What’s Love Got To Do With It…
As we continue to look at what holiness is (and what it isn’t), no matter how hard we try we are always going to be tempted to see holiness as a box to check. I’ll admit, some of the language we use in our theology can at times not be helpful in breaking this habit. If holiness is perfection, and what keeps us imperfect is sin, is it up to us to defeat sin? Is sin the final boss we must defeat in order to win the crown of perfection? But, that can’t be right, because we are told that it is Jesus that defeated the power of sin and death. What gives?
I think that maybe the answer to this confusion is found by getting to the whole purpose of holiness being restored. The purpose? The Creator’s presence dwelling among creation. From the beginning of creation, God’s will revealed, that the Spirit of God would “hover over creation.” The arc of creation’s existence that we find in Scripture is God’s plan for that presence to not only be restored, but to eternally remain. When Jesus defeated death, that marked a significant point in God’s redemptive story. Through Christ, the Spirit of God is now once again hovering over creation, seeking to work through the “very good” children of God to restore the holy unity between Creator and creation again.
If we believe this, that will mean that our “pursuit of holiness” is not about our individual ability to attain what is needed to “level up” to some upper realm of holiness. Instead, we recognize that being “holy as God is holy” is about restoring our relationship with God who is also restoring relationship with all of creation through Son and Spirit. From the very beginning, we were not created to be individually perfect. Say it again like this. I was not created to be perfect.
We were created for perfect relationship with God and the rest of creation. That may challenge some of our assumptions, and that’s okay, but that is the whole reason why God is redeeming us. God does not need us to be God, God wants a relationship with us. God designed us for interconnection. So, our pursuit of perfection should be less about getting to a status in God’s eye and more of a realization of who we already are in God’s eye. Holiness is the way that allows us to live within the Kingdom of Heaven while still in the waiting period here on Earth. Maybe that doesn’t always feel the most fulfilling, but it does allow us the chance to offer the responsibility of our lives back over to God. That is what sanctification looks like. Not being set apart as a way to set us aside as the rest falls to destruction. We are set apart as a way to be removed from the destructive powers and principles of a fallen world, so that we can experience our true purpose of being in whole relationship between Creator and creation again. As we experience that, we glorify God with our lives, and plant seeds all around us that will continue to sprout new life, that we believe will lead to choking out sin and death once and for all.