I remember my Junior Women Missionary Leader proposing this question to the group. It was a question that was embarrassing, intrusive, and puzzling. “Am I holy?” I quietly inquired of myself. I pictured long-skirted women with cascading hair, no make-up, and no jewelry; women who only listened to hymns; and, successfully fulfilled their duties as a wife, mother, missionary, choir member, and Sunday School Teacher with excellence and cheer in any given 24 hour period. Me, holy? Not a chance.
I did not understand that holiness is not simply what I do, but it is what I am and what I must be because of Christ: “to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours (1 Corinthians 1:2).” The moment I accepted Jesus Christ into my life I became holy. There was no work or outward adornment (or lack thereof) that I should display in order to earn the “badge of holiness”. Holiness is mine because of grace.
As a result of grace, “we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:11-14). Totally? All the time? Impossible, right? Wrong. With God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). We are commanded to live holy lives but not by our own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 John 1:6-7). God’s grace is all I need because His power works best in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and I am weak.
So, are you holy? We must be holy, because God plainly commands it (1 Peter 1:15-16). We must be holy, because this is evidence that we have a saving faith in Christ (James 2:17, 26). We must be holy, because this is proof that we love the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14: 15, 21). We must be holy, because this is verification that we are God's children (Romans 8: 14; I John 3:10). And, we must be holy, because "without holiness no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).
Holiness is something we must put into practice daily. We will never arrive at perfection until Christ returns. Yet, we cannot afford to coast off past successes of self-control, periods of sinlessness, or marinate in pride. Through consistent study, prayer, fellowship with other Believers, and a genuine relationship with Christ it is possible to live a life that glorifies God on earth.