What do you think of when you hear the word “holiness”?
There’s a chance you feel conflicted about it. In some circles Christianity, holiness has been a set of behaviors, what to do and what not to do, because God says so (which is not a bad reason to determine how you live, by the way). In other circles, holiness is neglected, perhaps as a reaction against fundamentalist, legalistic versions of Christianity, which involve Christians who don’t smoke, drink, dance or play cards.
Whatever we feel about holiness, positive or negative, holiness matters in the Bible…a lot.
In one instance, God directs the Israelites, “You must be holy, because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2, CEB).
Elsewhere, the writer of Hebrews instructs his audience to pursue the goal of peace and holiness “because no will see the Lord without it” (12:14).
It seems that the goal of holiness is for us to look like God so our neighbors can see God. The good news, as the writer of Colossians makes clear, is that Jesus comes to earth as the perfect image of the invisible God. In Jesus, God makes it clear that the goal is not to merely cover us up, but it is to transform us into His likeness, Jesus Christ. The goal is to make us look like God on earth so that earth begins to look like heaven.
In essence, the goal is to make us holy mutants in Χριστός (Christ), to make us X-MEN. Listen more to the message from September 18, 2016, if you’re interested in being a mutant: