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It indicates that he is set apart form all that is creaturely and corrupt, that he is distinct from this physical and fallen world. It affirms that God is not like humans, angels, false gods, animals -- or anything in existence. In short, we may say that there is no one like God, even though that statement has the obvious limitations of a negative sentence -- it does not by itself say what he is. But when we describe the holiness of God, we must think of his uniqueness.
Holiness has bee around as long as the Bible and parts of the Bible have been around for nearly 4,000 years.
The doctrine was taught in the moral law at Sinai to the Israelites. When Abraham was ninety-years-old God appeared to him and said, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." This proves that this doctrine was impressed upon Abraham four hundred years before the giving of the law.
This doctrine has always been a part of the church with either more or less clarity.
God is holy and it is only through Him that people can become like him. 'Profane' is a word that is the opposite of holy; another word could be 'common.' Profane tends to have a negative connotation in English, but "profane is simply the natural default state of things."
The natural state of a chair is profane and this simply means that it is something that is to use everyday. A chair is not something that is given any special kind of treatment; it is not holy. Thus, for a profane or common object to become holy, it would take a special act of dedication to God or an act of sanctification to shift it to God or His realm.
In order for something to be holy, it necessitates separation of an object to that which sanctifies it (i.e., God); it also involves a separation from, or protection from, anything that would threaten to take away its sanctity.
Holy things are therefore holy simply because they are taken out of the realm of the profane and they are given protection so that they are marked as different. The protection of this holy status relies upon the protection. The rules that are also applied for protection then protect the holy object from profanation, so that it will never be common again.
This schematic representation shows that holiness can increase as one moves further into the sanctuary; this means that holiness increases as something gets closer to God.
So in the Biblical view, the area or the land outside the Israelite camp is just common, profane land. The Israelite camp bears a certain degree of holiness. Then as you move in, the outer courtyard, the outer enclosure of the sanctuary, bears a slightly higher degree of holiness: it's accessible only to the priests, who are said to be the holy ones within Israel. And then the inner shrine is the holiest area: it's accessible only to the holiest member of the nation, the high priest.
IV. Current Situation.
The classical terms of holiness -- otherwise called "Christian Perfection," "Entire Sanctification," "The Second Blessing," and "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" -- no longer take root in the imaginations of people these days.
Some people today believe that Holiness has become an extra dimension to the Christian faith. Holiness now has to be explained by pastors and theologians to Christians in a more accessible language.
Overall, Holiness is not taken as serious as it used to be, even though it needs to be of chief importance.
The term "holy" is oftentimes today misunderstood when it comes to God because of contemporary usage of the word, but we know that holy means to be 'separate.' Therefore, this means that the one that is holy is uniquely holy; there are no competitors or rivals for this position.
Rather, when we say that God is holy, it should not be an attribute that we stick at the end of a long line of attributes -- that is, after 'merciful,' 'just,' 'loving,' etc. To be holy is a general thing; that it, holy needs to be seen as synonym to deity. We must think that his mercy is holy, his justness is holy, his love is holy, etc.
Proverbs 30:2 says, "Surely I am more stupid than any man...and I neither learned with them, nor have I any knowledge of the HOLY ONE." Paul was stating that he was stupid because he did not know of God's holy character, and what a 'stupid' place for a person to be. People these days are taught how to pray, taught how to give, and taught about God as an authority, but there isn't much that is taught in the churches about what it is to be holy.
In the book Relational Holiness: Responding to the Call of Love, Oord and Lodahl argue that the lack of interest in the doctrine of holiness has partly to do with the interplay between theological assumptions and contemporary worldviews. Worldview shifts recently have necessitated a fresh proposal for how holiness might best be understood for our time. It is futile to merely recycle holiness sermons and literature from long ago in hopes that the old-style holiness movement might be resuscitated.
Oord and Lodahl suggest expressing the Christian life, especially in regards to holiness and sanctification, within the framework of relationship with God and other people. They purport that contemporary Christians will find this "relational worldview" quite helpful when it comes to speaking about holiness. Many people, and Christians, completely agree with the idea that people become who they are because of the choices they make in response to their environments. "Believers argue, however, that the environment includes a Presence not acknowledged by unbelievers. For in God, say Christians, we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28)."
Why can't people understand the idea of holiness? Perhaps it is because there are many difference ideas of what holiness actually is. The Bible doesn't necessarily do anything to change that fact. The Bible itself has many different concepts of holiness and sanctification. There is a lot in the Bible about Christ making people holy, believers making themselves holy, and altars making offerings holy.
This is one of the main problems for many when it comes to understanding holiness.
The only way to keep holiness as it should be is to understand that holiness is only attributed to God. However, if we are to understand that to be holy is to be set apart, Christians can try to 'make themselves holy' in the sense that they have the ability to set themselves apart from everyone else and they can choose to set themselves apart from sin (which God detests); they can choose to live a unique life; they do not have to be ordinary, but should strive to be extraordinary in the eyes of God. However, for one to set him or herself apart in a way that stays true to God, one has to first understand the meaning of God's holiness.
If we don't communicate God's message of Holiness correctly, people will be missing one of the most vital pieces of the Christian faith. If we work hard to understand God's Holiness, we ourselves will become Holy and closer with God and Christ. We must stop "watering down" God's message of Holiness and really start truly learning about it. The first place to start then is to understand that the holiness that man must concern themselves with is the ethical or moral aspect of holiness. There is a specifically ethical aspect in the Scriptures, as noted, and though the ethical idea of God's holiness can't be taken away from God's majestic-holiness, we can understand that the ethical came from the majestic or absolute and it is the only way that we can make ourselves more like him.
Because God is Holy, he cannot have any association with sin (nor can he look at it); he is pure. If we look at God's ethical pureness, a man might feel awe or insignificance, just like if he is to look at God's ethical nature, a man might feel utterly impure.
God's holiness, however, is planted in man's very being, in his heart, and it can speak through his conscious. "It stood out prominently in the law given to Israel. That law in all its aspects was calculated to impress upon Israel the idea of the holiness of God, and to urge upon the people the necessity of leading a holy life."
This is how God's holiness must be communicated. There can be no "watering down" of his message if people are to understand his holiness and how man can find his likeness in themselves.
Otto states, "Mere awe, mere need of shelter from the 'tremendum', has here been elevated to the feeling that man in…[continue]
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