Thanks to everyone who attended class, and to those of you who shared your personal thoughts and feelings. Hopefully this overview of our discussion is helpful in reminding you of the promptings you received during this week’s meeting. I am also providing additional resources for those who would like to deepen their study.
holiness in the scriptures
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.1 Thessalonians 4:1, 7
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
Bible Dictionary: Holiness
According to the Old Testament, things or places were holy that were set apart for a sacred purpose; the opposite of holy is therefore common or profane (1 Sam. 21:5; Ezek. 22:26; 42:20; 44:23; 48:13–15).
Similarly a holy person meant one who held a sacred office. The Israelites were a holy people because they stood in a special relationship to Jehovah. Under the guidance of the Prophets it was seen that what distinguished Jehovah from the gods of the heathen was His personal character. The word holy therefore came to refer to moral character (Lev. 11:44; 19:2; 21:8; Isa. 6:3–8).
Israel must be holy in character because the God of Israel was holy (Jer. 7:4–7; see also Matt. 5:48). The Law of Holiness (Lev. 17–26) shows how the attempt was made by means of ceremonial observances to secure this holiness of character. The attempt failed because the later Jews observed the letter and neglected the spirit; they attached more importance to the ceremonial than to the moral; and the result was a lapse into formalism. But in the writings of the Prophets it is clearly laid down that the value of worship in the eyes of God depends upon the personal character of the worshipper.
Holiness in the modern day
- The Beauty of Holiness, Carol F. McConkie
- Holiness and the Plan of Happiness, Henry B. Eyring
- We Can Do Better and Be Better, Russell M. Nelson
Why Seek to Be Holy?
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.2 Timothy 2:21
In our discussion, we focused on the phrase “meet for the master’s use” and the blessings of being prepared to serve as He would have us serve. Striving to be holy is striving to be useful to the Master.
The meaning of the word “meet” matches God’s description of Eve in the Garden of Eden when He said, “I will make an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18)
According to David Rolph Seely, assistant professor of ancient scripture, the Hebrew term for the phrase “help meet for him” (‘ezer kenegdo) literally means “a helper suited to, worthy of, or corresponding to him” (see this excellent Ensign article for more).
As we pursue holiness in our personal lives, our aspiration should be to become someone worthy of or corresponding to our Heavenly Father.
Be Not Weary in Well Doing
It is easy to feel overwhelmed in the pursuit of holiness. Paul’s charge to be holy also came with an invitation to focus our energy on that which is most important:
But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.2 Thessalonians 3:13
If you feel too tired to pursue holiness, you may need to stop pursuing other, lesser priorities. Spencer W. Kimball stated:
Let us then not weary in well doing. …Let us keep our faith beautifully simple.Let Us Not Weary in Well Doing, Spencer W Kimball
As you go throughout your busy week, consider the following:
How can I increase more and more in holiness?
What can I do to simplify my faith?