Seeking Holiness

Holiness is a characteristic of God–He says repeatedly, “I am holy, be thou holy, too.”  What is holiness?  Holiness is not following laws and rules–that is legalism.  Holiness is not thinking you are better than others–that is judgmentalism.  Holiness is that sacredness that sets God apart, and when we seek after holiness we, too, are set apart, but not from God, we are set apart for God.

The holiness movement takes its roots from John Wesley, an Anglican priest ordained in 1728. After studying the writings of the early church father Clement of Alexandria (177AD), and the Moravians. Wesley was convinced that true holiness is an attitude, a love for God, not how much sin you do or righteousness you do. Clement called this a heart holiness.  Isn’t that a wonderful phrase?  Heart holiness.  I love it.

Salvation by faith became their standing topic and implied to them three things which they saw as foundational to Christian faith:

  1. That people are all, by nature, “dead in sin,” and, consequently, “children of wrath.”
  2. That they are “justified by faith alone.”
  3. That faith produces inward and outward holiness

These points they insisted on day and night. In a short time they became popular preachers. The congregations were large wherever they preached, and they were called Methodists.

After more than fifty years as a Christian, I am still seeking holiness.  Will I ever reach the pinnacle of the hill called holy?  I rather doubt it, but I am not dismayed, for it is the process of seeking that brings me into a relationship with Christ that I would not have otherwise.

I hope I will have some fellow sojourners who will share insights and provide encouragement, for we all need community to strengthen us and provide accountability as we seek holiness.

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7 Comments

  1. Good word Carol. Hallowedness in the UMC has been transplanted with hollowness. Time for Methodist’s to capture Wesley’s vision of reforming the church and spreading scriptural holiness throughout the land.

  2. Thank you, Bryan, for your encouragement. I agree wholeheartedly. Perhaps we should include “Give me that old time religion” in our theology and in our praise.

  3. As I seek holiness I recognize again and again that holiness is not perfection, yet we are being perfected in Christ each day as we seek to follow our living Lord.

    Is this a contradiction? No, I don’t think it is. Perfection as an individual is not attainable, not on this side of heaven. But perfection in Jesus is something each of us should go after as the deer who pants for the water. We should long to be like Jesus, and to be like Jesus we must walk like Jesus (1 John 2:6.)

    Holiness, the idea of being set apart for God, is attainable and it should be the goal of every true follower of Christ. Let’s face it, neither holiness nor any other spiritual attribute can be found by just happening onto it, or tripping over it. To develop our spirit selves we must become intentional disciples.

  4. We heard today of yet another child who was kidnapped, murdered, and thrown into a garbage dump as though her little life had not mattered. God forgive us for the perverseness of our ways, and deliver us from the Evil One.

    May you station angels around these little ones that no child suffers this fate again, and no parent has to receive the call that says, “Your child is dead.”

    Help Them Now

    The body of another innocent found,
    thrown upon a trash heap
    as though her life did not count.

    My stomach becomes an old wringer-style washer
    as we hear how she was found, and the churning
    bile then rises in my throat as my anger

    is wrung out, and then hung out to die,
    but die it will not, for I can no longer rely
    on platitudes like bad things happen to good people,

    I can no more be silent while his most recent victim
    cries out for justice, and his future sacrifice to the demons
    within scream help me, save me, don’t let her fate be mine.

    I hear their cries echoing in my head,
    I want my mommy, daddy come save me,
    I don’t want to be dead.

    The fear foisted upon me by this monster is vile,
    and I am suffocating from the evil,
    my breathing shallow and swallowing tears

    I pray, forgive us, Oh, God, for the perverseness
    of some men is great, that they would so easily
    snuff out the life of one so small, and so sweet.

    Can we be redeemed when such malevolence exists?
    Can we be forgiven, or will this condition persist?
    I want to save them, I want to protect them all.

    I want to help them now.

    (c) 2009 Carol J. Grace All Rights Reserved

  5. I mentioned in a previous blog that we witnessed, live on television, a woman driving into a body of water created by continual rains and her rescue. She was interviewed on our local news channel yesterday, October 30, and said she didn’t realize she could not cross the water until it was too late. She tried to put the car into reverse and back out of the water, but the water kept pulling her in. Her 10 year old who was in the back seat told her to climb over the seat and go to the back of the car because that part of the car was not yet submerged. The young man who tried to rescue them said not only was it something anyone would have done, indeed, it was something everyone should do when we witness someone who is is jeopardy of losing their life. Both victims of the rising waters were rescued at the last possible moment, as there was only a small air bubble left and it would have soon been gone. Praise God for placing people at that particular place in time so that help could be summoned and lives could be saved.

  6. Carol, thank you for your thoughts and this website. The Wesleyan view is that Holiness is a life of grace from beginning to end. Just as your life has been one of grace.

    • Thanks so much for your comments, Charles. You are too kind. Enjoying working on my blog again after a few years off. Holiness forevermore.

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