument for the Master: It takes a variety of special utensils to fully provide a Kingdom feast… crystal, silver, china and gold coordinated together to fulfill the Master’s desires. So enjoy the friendship and fellowship of all those other special utensils who live for the Master with pure hearts and willing service.

“God’s discipline is always good for us, He corrects us throughout our lives for our own good, so that we may share in His holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10).

SHARING GOD’S HOLINESS: Being set apart from sin and its consequences; Growing in those aspects of divine nature that God shares with believers; Being partners with Christ in His divinity because of His partnership with us in humanity; Cultivating divine characteristics because of intimate fellowship with God; God’s image being restored in us because of our union with Him; The result of participating in the life of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; Acquiring God’s spiritual DNA.

Holiness is wild and undomesticated. Holiness is an interior fire, a passion for living for God, a capacity for exuberance in living out the life of God in the details of our day-to-day lives. Holy is not a word that drains the blood out of life. It’s a word that gets our blood pumping, pulsing life through our veins and putting color in our cheeks… All of us, if we only knew it, are on a hunt for the holy, for a life that cannot be reduced to the way we look or what we do or what others think of us. We are after something – more life than we get simply by eating three meals a day, getting a little exercise, and having a decent job. We’re after the God-originated and God-shaped life – a holy life.” (Eugene Peterson, The Jesus Way).