Where is Holiness in the Bible?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

In the Bible, holiness is a prominent theme that is mentioned throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is an essential aspect of God’s character and is also expected of His people. The concept of holiness is deeply rooted in the nature of God Himself, as He is described as holy, pure, and set apart from all evil and sin.

In the Old Testament, we see numerous references to holiness. One of the most well-known passages is found in Leviticus 19:2, where God says, “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.” This verse emphasizes the call for God’s people to be set apart and to reflect His character in their lives. The book of Leviticus contains many laws and regulations that were given to the Israelites to help them live a holy life. These laws covered various aspects such as moral conduct, dietary restrictions, purity laws, and worship practices.

Additionally, the book of Psalms speaks of the holiness of God and praises Him for His righteousness and purity. Psalm 99:9 declares, “Exalt the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy.” This verse highlights the reverence and worship that should be given to God because of His holiness.

Moving into the New Testament, the theme of holiness is continued. Jesus Himself calls His followers to holiness in Matthew 5:48, saying, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Here, Jesus sets the standard for holiness as perfection, reflecting the divine nature of God. This call to holiness is not meant to be a burden or an impossible task but rather an invitation to live a life that is transformed by God’s grace and power.

The apostle Peter, in his first letter, also emphasizes the importance of holiness in the life of a believer. In 1 Peter 1:15-16, he writes, “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'” Peter echoes the words of God in Leviticus, reminding the early Christians of their call to live a life that reflects the holiness of God. He encourages them to be obedient to God’s commands and to strive for holiness in every area of their lives.

Furthermore, the apostle Paul writes extensively about holiness in his letters. In Romans 6:22, he says, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” Paul emphasizes that through faith in Christ, believers have been set free from the power of sin and are now called to live a life of holiness. He encourages them to live in obedience to God, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in them and produce the fruit of holiness.

Holiness is a central theme in the Bible, seen in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is a call for God’s people to live a life that is set apart and reflects the character of God. Holiness is not merely about following a set of rules or regulations, but it is an invitation to be transformed by God’s grace and to live in obedience to His commands. As believers, we are called to pursue holiness in all areas of our lives, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us and shape us into the image of Christ.