(This is a blog series following the high-school Awana Journey curriculum of 2016, available from Awana.org . Click here to return to the other posts in the series.)
“Holiness” is an interesting word.
The bare meaning means “different,” with the implication being that something”holy” is set apart and special – the Temple was holy because it was unlike other buildings, and set apart for the service of God. (When I was in Awana High School as a student, our curriculum was called AKX – the Greek acronym of the words “Fit for the Master’s Use”).
But this is all just a description of the word. 1st Peter calls us to something far stranger: to be holy like God is holy.
What? How can that even be possible? What does that even mean?
How? Only through the grace of God. What does it mean? Well… it means to be made like Christ. And not just like Him… it means to be filled with Him. 2 Peter 1:4 tells believers that God has promised that we can be made “partakers of the divine nature.” It is not our external attempts to be good that make us holy. Awana puts it well: “Holiness is a state of being that is established and governed by the finished work of Christ to bring mankind back into unity with Himself.”
I would put it this way: Holiness is not something you achieve by trying hard to be good for God. It’s something you receive in communion with the Holy Spirit. Where else, really, would we think “holiness” comes from?