“Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
The Bible quotes God saying this at least three times outright, twice in Deuteronomy and once in 1 Peter. The Bible has many other statements that drive at the same idea.
There are two parts to this verse. First, we are to be holy and second, our holiness is dependent on God being holy.
Therefore, it seems to me, our guideline for our holiness would be in line with how holy we think God is.
Holiness has to do with being sacred, morally blameless, ceremonially consecrated. Separate.
Holiness is best seen with the various utensils of the temple. They were made for a specific purpose and were only to be used for that purpose. Any other usage is off-limits.
There is a purity and a separation, it’s not for common use. Because God is holy, we are not to take His name in vain, to use it as if it were nothing.
God is holy and pure from all defilement. This is what we are to be.
However, as most people watching the American Church today see, it’s quite obvious holiness is fallen on hard times. There is very little holiness at work.
The “holiness” we see is usually mere separation from external things. A callous holiness that misses the internal reality. A holiness that leads to people being judgmental rather than loving.
Legalism is not biblical holiness. It may be separation from something, but it’s not separation to, or like, God.
Others tend to think our holiness is about being in Christ. “I’m saved. I’m in Christ. God doesn’t see me, He sees Christ. Therefore I am holy.”
Although there may be a grain of truth to this, we’re not talking about positional separation in Christ, we’re talking about a holy life. As the verse right before “Be holy as I am holy” says in 1 Peter, “as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”
There is to be a practical holiness, not just a mind-game holiness.
“God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.”
“You once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.“
Holiness is separating from the world’s philosophy, wisdom, and ways of doing things, and coming alive to new life in Christ. Holiness is ultimately fulfilled with love, the love of the Gospel in action.
It doesn’t have to do with man-made dress codes, conformity to church rules, not playing cards, etc. You may decide to have some of that in your holiness, but if you have not love, it profits nothing.
God is love. Be separated to Him who is love. Don’t live for you; live for the edification of others. New life in Christ; not old life in your selfish flesh.
Be holy as God is holy, He loved you and gave His life for you. Be separated to that.