One of the great hymns of the Christian faith was written by Reginald Heber, a minister from the church of England in 1826 at the age of 43. The lyrics were found by his wife after his untimely death and put to music by composer John Dykes. I remember singing this great hymn as a young child; its words still reverberate in my soul.
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Holiness is at the heart of divinity. God is holy. That is probably no surprise to anyone. But did you know that you are holy and that you can grow in holiness? It’s part of your true identity in Jesus Christ. And it is one of the prime targets of Satan and demon spirits in their clandestine enterprise to steal your identity and hijack your holiness.
In 1 Peter 2:9, the fisherman turned disciple and apostle reveals the five foundational truths of every believer’s true spiritual identity. And the third of those five cornerstone revelations is that every born-again disciple of Jesus Christ is part of “a holy nation.” When you were saved, you were made holy. Your holiness was bestowed upon you by Almighty God. Holiness is one of the most misunderstood concepts of the Christian life and experience. Learning its secrets can revolutionize your walk with God.
The word holy is used over 600 times in the Bible. The Scriptures reveal where holiness comes from, how you can cultivate and develop it and how to harness it for a life of rich fulfillment and eternal impact.
One way to explore the dynamics of holiness is to think of the word as a homophone; that is words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings.
We could take the famous hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” and replace it with homophones to read:
“H-O-L-Y . . . W-H-O-L-L-Y . . . H-O-L-E-Y”
Now the threepeat phrase “holy, wholly, holey” sounds the same but is spelt differently and has different meanings. Interestingly, the three words give a glimpse of insight into the three main meanings or applications of holiness.
Holy, H-O-L-Y, means to be like God.
Wholly, W-H-O-L-L-Y, means to be complete or full.
Holey, H-O-L-E-Y, means to have gaps or emptiness.
The first dimension of holiness is about God-likeness or godliness. The Bible teaches that we are to be holy because God is holy. We are to be like God by following him, trusting him, obeying him. Holiness is about godliness. This is the H-O-L-Y kind of holy.
A second dimension of holiness is about ownership and commitment. The Bible also teaches that anyone who is dedicated or surrendered or devoted to God is holy. In this sense, a person, or a car, or a house, or money, or time or anything can be holy because it is given to God. This is the W-H-O-L-L-Y kind of holy.
A third dimension of holiness is about growth and development. The Bible teaches that holiness is cultivated, developed, grown. As Paul exhorted the Corinthian Christians, “perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” This is the H-O-L-E-Y kind of holy that grows and expands to fill the deficiencies in our life and character.
Satan doesn’t want you to discover the treasures of holiness but God does. I hope you’ll join me this Sunday as we dive into our holy identity in Christ. I’ll teach you how to walk in the way of holiness that delights the heart of God and terrorizes the heart of the devil. I’m telling you holiness horrifies the Devil. He knows that if you ever begin to recognize the truth about holiness and how to live in it, his powers of deception or neutralized.
This Sunday I’ll take you on a ride down the highway of holiness and show you how wonderful it is to walk in your true spiritual identity as a holy nation before God.