>Okay. I am in a bible study and we are going through the book, "The Pursuit Of
>Holiness", by Jerry Bridges. We were given the assignment to ask a couple of
>questions. So I have decided to ask them to you?
>1) What does it mean to be Holy?
>2) Are we Holy now?
>3) Does the bible have answers to everyday situations (e.g. is artificial
> insemination(sp?) okay? Is going to the moon okay?)
Hello and welcome to the group. You will certainly receive some answer
to this one. I am currently taking a class called the "Theology of Holiness"
taught by Dr. William Greathouse. He was a former General Superintendent in
the Church of the Nazarene. I will not claim to be an expert, but this topic
is very fresh in my mind and I think that it is very important that all
should hear of it.
First, to define the word 'Holy' we must look to the OT and then come forward
to the NT. In the OT the words holy, holiness, sanctify, and sanctification
all translate from one family of Hebrew terms, q-d-sh, and in the NT one
set of Greek terms is formed by the hag root.
Holiness in the OT
q-d-sh carries within it the idea of seperation, glory, and purity.
>From some 830 occurances of the word it appears that the primary meaning
is _seperation_. God alone is q-d-sh; persons or things are q-d-sh only
as they are related to HIM. (Amos 4:2; 6:8) There is a distinct difference
between God and man. "I am the lord and no mortal, the Holy One (q-d-sh) in
your midst" (Hosea 11:9, NRSV).
While q-d-sh is the primary word, there is the word _kabod_, which refers to
glory. Dr. Greathouse gave us some examples in Ex 29:43; 40:34; 1Kg 8:11.
(this last section I am not to clear on myself).
The holiness of God is a theme found in the most ancient Hebrew traditions.
"Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in
holiness, awesome in splendor, doing wonders?" (Ex 15:11, NRSV) Dr. Greathouse
quotes from _Let Justice Roll Down_ (By: Bruce Birch, pg149) "God's
holiness from earliest times in Israel is related to God's power to act as a
moral agent in human history."
Thus while the holy is primarily a religious term, it is at the same time a
moral term. To be holy, therefore, means more than to be "set apart to God";
It also means to be "made clean and pure," not only ceremonially but also
morally and spiritually.
Holiness is also seen as Purity. In Isa 6 you can see the contrast between
man and God. God is wholly other, set apart from all other. Isaiah is
confronted with is sins and his short comings.
Throughout the OT there are examples of certain individuals obtain to
a higher level of life. With the coming of the Messiah that higher call
was given to the world. The Messiah was to be both the Recipient and the
Communicator of the Spirit (John 1:30-34).
The descent of the Spirit upon Jesus at His baptism is described as an
anointing, that is, as a prophetic anointing for a mission to proclaim and
carry out in the power of the Spirit. Pentecost was for the Church what
Jesus' baptism was for Him.
The NT terms are heiros, hosios, semnos, hagnos, hagios and their cognates.
Holiness is seen as a state or quality. 2Cor 7:1; 1Thess 3:11-13 Heb 12:10.
Holiness is also seen as an ongoing process (hagiasmos).
The ultimate source of Christian holiness is "the sanctifying work of the
Spirit" which awakens, convicts, and enables us to "obey Jesus and be
sprinkled with His blood" (1Pet. 1:2, NASB).
Secondly, (and I may have already started this one) we can be holy in
our relationship to God. We can not obtain the 'same' holiness as He has
but only as our relation to God.
In the reading of _From the Apostles to Wesley_ by Greathouse, and
_John Wesley's Theology Today_ by Collin Williams I personally believe
that God has provided for us the opportunity to become 'holy'. As
a truly committed Christian, who have with all our heart, mind, soul,
and strength given control of our lives to God, we have an endowed
holiness. Though the Holiness Denominations have espoused a second
work of grace, acted on as a crisis. There is evidence that it is
also a process.
Thirdly, I would answer that the Bible has answers as to the Will of God
for our salvation. I don't think that we can say that the Bible says that
we are not to go to the moon, or the artifical insemination is right or
wrong. It does tell me what I need to do for salvation and the salvation
I may have helped or not, now I am not so sure. I am still tring to figure
all this out for myself (and my test grades show that). I would recommend
a simple little book, called: "A Layman's Guide to Sanctification" By H. Ray
Dunning. He does a whole lot better job than I do.
Grace and Peace To ALL
D. Wayne Heidler Pastoral/CIS Major
Trevecca Nazarene College *****
333 Murfreesboro Road * WHeidler@BUSCIS.Trevecca.edu
Nashville, TN 37210 * (615) 248-1236 or 7710