His Without Reserve
Teaching Holiness

What Is Holiness?

         We cannot avoid the force of the scriptures and two quotations in our previous website item:

          > In the Scriptures God speaks to us “Be holy.”
          > A prominent Christian writer of the 19th century directs that this doctrine is to be taught to every believer at the beginning of his walk with Christ.
          > A prominent writer of the 21st century regards the neglect of proclaiming this doctrine to be “scandalous.”
          To know how to explain holiness to others we must know what it meant and what it did not mean in the apostles’ time. First, we turn to the Greek lexicon, a grammatical word list of all the words in the Greek New Testament.

 Greek Lexicon

         The New Testament Greek words translated “holy” or “sanctified” are hagios and its cognates, shown here.

Lexicon Yost

Here’s what we find:
          “separate from common condition and use”
          “righteous, ceremonially or morally”

Young’s Concordance

         Young’s Concordance regularly translates the adjective hagios as “separate and set apart,” that is, in the context of Christianity, “separated from the world and attached to Christ.”

The Amplified Bible

         The Amplified Bible follows Young’s concordance as it renders our three texts:

1 Peter 1:15, 16:
“But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your conduct [be set apart from the world by your godly character and moral courage]; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy (set apart), for I am holy.’”

2 Corinthians 7:1
“Therefore, since we have these [great and wonderful] promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, completing holiness [living a consecrated life—a life set apart for God’s purpose] in the fear of God.”

Hebrews 12:14
Continually pursue peace with everyone, and the sanctification without which no one will [ever] see the Lord.”

Here the Greek word is not hagios but hagiasmos. Looking above at the lexicon, we see that hagiasmos means “moral purity.” This concept identifies the result the Christian experiences when a believer has set himself apart from the kingdom of Satan to be fully connected to Christ. His consistent lifelong bonding with the Lord Jesus grows stronger; his will to resist temptation more effective; and his fitness for heaven more pleasing to God. 

          For a “deeper look,” read a Bible dictionary entry by a theologian and professor of ancient languages. Go to “Holy” in Greek and English, section E, on this website page.

 Holiness Is Spiritual Allegiance

           In the context of the Christian life this family of words–hagios and its cognates–lies at the boundary that separates one’s allegiance to the kingdom of God from allegiance to the kingdom of Satan, between obedience to God and indifference to God, between a desire for moral purity and lustful indulgence, and between the indescribable joys of the eternal life and a loss of everything that eternal life offers.

          Daily consecration to God allows the Holy Spirit to lead the Christian farther and farther away from this boundary line.