I have read a few blog posts on holiness the last few days. It is an important topic and often a neglected one. Christians are not called to lives that resemble the world with nothing to distinguish us other than church attendance.
I have noticed one thing missing from much of the conversation regarding holiness, i.e. how our holiness is lived out and impacts others. As I read the conversation about holiness, what kept coming to my mind was this:
Any exhibition of personal holiness that is not accompanied by substantive action and an urgent sense of compassion is not Biblical holiness. It is nothing more than self-righteousness.
We cannot speak of holiness in the church as something that is marked merely by personal acts of piety. An internalized holiness is not holiness in any true sense but we have created a norm that sees religious observation as the pinnacle of holiness. If I look like a religious individual as understood by our cultural traditions, I am considered holy. What we see as holy, our self-focused and prideful personal piety, bears little resemblance to Scripture. If we are to truly focus on holiness we need to look to Scripture, not to the pop culture that surrounds our church traditions and what we will find is a holiness that sees others as more important than ourselves and requires sacrifice and humility. Our model to emulate is Jesus Christ and His holiness was marked by compassion, mercy, love, sacrifice. Our holiness must look the same or it is no holiness at all.