Holiness is one of the attributes of a born-again child of God. Contrary to a misperception, holiness is not a series of religious rituals; human practices do not earn it, but God offers it freely at our new birth (Colossian 3: 5-17). However, we must continually grow in holiness, not take for granted this grace, this divine privilege, because God Himself says in Leviticus 20:26 (KJV), “You shall be holy unto Me, for I am holy […]”.
5 ways to grow in holiness
From this, we see that living a holy life is a divine commandment, and we have to maintain and grow in holiness. But how to get there? Below are five principles of spiritual growth
1. Stay in the Word of God.
1 John 3:6 “Therefore he who remains united to Him does not sin, and he who sins has never seen Him and never known Him.
“Sanctify them by Your truth: Your word is truth” John 17:17 (KJV): these were the words of the Lord Jesus during His prayer before being delivered. God is His Word. By reading and meditating on the Word, we discover who God is and His attributes; how and why we must sanctify ourselves. The apostle Paul reminds us of this in Hebrews 12:14 (KJV) “seek peace with all and sanctification without which no one will see God”.
Reading and meditating on the Word of God thus plays a vital role in our daily sanctification because it prunes us, renews our intelligence and makes us more sensitive and receptive to the will of God. The more we abide in the Word of God, the more Christ will take shape in us.
Meditation on the Word of God is therefore important for every child of God because it is what allows him to grow in holiness, in stature and in grace.
2. Flee from sin.
Colossians 3:8 “But now renounce all these things, anger, animosity, insults or rude talk that would come out of your mouth.
The verse above gives us a non-exhaustive list of what we must give up to grow in holiness. Sin has serious consequences in the life of every child of God. We shouldn’t make friends or associate with sin because it destroys human lives. To grow in holiness, we must not only know who our God is through His Word but hate what He hates, which is sin. A child of God who sins or practices injustice goes against the truth.
1 John 3:8 “He that commits sin belongs to the devil, for the devil sins from the beginning. Now the Son of God appeared precisely to destroy the works of the devil.”
In conclusion, there is no middle ground when walking with God. The Lord tells us that either we are with Him or not with Him, and whoever is not with Me is against Him.
2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not yoke yourselves with unbelievers except the Lord’s. Indeed, can what is just be united with what opposes His law? Can light be united with darkness?
3. Avoid bad company.
We can’t afford to play with fire! There must be a clear cut separation between us children of God and those who practice evil. Paul tells us again in his first letter to the Corinthians: “Bad associations corrupt good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33) .
We must not be naive about the fight that is ours. We have to be holy and grow in that holiness, and this is only possible if we end all forms of covenant with people who do not serve our God. We should not blame ourselves nor allow ourselves to be manipulated by any emotional weakness, rejection, loneliness or fear of being alone. All this should not push us to relate to just anyone because our salvation is much more precious than the friendships of the present world.
- Hebrews 12:14: Without Holiness No One Will See The Lord meaning
- What is holiness and how can I live in it
- 6 habits of people who are serious about their holiness
4. Offer our body as a sacrifice.
Romans 12:1 “I, therefore, invite you, brethren, because of the great goodness of God, to offer your body to Him as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This will be spiritual worship on your part.
In Romans chapter 6, the apostle Paul reminds us that we are dead to sin but alive to God, that we should not give our members over to sin. Sin needs our body to be manifest, so we need to know how to hold our bodies in holiness. To offer our bodies in sacrifice amounts firstly to fleeing sexual sins, fornication, adultery and others.
For it is written in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV) “or do you not know that your body is the very temple of the Holy Spirit which has been given to you by God and which now dwells in you? So you don’t belong to yourselves. For you have been bought with a price; so honour God in your body.
Our body belongs to God. To grow in holiness, we must put our earthly members at the service of justice. We are the temple of God, and as such, we should leave no impurity, no defilement in our members.
5. Spend time in praise and worship.
Psalms 22:4 ( BDS ) “Yet You are the Holy One who sits on Your throne in the midst of the praises of Israel.
When our thoughts are focused on praise and worship, we invite the Holy of Holies within us. Since we cannot serve two masters simultaneously, if we concentrate on contemplating the greatness of God, on remembering all His benefits, it is impossible to let ourselves be distracted. And the more we are in contact with Him, the more we are transformed into His image.
Praying in tongues is also very effective in growing in holiness because it strengthens our Spirit makes us more sensitive to the voice of God. It is almost impossible to pray in tongues and entertain impure thoughts because when we pray in tongues, we pray in the Spirit, we are connected to the source, and we are assured of our perfect communion with God.
Biblical examples of holiness
There are plenty of people in the Bible who have lived pure and noble lives. They may have sinned at least once, but they have repented and their salvation has been restored. The same people would not have been regarded righteous before God if they had mingled their good lives with sin. A righteous person is one who lives upright after being cleansed of his previous misdeeds — which occurs after repentance.
Gen. 6:9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
Gen. 7:1 And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
Ja. 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Gen. 18:23 And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked 24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?
Gen. 19:15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
2 Pet 2:7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
Job 1:8 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect (Strong’s 8535) and an upright (Strong’s 3477) man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
Job. 32:1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.—Job 42:7 And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering, and My servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
Ps. 7:10 My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready.
Ps. 18:20 The Lord rewarded me according to MY righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.22 For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.23 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.24 Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to MY righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.
2 Samuel 22:21 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God.23 For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them. 24 I was also upright (Strong’s 8549) before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.25 Therefore the Lord hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eyesight.26 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright (Strong’s 8549) man thou wilt shew thyself upright.27 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure, and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.
1 King. 14:8 And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;
1 King. 15:5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.
2 King. 14:3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not like David his father: he did according to all things as Joash his father did.
Acts 13:22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
1 King. 15:11 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did David his father.—14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect (Strong’s 8003) with the Lord all his days.
2 Chron. 14:2 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God:3 For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:4 And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
2 King. 18:1 Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.—3 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.5 He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.6 For he clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him, but KEPT HIS COMMANDMENTS, WHICH THE LORD COMMANDED MOSES.
2 King. 22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath.2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.
2 King. 23:25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.
2 Chron. 34:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.
Hebr. 11:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Moses and all of Israel were told to be perfect (which means they could)
Deut.18:13 Thou shalt be perfect (Strong’s 8549) with the Lord thy God.
Ezekiel 28:15 Thou wast perfect (Strong’s 8549) in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
Abel and Zacharias
Matt. 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Hebr. 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.
Joseph, Mary’s husband
Matt. 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
Joseph, the counsellor
Luk. 23:50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:
Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. —22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
John the Baptist
Mark. 6:20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
Luke 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
The Apostle Paul (after his conversion)
1 Thess. 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
The priest Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth
Luke 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Although being a gift from God, Holiness is by no means a given. We can lose it! This is why we must protect it and ensure that we do not deprive ourselves of the grace of God’s presence, leading a dirty life that dishonours and saddens the Spirit that God has made to dwell in us.