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“Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy.” Psalm 99:5

It seems to me that our culture generally sees holiness as repulsive. Some associate the label holy with people who think they are better than everyone else is. Others may conclude the holy crowd is the killjoy crowd. They’re against fun for themselves or anyone else. So the holy crowd spends their lives with a judgmental face always disapproving of what others do. If that’s what holiness really involved, it’s no wonder people find it repulsive.

Yet the Bible’s picture of holiness is strikingly different. Perhaps the most important part of Biblical holiness we need to grasp is “completely set apart.” When applied to God, it means there is no one like Him. He is infinitely above us. Nothing compares to Him. No one comes close to His knowledge or power or perfection. When we understand that part of holiness, our perspective on it can change.

After all, there is something attractive and beautiful about something set apart or unique. There’s only one Mona Lisa. There’s only one Eiffel Tower; one Mount Everest; one set of Egyptian pyramids and one Beethoven. We pay attention to that which is set apart.

Yet what does that mean for Christians? We’re called to “be holy as God is holy.” Does this mean holiness is only for the elite who can separate themselves from everyone else? Is holiness only for the high achiever in the top 1% of their class? No.

It simply means the church and Christians should be radically different than the overall society – not radically “better” or “superior.” It means different because of integrity and honesty; sympathy and forgiveness; purity and financial generosity all lived with a humility that glorifies Christ. Some might still find such holiness repulsive. But if so, it would be for the right reasons not the “holier than thou” attitude.

Do you see God’s holiness as beautiful? If not what might have contributed to your perspective? What might need to change?

“Lord God, holiness is a pretty foreign concept in our culture. Sadly, some of that is because of the behavior of Christians. Forgive us for any pride we’ve shown because we thought we were “better than” those outside the faith. Forgive us for our hypocrisy. Then help us to grow in seeing the beauty of Your holiness. Teach us what humble Christ-centered holiness looks like in our lives.”

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