Holiness is at the core of who God is. Holiness is God’s nature and holy is used more often as a prefix to God’s name than any other attribute. Jesus is our source and standard of holiness and holy people live the will of God including His call to be in the world but not of the world. Holiness is the opposite of sin so it means conformity to the character and nature of God and obedience to His will.
As Christians under grace God has made us holy and righteous in Christ, sharing and imparting His righteous and holy nature within us. Christ Jesus is our way to holiness or what now empowers us to live up to any of God’s high holy and righteous standards. These should not be dumbed down or adapted down to a sinful culture or to accommodate carnal Believers. Doing that takes away from the glory of Christ and God’s all sufficient grace. Grace didn’t change God’s moral standards but helps us to live up to them.
Somehow the doctrines of holiness, separation from the world, and things like modesty have fallen away from our preaching while accepting liberal theology and being obsessed with relevance. According to many today, it seems that the thing some religious leaders re-engineering Christianity try to create is an atmosphere for people to feel comfortable in with God. Teachings and words used about God and Christianity in a language that at all cost is non offensive and will increase your comfort level. Adapting everything we present as truth to be relevant to a sick and dying culture. Claiming to be relevant has become the regular reason Christians give to engage in less than holy behavior. Jesus never called us to deliberately sin in order to engage the world for the sake of the Gospel. He never intended we become like the world to win the world.
I often reflect upon Moses in his first encounter with God and how contrary what some are concerned about today compares to what God did originally with Moses. In Exodus 3:1-6 Moses sees a burning bush that didn’t consume itself. Fire purifies and is often a symbol of holiness. Moses is instructed to take his shoes off for the place where he is standing is holy ground. Take off your shoes or remove what is contaminated by the filth and dirt of traveling in this world. Think about this for a moment. In Moses’ case God did not usher him in and try to make him feel comfortable. God told Moses in as dramatic a way as possible that he couldn’t even approach God. God didn’t change everything for Moses and adapt down to him. Moses is the one who had to change.
We tend to minimize, elevate other truths, and in some cases ignore holiness when thinking about who God is. Could we be injuring the image of a holy God through our obsession with adapting church down to be relevant to pop culture? We know God is immutable meaning unchangeable in His character and nature but we can certainly change the image we are representing to people.