Monday Morning Encouragement -- Does Holiness Matter? (And a Giveaway Winner)

"These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was one like yourself. But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you." (Psalm 50:21

Earlier this year I posted a devotional entitled The Beauty of Holiness. It's a topic that I'm intensely interested in, and, in fact am currently in a small group Bible study The Pursuit of Holiness written by the late Jerry Bridges of The Navigators.

Today I ask the question, "Does Holiness Matter?" I ask it because the moral decline of our culture is so dramatic. And, sadly, it's not limited to unbelievers. It's in the American church, too. Not every church, of course. But in enough churches that an alarm is going off.

Why is this happening? I believe one reason is because God's truth is not being preached from the pulpit. Every morning on my way to work I pass a church with a message board clearly visible from the street. Not once have I seen anything remotely close to biblical espoused on the sign. It's always a secular quote about inclusivity, the environment, or some other socially acceptable admonition. And, by the way, as a Christian I believe in responsible stewardship of the environment. God commanded Adam to take charge of the earth and care for it. So, yes, we should be concerned for God's creation. But we should not worship it. We should not put God's creation before God Himself (see Romans 1:25).

In Psalm 50 God rebukes the Israelites for thinking that He was just like them. They were behaving in ways that degraded God and cheapened His grace. And that same mindset is what we're witnessing in our popular culture today. 

A.W. Tozer wrote in his book Knowledge of the Holy, "We have learned to live with unholiness and have come to look upon it as the natural and expected thing."

But all is not lost! God has a remnant of believers that He is calling to stand up for the truth. We don't speak "our truth". We speak God's truth. The truth of the Bible. The truth that sets us free. One of these truths is that God is holy. In fact, the angels call out that He is "holy, holy, holy." Interestingly, I read a commentary that pointed out that this single characteristic of God -- His holiness -- is the only one that is repeated three times. Fascinating.

In 1 Peter 1:15-16 we read:

"But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'"

Holiness does matter, because we serve a holy God. A holy, holy, holy God! 

We will never be holy as God is holy. His holiness is uniquely His. However, we are called to a higher standard of behavior and our goal should be to follow Jesus' example of obedience to the Father. Again, we won't do it perfectly, but our lives should reflect a difference from what we see in the unbelieving world. And we do this to shine the light before unbelievers and lead them to our Holy God.

Today's music video Only a Holy God by Southwestern A Capella is so beautiful. Let the lyrics sink in to your heart, and worship our Holy God.

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway of Cheryl Smith's book Homespun Devotions Volume Two. The winner is Vickie. Vickie, please contact me by going to the About Me tab on my home page and clicking on "Contact" from the drop down menu. I'll need your address so I can give it to Cheryl. She'll send a copy of the book out to you.

I love you, I'm thinking of you, and I'm praying for you.


  1. The Hebrew word קֹדֶשׁ (qodesh), which is translated as holy, more properly means set apart. The contrast is between the holy, which is set apart for God, and the profane, which is for common use. For example, the temple utensils are holy while regular utensils are profane, even if they share the same manufacture, for the former are dedicated to the service of God. I never know what Christians mean by holiness (I am Messianic), but for us, it is tied to obedience to His Torah.

    As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)

    You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine. (Leviticus 20:26, ESV)

    So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. (Romans 7:12, ESV)

    And a highway shall be there,
    and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
    the unclean shall not pass over it.
    It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
    (Isaiah 35:8, ESV)

    For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching [torah] a light,
    and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
    (Proverbs 6:23, ESV)

  2. Only a Holy God. May we grow in obedience to be more like Him. Thank you, Nancy.

  3. What a very timely devotion, Nancy. I also see too much of "that's just the way it is..." and people becoming numb to what is happening around us. Like you, I'm concerned when the world's values infiltrate churches, but it's definitely happening. In many cases, I think churches are all about getting their numbers up, so they cave to the culture. So sad. I'm incredibly thankful that I belong to a church where the gospel is preached and taught in Bible studies. Your study sounds like a good one! Thank you for so faithfully reminding us that we are called to holiness... God's standard.

  4. Good Monday Nancy. Have a beautiful week. Hugs. Kris

  5. What a timely post Nancy! How much we have drifted from our knowledge of God, and have become quite cavalier about His holiness. People tend to think of physical appearance in regards to holiness - but God demands so much more from us - it starts from within our hearts. We cannot change our hearts, only He can. So we cannot be holy like Him - as He is a Spirit - until our Spirit is ruled by Him alone. True holiness is in heart and soul, and it will manifest on the outward. It is hard to see how secular the churches have become, and how they parrot satan's message to Adam and Eve - In essence - just do what you want, God won't care. Such lies! But oh the joy of walking with Him in holiness of spirit and truth. Thank you for sharing this truth, and the beautiful song! Blessings to you dear friend :)

  6. What a wonderful song. Only a Holy God!

  7. Congrats to Vickie!
    I agree with you on what's going on in the world and also in the church.

  8. May I always be part of the remnant!

  9. I remember my husband once saying as he led a Bible study, "God is Holy. So Holy that he cannot be around sin. That is why we needed salvation. Our sin is wiped away forever. But we must constantly strive to be worthy of that salvation." I believe he is right. Many people believe that once they are saved, they're free to act however they wish. I believe however, that we are to continue to run the race with perserverence to be worth of the salvation given to us so freely.
    Thank you for this most excellent post Nancy.
    Blessings and hugs,

  10. Nancy I truly enjoyed reading your post today and all the comments from your blogging friends. I agree with what Betsy's husband said about God's holiness preventing Him from being around sin and that is why he sent His one and only Son to die for us and take care of that sin. When I think of Him hanging on that cross with nails through his hands and feet and bearing all the sin of the world past, present and future my heart overflows with gratitude beyond words. The truth of God's Word is so hidden today, even in many churches, that's why it's so important to not just go to church on Sunday but you find a good bible study and to read your Bible. Seek out the truth and you will find it.


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