Holiness: More than Keeping the Rules

September 25, 2012

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Christianity often gets a bad reputation for being a religion full of rules and regulations. The character trait this incorrect view reflects most would be holiness.

Surely, holiness is about doing the right things. Or is it?

In the book of Leviticus, the word holy is repeated over 70 times. Leviticus details the sacrificial system, with seemingly endless requirements for sacrifices, the priests, and the principles for life.

Leviticus 11:45 tells us to “be holy for I am holy”, setting quite a high standard for believers to live up to.

If Christianity were a works based religion, Leviticus would be the ultimate checklist. As a grace based faith, we are able to ask “What is God showing us about himself?”

Leviticus 16 records of the Day of Atonement, which foreshadows the sacrifice of Christ and the work of grace. This was what God always wanted His people in the Old Testament to look forward to, the coming Messiah.

Leviticus describes holiness as being set apart, different from the nations surrounding Israel. Many of the commands take root in this principle. Others are commands challenging Israel to move their sinful selves closer to a holy God. There are even some that provide God-given wisdom on how to lead a healthy life. In every  “rule” that God gives, you can find a loving principle behind it.

In the New Testament, holiness is defining as the process of becoming more Christ-like. It is how we live and grow as a believer.

Even this, is a gift of God. 2 Peter 1:3 tells us, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…” God is the one who saves us, and He is the one who will sanctify us.

Today, we make choices in line with holiness because they reflect the God we serve. They cause us to be set apart from the “nations” around us.

As we “Live by the Spirit”  (Gal. 5:16), we walk towards the standard of God’s holiness. Perfection is not the requirement, but the pursuit of the Holy One.


  • Is holiness a checklist for us or the pursuit of knowing God?
  • Read Leviticus 16. What does this show us about the forgiveness of sin? How does Jesus complete the Day of Atonement
  • Consider how believers are to be different than the world around them. Not separate or uninvolved in the lives of unbelievers, but different. What specific change can you make to your life in this regard?

biblia del disipulo2


This post is one in a series of devotionals which were published in La Biblia Del Discipulo (The Discipleship Bible), which is a Spanish language Bible. .

The E-Version is also available for iPad or mobile devices. Copyright 2011.

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God