Holiness is... Love
I had a chat a little while ago with a friend of mine. Someone who really knows God’s love. Yet, she made a comment in our discussions about the verse in the Old Testament, ‘Be Holy, as I am Holy’...
and I thought that verses like that can almost seem to carry a threat and create a burden rather than a blessing, if we do not hear them in the light of the New Covenant.
When Jesus said, ‘Be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate’. (Luke 6:36, CEB), he was almost certainly referencing this verse ‘Be Holy, because I am Holy’ (Leviticus 11:45) and therefore offering a fresh interpretation on holiness, just as he did with Law, Temple and Yahweh as Papa.
If we can begin to remove the split in our minds between holiness and love, and see that God's holiness is his gentle undominating love, it tranforms any remnant fears in our unhealed pschyes in relation to what the Holiness of God is.
Just notice the effect on our concepts of Holiness, if we use the word in relation to these descriptors of love, blessedness, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit:
HOLINESS is Patient HOLINESS is Kind HOLINESS does not envy HOLINESS does not boast HOLINESS is not proud HOLINESS is not self-seeking HOLINESS is not easily angered HOLINESS keeps no record of wrongs HOLINESS doesn’t delight in evil HOLINESS rejoices with the truth HOLINESS always trusts HOLINESS always hopes HOLINESS always perseveres HOLINESS never fails
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
HOLINESS is Poor in Spirit HOLINESS mourns HOLINESS is meek HOLINESS hungers and thirsts for righteousness HOLINESS is merciful HOLINESS is pure in heart HOLINESS makes peace (is gentle) HOLINESS is persecuted because of righteousness
HOLINESS is Loving HOLINESS is Joyful HOLINESS is Peaceful HOLINESS is Patient HOLINESS is Kind HOLINESS is Good HOLINESS is Faithful HOLINESS is Gentle HOLINESS is Self-Controlled
If we take Holiness to be referring to God’s nature and a redeemed humanity in him, we could also say: HOLINESS loves its enemies (Matthew 5:44)
HOLINESS is love (1 John 4:16) GOD IS HOLY GOD IS LOVE HOLINESS IS LOVE
Holiness is about being set apart/different. What is so different about The Trinity? The OVERFLOWING LOVE…
HOLINESS EMPTIES ITSELF OF ALL POWER FOR THE SAKE OF LOVE Philippians 2:5-11...
Who being like God – emptied himself completely
Love empties itself
Holiness empties itself for the sake of others
The name that is above all others is gentleness... servant… non-forcing love. That is what has been exalted to the highest place, To bring, through non-forcing love, peace to the earth.
HOLINESS is much more a Lamb than a Lion.
People talk of the Lion and the Lamb – there is some truth in this, as love has many aspects...
But the greatest truth is The Lion of the tribe of Judah... who is able to open the scroll... IS revealed as THE SLAIN LAMB...
The Lion IS the Lamb! (Revelation 5:5-7)
Receive this truth… The only ‘conquering’ power in the universe is SACRIFICIAL LOVE!
The one who is on the throne is the Lamb, a Lamb.
A Lamb is gentle. A Lamb is meek. A Lamb is playful. A Lamb is unforceful.
This is the truth of Revelation... and in fact the story of the Bible...
Men have wanted to conquer through force and violence and often painted God in this image...
But the one who is on the throne is only a conquering lion by being revealed as a Lamb.
The only way he chooses to relate to this world is by Lamb-Likeness!!
HOLINESS... is Jesus.
HOLINESS... is Three Persons in loving Union...
HOLINESS... is the World in Harmony, all difference accepted...
HOLINESS cannot be understood by reading the Old Testament alone...
HOLINESS cannot be understood separate from Jesus...
Gentle Lamb... Slain Lamb... Who Rules by his Lamb-likeness.
HOLINESS is a Lamb...
And HOLINESS is Love.
Holiness is two lovers on their wedding night.
Holiness is a mother holding her baby.
Holiness is a father playing with his children.
Holiness is a friend staying loyal no matter what.
Holiness is a nurse cleaning sick from her patients.
Holiness is a cleaner mopping the floor.
Holiness is a dustman clearing the rubbish.
Holiness is unassuming, unforceful... Holiness is happy to take a back seat and support others Holiness will never push, never force.
Holiness serves and gets behind Holiness is quiet, willing to be quiet
Holiness loves silence... Holiness doesn’t need to speak.
Holiness rests, Holiness plays, and Holiness walks.
Holiness is happy to go through the world at 3 miles an hour.
Holiness is LOVE!!
Holiness is a LAMB!
On top of all this, once we have brought what holiness is into the context of a New Testament Lens…
We then need to realise, that only by being loved by God can we in any way think of ‘being holy’.
Holiness is something different to what we may have thought.
And then once we’ve realised what holiness is, we also need to realise that it is a gift to be received, rather than a deed to be done (Gal 3:3)