Holiness, an Endangered Species
"Holiness is full consecration of ourselves to God, being sanctified holy, being filled with the Spirit, a second definite work of grace, bearing the character of God in the world, being set apart for the purposes of God, being made perfect in love, dying out to self, being fully restored in the image of God, purity of heart and life, being part of a community of believers who by their character bear witness in the world to the already-not-yet-kingdom of God, loving God with our whole heart, soul, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves, wholeness in Christ, and ultimately --Christlikeness." - Dr. Michael Lodahl
Wow! When you consider the broad ways of explaining and defining holiness in the Christian life, it certainly challenges your thinking. Then, you add to that the numerous ways it is used in the Bible, I can understand the inconsistency and difficulty in preaching heart holiness, and why we are not on the same page regarding its meaning. Yet, the Bible makes it crystal clear that we are to be holy people..."You must be holy, because I am holy (1Peter 1:16) ...and without holiness, no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14). So, we can't just push it to the side and not address its significance to the Christian life. This flagship doctrine is interwoven throughout the Bible, so we must not take it lightly.
The little emphasis on holiness in the body of Christ in our day is due in a large part to our failure to appreciate and value the splendor of God's holiness and our calling from God to "spread holiness around the world." I think sometimes we forget that we were called to more than salvation from sin, but were called to live holy lives that are pleasing to the Holy One who called us. Scripture says, "But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, 'you shall be holy, for I am holy.'" (1Peter 1:15-16). So, it behooves us to understand the questions: what does holiness mean and, how do we move it from the theological to the practical?
These are the questions that get answered in a Holiness Summit. In fact, it is the reason we host one annually at Fort Smith First Church of the Nazarene. What can you expect by hosting one? You can expect dynamic and gifted speakers to teach/preach on holiness and make it culturally relevant to our day. You'll discover the practical side of everyday holiness in the Christian life.
Pastor Don Cowan
Senior Pastor at Fort Smith First Church of the Nazarene