Holiness Defined

Holiness“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
                     ~Isaiah 6:3

 The word ‘holy’ is one of our most important words. It defines our God. It defines us. It defines our relationships — to God, to one another, and to all of creation. But, for some reason, ‘holy’ in our culture means boring. ‘Holy’ means quiet and weak. ‘Holy’ means a patsy, not really alive. ‘Holy’ in our culture means “Shhhhhhhh…..” Or “Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.”

Eugene Peterson, in his great work, The Jesus Way, writes:

Holiness has been reduced to blandness, the specialty of sectarian groups who reduce life to behaviors and cliches that can be certified as safe: goodness in a straitjacket, truth drained of mystery, beauty emasculated into ceramic knickknacks. Whenever I run up against this, I remember Ellen Glasgow’s wonderful line in her autobiography. Of her father, a Presbyterian elder full of rectitude and rigid with duty, she wrote, “He was entirely unselfish, and in his long life never committed a single pleasure.”

True holiness — biblical holiness — though, is in wild and furious opposition to boredom and blandness. Holiness is huge. Holiness is alive. It’s big and it’s powerful. And holiness makes us huge. It makes us alive and big and powerful. It’s what allows our God to use us in big and powerful ways, to give life through us, extravagantly, more than we can ever ask or imagine.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.”
                  ~Revelation 4:8

Whatever else we get out of Revelation, we know that as followers of Christ we are in on something huge. Something big. Something spectacular and eternal. As children of God we are in on the salvation of God, the glory of the Lamb, and the power of the Spirit.

Holy. Holy. Holy.

That’s the reality! This is where we live! Forever!

No matter what Rome does to the temple. No matter what the Emperor does to the city. No matter what the world or the ruler of the kingdom of the air does to me or to my family, God’s holiness and God’s glory remain the singular force that defines who we are as his people.

Because God is still creating and blessing and sending and saving.

Holiness is not some emotional devotional experience we try to cultivate in order to feel more spiritual. Holiness is a command. And it doesn’t take us out of the world. It brings us into a partnership with God to join him in what he’s doing in the world.


Red Ribbon Review76 more days until the Cowboys kick off their 2009 season. And the second-best Cowboys player to everFlozellAdams wear #76 is offensive lineman Flozell “The Hotel” Adams. The Cowboys’ second-round pick in 1998 out of Michigan State, Adams is huge, physically, at 6′ 7″ and 340 pounds. In his eleven NFL seasons in Dallas, he’s earned five Pro Bowl berths, and racked up exactly zero playoff wins. Jerry Wayne signed Adams to a six-year, $43 million contract in February 2008. That’s one dollar per false start penalty in Adams’ career.




  1. Rob's Dad

    for the future, can you give us your number 1 as well so we have a point of reference? Or even better, can you tell us everyone who had that number – that might generate some discussion

  2. Allan

    Give you the number one? That would take all the fun out of it.

  3. Rob's Dad

    gotta a frame it – some of us are trying to find a job so we don’t have time to do all of the research yet as lifelong Cowboy fans, we all have HSO’s.

    Additionally, you got a freebie yesterday. You don’t know how close you came to going straight into the ditch yesterday when to talked about knowing the difference bewteen Sunday morning and Sunday evening clothes. It was a toss-up between the Fake Tiger with “Maybe not” or Kooby with “Do we?”. Probably would have won the E-brake going away.

  4. Howard

    I read it twice and saw no definition of holiness. What am I missing?

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