When I first started reading the Bible and studying it, I would get hung up on this scripture often. Until, I realized I was reading it out of context. I was reading the word “holiness” and translating it as righteoussness and it wasn’t making sense.
Is holiness righteousness? I actually had to study this out a few times to figure out the difference between holiness and righteoussness.
The truth is, we cannot stand in front of a Holy and Perfect God without righteousness. Righteousness is right standing with God. And, quite honestly, we can’t ever be righteous enough on our own to pull this off. That’s why we need a Savior.
When we make Jesus Lord, we recieve His righteousness. We become right with the Father, only because Jesus is right with the Father and His blood makes us right.
As far as holiness. Holiness is a choice. Holiness is choosing to be set-apart for a purpose. Another definition of holiness is perfection, and quite honestly, perfection isn’t something we will ever attain to, but we should always be pursuing.
In a nutshell, the difference between righteousness and holiness is, we are righteous because God counts Jesus’ goodness instead of our sins when we have faith in Jesus. We are becoming holy as we obey God more and more in our lives.
When Peter is talking about holiness in this situation he is quoting from Leviticus 11:44, which reads, “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” The Israelites we’re being taught not to eat any creatures that slither on the ground, like snakes. God was reminding the Israelites to be set-apart from unclean things, and to not defile themselves. Peter was teaching on obedience and self- control and not food choices, but the point was being driven home. We are to be different than the world. We are to be set-apart for Kingdom uses.
This concept, is still true for us today, as we should strive to be set-apart for God’s use and not allow ourselves to get entangled in the detestable things of this world. Yes we have to live in this world. But, we cannot allow the world to pollute our souls. We minister to the broken, but we cannot allow the broken to break us. We sit with sinners, but we can’t be yoked with sinners. It’s a fine line to walk when consecrating ourselves unto The Lord.
So… I hope I haven’t confused you. I hope this actually helped you. It was a good refresher lesson for me today too. The cliff notes of this blog would probably read, “We need Jesus to be righteous and because we are righteous, we pursue holiness to be like Jesus.”
Be Holy because He is Holy!