Holiness is a characteristic of God. He says repeatedly, “I am holy, be thou holy, too.” What is holiness? Holiness is not following laws and rules–that is legalism. Holiness is not thinking you are better than others–that is being judgmental. Holiness is that sacredness that sets God apart, and when we seek after holiness we, too, are set apart, but not from God, we are set apart for God.
The holiness movement takes its roots from John Wesley, an Anglican priest ordained in 1728. After studying the writings of the early church father Clement of Alexandria (177AD), and the Moravians. Wesley was convinced that true holiness is an attitude, a love for God. Clement called this a heart holiness. Isn’t that a wonderful phrase? Heart holiness. I love it.
Salvation by faith became Wesley’s standing topic and implied to him three things which he saw as foundational to Christian faith:
- That people are all, by nature, “dead in sin,” and, consequently, “children of wrath.”
- That they are “justified by faith alone.”
- That faith produces inward and outward holiness
These points Wesley insisted upon day and night. In a short time, Wesley and those he taught became popular preachers. The congregations were large wherever they preached, and they were called Methodists.
After more than fifty years as a Christian, I am still seeking holiness. Will I ever reach the pinnacle of the hill called holy? I rather doubt it, but I am not dismayed, for it is the process of seeking that brings me into a relationship with Christ that I would not have otherwise.
I hope I will have some fellow sojourners who will share insights and provide encouragement, for we all need community to strengthen us and provide accountability as we seek holiness.
Pastor Carol Grace