Holiness is not Perfection


As followers of Jesus, we are all called to holiness (see 1 Peter 1:15). But I know I don’t get “it” right every time. And I can certainly find a chorus of friends and co-workers who would echo a hearty “amen.” The word holiness means “set apart or purposefully different.” It doesn’t mean “perfection.” God being holy and perfect means He is completely different than the imperfect world we live in AND He is perfect—meaning He upholds every aspect of righteousness all the time—because He is God.

In Matthew 5:46-48 we are told to strive for the same perfection that is seen in our heavenly Father. However, in this life, God’s goal for us is holiness, while we are on our way to fully reflecting Jesus. Ephesians 1:4 in The Message says, “Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.”

My family has a plate that is “holy”—meaning it is set aside for a special purpose. It is a red plate with white lettering that says, “You are Special.” We pull it out for special occasions, like birthdays and graduations.

So when we talk about being “holy” in the midst of a lost world, we are talking about being specially different in a way that draws people to the Father.

As you reflect on your day, are there ways you should have been “different” than people who don’t follow Christ? Ask God to forgive you. Ask those impacted by your actions to forgive you. Ask God to change you in a way that makes you different in ways that have the aroma of Jesus.

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