A criminal investigation will match DNA samples with samples found at the crime scene. Once they have to match, the police are able to identify the criminal. Just like DNA samples are authentic body tissues and can’t be faked, holiness can’t be faked either. Holiness has to come from God to be authentic. God’s children reflect God’s identifying feature: holiness. In other words: God is holy and so are His children.
What does it mean to be a holy human being? Is God demanding perfection? We know all too well that perfection is just not the way humans work. When we say: we are “only” human – this is what we are implying: we are imperfect human beings. And if imperfect human beings are supposed to be perfect to qualify as God’s children, then they put on a show. Acting “holier than thou”, is like watching a bad movie – not very convincing. Others mock these attempts and make a parody out of it with skits involving priests and nuns.
Holiness, however, is no act we put on, but is gained in a process we call sanctification. I would like to compare the process of sanctification to our Sun’s nuclear fusion. The Sun shines by turning hydrogen into helium in its core. Some elements are destroyed in the process, while others are reformed to become part of the Sun’s energy. Comparatively speaking, we either merge into God’s holiness becoming part of His kingdom, or we keep separate and get busted. With this imagery in mind, I believe it is no accident that Moses encountered God in a burning bush – a bush that was burning, yet not consumed by fire. I believe, this is what holiness is all about. It is the paradox of a life-altering (not destroying) fire.
The moment God becomes real to us is a crucial turning point in our lives. Jesus uses the analogy of being born into a family, the family of God. Anybody having babies can attest to the fact that learning how to walk involves many trials and errors. Similarly, God’s babies go through such trial and error periods. They are no less His children when they fail.
To confuse holiness with perfectionism is a great misconception that puts holiness in the wrong light and makes it seem out of reach. Holiness is more of a natural side effect of walking with the Lord. Walking with the Lord is an ongoing learning experience; stumbling and falling is part of it. As physical babies grow up and learn many other things besides walking, spiritual babies grow up and get familiarized with the holy Trinity. Holiness is lived out as we learn to walk in His ways. – Happy trails to you all!