How To Be Holy

March 11, 2013

How To Be Holy

Well, this title sounds a bit audacious!  But holiness should be a concern for every Christian.  After all, it is written in Hebrews 12:14 (NIV),

    Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness
    no one will see the Lord.

So being holy is pretty important.

First of all, what is holiness?  In the Greek, holy means to make holy, purify or consecrate.  As Christians, we are to be consecrated unto Jesus Christ, purified from sin, and heading in the direction of becoming like our Lord (see March 8 blog).

But in my own experience, I struggled.  I have an addictive/compulsive nature, and I have scratched and kicked against all sorts of sins that have repeatedly manifested in my life.  I read in my Bible the scripture quoted above from Hebrews 12:14, so I knew holiness was essential.  And it was not the only scripture that beat against my conscience.  Others include,

  • Leviticus 19:2 – Ye shall be holy:  for I the LORD your God am holy.


  • Leviticus 20: 7 – Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.


  • Numbers 15:40 – …do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God.


  • Psalm 24:3, 4 – Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD?  Or who shall stand in his holy place?  He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.


  • Matthew 5:48 – Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.


  • Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.


  • I Peter 1:15, 16 – But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all      manner of life; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

There are certainly more than these seven, but it was enough to convict me of my unholy living. I was especially concerned about the compulsive areas which the old-timers sometimes referred to as “besetting sins” – those tough places in a life like addiction to pornography that just seem to overcome the desire for holiness again and again.

I remember one night I was on my face – literally – before the Lord crying out to Him to show me what I was lacking to acquire holiness in my life.  God spoke to me, not by direct word, but by revealing in my mind a scripture that turned out to be a real key in this matter, John 17:17:

     Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Jesus was praying His high priestly prayer in John 17, facing the torment of His final hours.  He interceded for those who would be left in the world when He ascended into heaven.  And our Lord included, not just those who had been with Him in His earthly ministry, but “…them also which shall believe on me through their word….”  (John 17:24).  That included me!

So John 17:17 includes me!

     Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

If you put the two thoughts in this verse together, this is what Jesus was saying, “Sanctify them through thy word,” or “Make them holy, by means of your Word.”

This sure simplified things for me!  My job was to take in the Word, read and study the Bible regularly.  God’s job was to use the living and powerful Word to make me holy.  When I disciplined myself to take in scripture every day, I found that more and more I was not struggling with persistent sins.

I don’t know just how He does it.  But then I don’t know all the scientific explanations of how food digests in my body.  Or how the blood carries the nutrients to various organs.  Or how it all results in energy in my members to live out my life.  But not knowing how it all works has not stopped me from taking in good food regularly!  I just know that if I do my part, the energy to live out my life is produced.

It may sound all too simple, this matter of holiness.  But I believe God wants us to understand truths that pertain to living the Christian life.  He has not made it so difficult that only the few fully initiated can grasp these truths.  So buckle down and regularly take in Scripture.  God will do His part – produce true holiness in your life.  And only God can do that!

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