Holiness is the virtue of being holy, set apart, sanctified. The verb to consecrate hagiazo means to set a place apart for God, to make it holy, by the offering of a sacrifice upon it. The Christian has been dedicated and consecrated to God by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The root idea of holiness is that of separation. The Jews were the holy people, the nation which was quite separate and different from other peoples. Now if we have been called out as especially belonging to God, we must show ourselves fit in life and character for that service. That is how hagios comes to be holy, saintly. Buber: "Every moral demand is set forth as one that shall raise man, the human people, to the sphere where the ethical merges into the religious."

The people are bidden to become not a good people, but a holy people. There is a link between holiness and spiritual power. The nineteenth century holiness movement which started immediately after the Civil War was a revival movement, almost exclusively Methodist in the beginning. Holiness has a collective communitarian character, we as the Bride of Christ cannot be but suspicious of any forms of holiness that has left unchanged a world filled with oppression, injustice and exploitation.

If God is love and we are to be perfect and holy like our Father in Heaven, then it only follows that love and holiness entwine. Of course faith and obedience and grace and walking in the spirit play their parts but without love, each is misplaced and without proper direction. To have love one for another was not a request from Jesus - we are commanded to love. So with all the cutting edge prophetic revelations that we receive from God in these last days, it still comes down to this greatest commandment in that we are to love each other and that means dying to our own flesh and living for others. Get ready, for the Lord is coming for a Holy Bride.

Watchman Nee wrote: "Do you realize that we have the same life today that God has? It is for this reason that we can live a life of holiness, for it not our own life that has been changed, but the life of God that has been imparted to us." Vatican II records: "The Constitution declares that everyone in the Church is called to holiness in his own state of life, not merely certain Christians who have been set apart in monasteries and convents. Holiness is nothing else but communion with our fellow human beings and the communion of all human beings with God."

Jesus told us in Matthew 11:28,

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Our problem is that we want to be holy under our own power, it won't work, it's hard. For us to be more like Jesus, we must take upon His nature and that means as we decrease, He increases. The more that we deny ourselves, the more that Jesus is exalted. Simple enough, Kindergarten theology. True holiness that exhibits revival power can be very elusive however.

It is true that we must seek righteousness to be holy. That does not mean that we do it on our own, it means that we have made the decision to follow Christ and are willing to take upon His holy nature. This is the first step of faith but it does not mean that we go to a preacher that says, recite after me, and then leave the church thinking that our decision for Christ is enough. To put on Jesus takes more than faith; faith is just the beginning, it must produce love in action. We deny ourselves and that means turning from our former way of thinking and begin thinking like Jesus. We love each other. We do things differently that we used to. Our priorities have changed. Instead of ourselves being the center of the universe, we become God-centric.

For those of you already making progress in this area, it is real hard to tell you to put away what you love for the sake of obedience. The Lord is real in your life, He obviously deals with you in letting you know He is there and you have a heart for Him. Trust Him to lead you in the right direction. I also sin, I am need of repentance. So the message is to repent but it does not have to come from me, all you need is to read your Bible and know that this is the message for all of us. I need to repent, I needed to do it today. Yesterday too, but I waited until today to do it, that's not right, is it. One way that the Lord convicts me of sin is when I pray. My need for repentance must be dealt with or I cannot go on.

I share my example in the hopes that it helps you with yours. If there are problem areas in our lives and we recognize them and the Lord speaks to you, put away the sins that so easily beset us and get closer to the Lord. It may be step by step or all at once but make those conscious decisions to step out in faith and try to know God's will for you. Each step back makes the next step back that much easier. If you would like to have a real anointing on your life, it must be from a position of holiness and the knowledge that you cannot do it on your own and need God's help. It is this knowledge that has called many lives into spiritually anointed ministries.

As long as you allow yourself to be drawn away from holiness and toward your own lusts, it can be hard. The more that we allow Jesus to take control of our lives, the easier it becomes. This is maturity.

Positional holiness is our position in Christ as part of the body; practical holiness is in living out that position to stay holy or holiness put in practice. By our position in holiness through our initial salvation, we are already grafted in Him and separate from the world. There is more to holiness, I have learned that holiness is the key, I need to also say that Jesus is holy.

