Why Do Some Christians Hate the Word ‘Holy’?

Is holy living something that the Christian should strive towards? If we are under grace, does it matter if we live holy?

Why Do Some Christians Hate the Word ‘Holy’?

To many, the word holy seems strange.

When I was a kid, there was a song that we used to sing often in my church called, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.” To be honest, I didn’t fully understand all the words of the song. I just sang it because that is what we did. The melody was okay but I was happy when the song was over.

Fast forward thirty years after giving my heart to Jesus at age eight, I can say I am not a child anymore. And when I sing this song, I understand it differently.

The idea of God being holy and calling us to be holy is daunting. Especially when we see how the world is and how non-believers expect us to behave. In some circles, we would say that holiness is something we cannot achieve.

First, what does the word holy mean?

Broadly speaking, it means to be set apart or consecrated to God. Some interpret this admonition as having a list of things we do and don’t do. Holiness is not going to the movies, hanging out with the wrong people, swearing, or doing drugs. But for others, holiness is what we do. Because we are holy, we wear certain clothes, spend our money this way, we train our kids this way.

And while what we do and what we don’t do is part of holiness, it doesn’t capture the core of what it means to be holy. Rather, dos and don’ts are what I would call, "the fruits of holiness". They’re not the starting point. They are expressions of holiness.

To discover the real nature of holiness, we need to dig deeper.

Think about it like this, some might argue there is no point in discussing how we can be holy in such a dark, polluted, and perverted society. It’s just too hard.

· It’s hard to be sexually pure when everyone else doesn’t have a problem with it.

· It’s hard to be honest with our taxes when finances are tight.

· It’s hard to alleviate our pain, without drugs, drinking, or sex.

· It’s just too hard and we can’t seem to live this life God calls us to.

But that’s exactly the point!

We are not holy because we are good. We are not holy because of what we do and what we don’t do. Rather, we are holy because of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection (1 Peter 2:9) and the reality that we are called to be holy (Leviticus 19:1).

The blood of Jesus Christ and his resurrection gives us the power to recant this sinful life we live. That is why I am declared holy in God’s eyes. Nothing I do makes me holy and nothing I do makes me less holy. I am called holy because I simply believe Jesus is God. He is my Savior. And he did what was needed for me to be called holy.

And then, because of God’s immeasurable love, we are empowered to be holy through Holy Spirit living in us. Only through the Spirit do we have the power to be clean, pure, and good before God.

That is why we are called holy and how we can be holy.

And when we break it all down, it’s like this:

· God is holy.

· God calls me holy.

· God gives me the power to be holy by the Holy Spirit.

Notice the common theme. It’s God.

Only after we see that all of this is possible because of God can we begin to see that there is nothing about us that should deserve any credit. Everything is about God and what he is doing in our lives.

If this is a new concept for you, allow this truth to sink in.

Maybe you’re familiar with this framework but you’re thinking, I still struggle with many things in my life. That is why I don’t like the word holy and don’t think I can be holy.

If this is where you’re at, hold on. Sometimes the conceptual things in our lives need time to take root before they manifest in real-time. The longer we embrace this reality, the more the spell of evil, fantasy, and delusion disappears.

We no longer want or desire the things of the earth. We begin to see life the way God intended. We begin to realize sin is a distraction, not a friend. What appears to be a blessing, is a deception.

Sin does not help. It’s a trap from Satan.

But holiness, purity, and cleanness are calling us. More specifically, God is calling us to Him. And as we lean into this calling we begin to realize that God is the truth. His way is protecting us from trouble, suffering, and death. His plan is perfect. He is not trying to suck the life out of us. Rather he has given his life for us so that we can experience life to the fullest.

All we have to do is surrender to the Holy Spirit.

When we realize this, confusion disappears and hope rises again.

So, where are you at? Are you going to make the leap and surrender to God, and believe that being holy in this perverted, evil, and helpless world is possible? Or will you remain in your cycle of sin and accept defeat? These are the questions you and I face. They aren’t trick questions, but our response to them is significant.

God knows what he wants for us. It’s just up to us to believe and surrender to what He has said.