Bible Verse: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV
Scripture Reading: Romans 12:1-2 NIV; Colossians 1:21 NIV
How does the secular world define holiness?
It is often associated with someone who is judgmental, snobbish and thinks they are morally superior to others. This negative connotation is not about true Christianity but often is about the self-righteousness and legalism that can sometimes be found in organized religion and the Church.
There are many reasons for this view. One of the main reasons is that Christians can indeed be very judgmental. Many people have turned away from the Church due to being marginalized by those who follow strict doctrine or who do not think they fit the mould of the perfect Christian.
For example, some churches alienate people because of divorce, or how they attend Sunday service. I recall a time at a church a few years ago when my wife and I were refused entry because we had takeout coffee in our hands. We finished our coffee outside and then came in, but I pondered: if this had been my first impression of church, I would not return.
This behaviour can be very discouraging, especially for those new to the faith. It’s important to remember that Jesus spent time with all sorts of people, even tax collectors, lepers, Samaritans, zealots, and Romans, who were all despised by religious leaders. The Church should be a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.
Another reason for the world’s negative view of holiness is that we live in a time when temptation is everywhere, and sin is often seen as synonymous with pleasure and fun. Morals and values are becoming optional, and people discussing “holiness” are seen as regressive buzzkills.
This misconception needs to be corrected lovingly. Fewer people are being educated about the Bible at school and home, so many don’t understand the biblical meaning of holiness. Instead, they accept the world’s view of holiness, which is often the opposite of what God says.
So, how can we correct this misunderstanding?
We can educate ourselves by reading and studying Scripture and growing in our understanding.
One of the best definitions of holiness is: “God is holy in that He is set apart from everything that is not God, and God’s people must be holy by being set apart from sin.”
We can discuss holiness with family and friends and share relevant scriptures.
With time, we can educate more people and help them understand the true meaning of holiness.
Prayer: Father, sometimes we forget that we are set apart and must be holy because You are holy. Let us honour You through our love for others and resistance to the evil one. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Reflection: Ask someone what their understanding of “holiness” is. Use some Scripture to help them understand God’s view of the word.
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