Bible Holiness

This post is etched from a paper I am reading about holiness.

It is written by Edgar Painter Ellyson.

My hope is that this will help one of you reading to more completely understand this often misunderstood and neglected core element of Christianity.

Areas Italicized are my attempts to generalize the concepts and to help the reading flow.


But ye have not so learned Christ;

if so be that ye have heard him,

and have been taught by him,

as the truth is in Jesus:

that ye put off

concerning the former conversation the old man,

which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

and be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

and that ye put on the new man,

which after God

is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Wherefore putting away lying,

speak every man truth with his neighbour:

for we are members one of another.

Be ye angry, and sin not:

let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

neither give place to the devil.

Let him that stole steal no more:

but rather let him labour,

working with his hands the thing which is good,

that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Let no corrupt communication

proceed out of your mouth,

but that which is good

to the use of edifying,

that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God,

whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger,

and clamour, and evil speaking,

be put away from you, with all malice:

and be ye kind one to another,

tenderhearted, forgiving one another,

even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

~ Ephesians 4:20-32


 The Bible is the book of Christianity. It is God’s revelation of truth to man.

It reveals God to man and man to himself. The Bible makes known to man his true nature, his moral condition and his need as they cannot be known without the Bible.

It reveals the fact of sin and of redemption that is otherwise undiscoverable by man.

It reveals inerrantly “the will of God concerning us in all things necessary to our salvation; so that whatever is not contained therein is not to be enjoined to the church or faith of believers.

Holiness is the only moral standard held in the Bible. It recognizes the fact of unholiness but gives to this only disapproval and condemnation.

The Bible offers no compromise with sin; its only offer is salvation from sin, and this results in holiness.


All men are religious and there are very many religions in the world. But there is only one true religion; all others are false religions.

These all have their holy places and things and persons, which express devotion to their gods. But a devotement to such gods is far from true holiness.

It may be a deep devotion and be manifested in great sacrifice, but it cannot be true holiness when it is devoted to a false god, to that which is not God.

True holiness is devotement to the true God and to His program. It is a condition of being set apart from the common, the secular, the worldly, the temporal, for the sacred.

One who is holy must still have to do with the temporal and secular but he is no longer of the world; he is in the world but not of it; he does not belong to the common herd.

He has a citizenship at present in this world, but his chief citizenship is in heaven; One is his master, even Christ.


Holiness is a Moral Term


Holiness being devotement to God, and He being a moral person, holiness must have moral values. True holiness is freedom from sin.

Webster’s definition: Spiritually whole or sound; unimpaired innocency and virtue, free from sinful affections, pure in heart, guiltless.


God hath not called us unto uncleanness,

but unto holiness

~ 1 Thessalonians 4:7


Holiness is the absence of moral uncleanness; it is moral purity. True holiness then may be quite simply defined as devotement to God and freedom from sin.

In verse 22 above, true holiness is negative, is subtraction, is elimination, is eradication.


That ye put off concerning the former conversation


Concerning the life you have been living, your natural inherited nature, “the old man,” your inherited Adamic nature, “which is corrupt” through the fall.

This calls for forgiveness and cleansing and a changed moral nature. Sin has once changed this nature from holiness, and grace can change it back again to holiness.


In verses 23, 24, holiness is positive, something received, something that one is really made by divine grace.


Be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

that ye put on the new man,

which after God is created in righteousness,


. . . being born of and baptized with the Holy Spirit. It is the Christlike which is the state of true holiness. It is a state of rightness with God and with man, of purity of heart and of blameless behavior.

It is not faultless, not freedom from temptation or mistake, not perfection of thought and action, but blameless as to motive, and pure in heart.

It is not sinless as judged under the law, but is free from guilt as judged under grace; all guilt and pollution are gone.

Holiness is an inward condition or state which manifests itself in certain characteristics of living so it may be known by its fruit.

In verse 25, they that are holy, “put away lying,” they put away the false, the deceptive, the hypocritical, and . . .


speak every man truth with his neighbour.


They are genuine and dependable. They recognize their membership in the neighborhood group, that “we are members one of another” and must not misrepresent or in any way injure the others by our speaking.

They may sometimes be mistaken and that which they speak may on this account not be the truth, but they do not lie because they are sincere in believing that what they are saying is the truth.

If they discover their mistake they immediately correct it.


In verse 26, holiness destroys none of the normal faculties nor does it interfere with their normal functioning.

These faculties were given to us in the divine creation for our benefit; they are essential to the present life, and their normal and legitimate gratification is helpful to life at its best.

These are all to be used but holiness calls for their functioning without sin.


Be ye angry, and sin not.


Have a keen displeasure and disapproval of evil with no wrong feeling toward the person doing the evil. So are we to have affection and sin not, to have joy and sin not, to serve with our hands and sin not.


Verse 27 states that Satan is opposed to God and to holiness, and he seeks to destroy holiness.

He is the enemy of man’s highest interests and ever seeks to prevent his becoming holy. To become holy and to maintain holiness one must resist all of the attacks of Satan.


Neither give place to the devil.


Resistance is always the attitude of holiness to the temptations from the devil.


In Verse 28, he who is holy will not knowingly take that which does not belong, to him, that to which he has no right.


Let him that stole steal no more.


He will carefully respect the property rights of others. He will not feel that the world owes him a living and must give it to him.

He will not be a beggar or a charity sponge calling for dole. If he is able he will work


with his hands the thing, which is good


 and earn his own honest living, and then go beyond


that he may have to give to him that needeth.


He prefers giving to, rather than receiving from, charity.

In verse 30, the life of holiness must be lived under the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit; no man is sufficient of himself. He is our keeper.

Therefore the one who has been made holy will have great carefulness against displeasing the Holy Spirit and breaking the fellowship with Him.


Grieve not the holy Spirit of God,

whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.


The life of holiness is a life wholly under the mastery of the Spirit, a life of obedience to His leading.


Verses 31, 32 states that holiness calls for right attitudes toward other persons. It feels kindly toward and treats others with consideration.

It holds no grudges and forgives freely


even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.


Holiness is a Religious Term


Holiness has a distinctly religious meaning. Religion is man’s belief in God, his attitude toward and experience of God; it is faith, devotion, worship and service on this level.

Webster defines holiness as, “set apart to the service and worship of God; hallowed; sacred; reserved from the profane to the sacred and to God and His service.”

It is full devotion to God, loving God with all the human powers, life fully devoted to the fellowship and service of God.

True holiness is devotement to the true God and to His program.

It is a condition of being set apart from the common, the secular, the worldly, the temporal, for the sacred.

One who is holy must still have to do with the temporal and secular but he is no longer of the world; he is in the world but not of it; he does not belong to the common herd.

He has a citizenship at present in this world, but his chief citizenship is in heaven; One is his master, even Christ. 


Reading about holiness in the Bible carries my love of God to greater heights.

I hope it does for you too.


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