Jude 1:5, I will therefore put you in remembrance, though you once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

This is our positional holiness. Paul goes on to say to the Ephesians, 4:21-24:

If so be that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Putting on the new man requires some effort on our part. Jesus did the most that anyone could do when He died for us. Father God has used this ultimate sacrifice of His son to redeem us from death. Paul tells us that it is now our responsibility to put away our lusts and put on the new man. Being renewed in our mind is a result of our repentance. The presence of love is not an occasion to sin however. Many think that because of our positional holiness that we can get away with anything.

The next step of holiness is to be able to use it to the glory of God in POWER. Holiness is the key to that same power that we have been waiting to see outpoured without measure.

Holiness is not a completed work until we are glorified. Once we identify and regards God's way of holiness, our glorification is a done deal. We are not to wait for Jesus to be fully like Him, we are being changed into his likeness now. These four parts to holiness: positional holiness, practical holiness, holiness in power and glorification holiness. Practical holiness is being sanctified in holiness, this is what we do as our spiritual sacrifice. With God's help and guidance and in our reliance upon Him, we are to continue in our positional holiness. We praise God, we obey Him and we keep ourselves pure and love will cover a multitude of sins. Love cleanses us like no other activity.

And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

The priestly garments that God had the Israelites make in the wilderness were holy garments, given by the wise to Aaron, the high priest, to consecrate him, so that he may minister unto God. A plate of gold was to be made with the engraving "Holiness Unto The Lord." Once the construction of the ark of the covenant was finished and the priestly garments were completed and all the consecration and sacrifices were made, the finished work according to the commandments to Moses were to take that golden plate, have holiness unto the Lord engraved upon it and placed in position. The work was done, then the candlesticks could be placed in order along with the vessels, the oil for light, altar and incense. Holiness is our finished work. We have no high priest but Jesus and we are now consecrated to Him. The churches are the candlesticks, we are the vessels, the Holy Spirit is the oil, our worship is the altar and our prayers are the incense. Jesus is coming for a holy church, one that worships the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14.

The Bible teaches us that our baptism in water is symbolic of that new life and obedience but there is another promise given to us and that is the baptism of the Holy Spirit if we repent and that means a changed life and spiritual help to keep us changed. Each of us longs for that Holy Ghost power that we see in others, it is found in self-denial.

We have that positional power in Christ already and if it is in fact holy, then holy is holy, what else do we need? Application; the power is from Jesus and in the power of His resurrection but to be a part of that resurrection power we must first join Him in His death. Once we have been called and baptized into the body of Christ by faith, we take upon His holiness unto eternal life but for it to be in power, we must be obedient and put it into practice. Power must be active for it to be powerful. Passive faith is just that, passive and conservative, producing a luke-warm spirit that denies the power.

As Christians, we have all the necessary spiritual resources at our disposal to heal the sick and raise the dead. So why aren't we doing the first works? I believe that God is waiting for us to finally come together as one in the spirit so that He can pour out His spirit upon all flesh as He promised. As long as we are a divided body that fights among ourselves, slanders His people to strengthen our own biased positions and exalt ourselves in pride and jealousy over others, Jesus does not have the holy church that He can point to as a proper example of how He would have us be. Evangelistic works and the propagation of the gospel is not enough if there is not sufficient truth and unity among us to bring others to holiness and resurrection power.

I don't think that we can know for sure if we have reached that level of holiness. I think it is just smug self-satisfaction to think so. I can be confident of my salvation but perfection yet eludes me. Some will go through the experience of Jesus saying to us, "depart from me, I never knew you." We don't know, we just keep on keeping on pressing on toward the prize of the high calling that Paul wrote about in Philippians 3:12-16

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

Paul did mention these things to those "as many as be perfect" so, he felt that others had attained, but he had not. That is real humility, the kind that makes us perfect. I know that I have not attained but I also know that I am to love others and have that humility, that is a real good start. He also mentions here that that attainment includes minding the same thing. He mentions elsewhere that we are to speak the same thing in I Corinthians 1:10

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

The reason the church is not perfect is because we have division, is this not what Paul is warning us? Perfection in unity is not just agreeing to disagree, it is saying the same thing, having the same mind, walking by the same rules. If we cannot attain to that perfection individually, at least we should try to come together in the spirit and agree. We may never be truly free from sin in our lives, but we can love each other as He would have us to. This is what will change the world right side up when we as a remnant called out get together in unity.

[66, 113, 116, 201, 286, 169, 296, Holiness was a topic of the latter rain discussion list]

The Lord has given Christians the grace to reconcile the children to their Fathers

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