Radical Holiness

What is “radical holiness?” To be holy means to be set apart. I take it as, to not be used up by sin, or, pure and blameless. Radical can mean extreme, or drastic. So radical holiness is taking drastic measures to be free from sin.

As Christians we’re called to be holy (1 Peter 5:13-16). That seems to suggest that it’s not ok just to live as though grace is going to fix it all no matter what I do. Some Christians seem to have the mindset that living a life that’s extremely good is too much to be expected. They justify sin because perfection cannot be reached, so why even try.

So how do we implement extreme holiness? I’ve been contemplating this for a while now, and it’s not easy to make decisions that proclaim radical holiness. Maybe it’s the shows on TV that we watch that show just enough to be legal, or music that uses cussing. I’d even suggest that maybe to achieve radical holiness, we shouldn’t even listen to music, TV, or radio that uses suggestive language. How about in our clothing, how much skin is too much skin to show? How far is too far to go with a boyfriend or girlfriend? How fast is too fast when I’m speeding?

It’s tough to cope with all the pressures in the culture we live in. High schools break their own school dress codes by giving cheerleaders skimpy outfits, and then they expect everyone else to follow the guidelines. A lot of people want to tag the name “hypocrite” to Christians, but anywhere there are humans, hypocrisy exists.

“Flee from sexual immorality,” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:18. Colossians 3 tells us to “Set [our] minds on things above, not on earthly things,” (v. 1) and “Put to death… your earthly nature” (v. 5). “Rid yourselves of… anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language” (v. 8).

He follows up Colossians 3:12 by saying, “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Watching Family Guy isn’t going to clothe us with kindness and compassion. Listening to System of a Down is not going to give us gentleness or patience. But will listening to the newest music that’s suggestive, or watching a show that’s a bit risqué send us to Hell? If that’s the case, we’ve got a lot of people in trouble. I don’t think that our motivation not to do these things should be because of Hell, but because we want to live a life that is worthy of the calling of Christ.

In Romans 6:1-2, Paul says that by no means should we continue to sin! Being baptized is not an insurance policy. We were baptized to “live a new life” (Romans 6:4). In verse 5, Paul states that “if we have been united with him in a death like his,” which means we can no longer continue to live in sin, we have to become radically holy, then “we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

We have been promised a place in Heaven, but that doesn’t let us off the hook. Let us strive daily to be a people that are radically holy!