“Here’s a definition of holiness that I submit for your thoughtful consideration. Holiness is: proximity to the throne.
At the throne of God are myriads of creatures. Those with the greatest honor seem to be those who live closest to God, living inside & around the throne itself. These beings are given various names in Scripture such as angels, cherubim, seraphim, & living creatures. When referring to al of them at once, the Bible uses an interesting phrase. It calls them the “holy ones” (see Daniel 4:17, Job 5:1)
I want to suggest they’re not holy because of who they are; they’re holy because of where they are. They reside in the Holy Place, the place where God dwells, & they are made holy because of their proximity to God.
They’re not holy because of who they are; they’re holy because of who God is. They’re not holy because of something inherent to them, but because of something inherent to God. God alone has holiness as an inherent attribute. He alone is “The Holy One”. All others who surround His throne are holy as a derived quality. They derive their holiness from their proximity to The Holy One. Everything close to God is holy. Why? Because God radiates holiness, & everything close to Him becomes holy by virtue of its nearness to Him. In other words, He brings them into that quality or state which enables them to live in His immediate presence without being destroyed.
If you get close enough to God, you too will become holy. Not because of who you are, but because of where you are. You have received the sprinkling with blood, you have entered with boldness into the throne room, you have drawn near to God; & now the holiness that defines God’s personhood permeates every atom of your being & makes you holy, too. You’re holy because you’re in the presence of The Holy One.
When you understand this principle, you have no hesitation in saying, “I am a holy man (or woman) of God”. Being “a holy man of God” loses its mystique, its sense of elitist superiority, or the connotation of “exceptional spiritual maturity”. Some people define as holy the person who has achieved complete victory over the world the flesh, & the devil. Such a definition makes holiness a formidable mountain that appears almost impossible to climb. If I define holiness as complete spiritual victory, I’ll probably see myself as never able to attain it in this life. Holiness, in that distorted model, becomes mostly a list of things that one must not do. But making your list you don’t do isn’t able to make you holy.
I’m suggesting that holiness is not much what I don’t do, as it is what I do do. I get sprinkled with blood, step into the throne room, & stay there. That’s what I do, & that’s what makes me holy.
Holiness is more than simply an absence of defilement. You can focus on cleaning up your act, removing all that defiles, & still not find holiness. Why? Because holiness is not merely the absence of sin; it’s the presence of fire.
To illustrate, suppose I want to build a bonfire. I gather branches & sticks from the woods & place them in a heap. But the sticks I’ve collected are muddy & wet. So I take time to clean off the mud & allow the wood to dry out Eventually I have a pile of wood that is clean & dry. But just because I’ve gotten rid of everything that could quench the fire does not mean I have a bonfire. Getting rid of the fire-retardants does not give me a bonfire. I don’t have a bonfire until there’s - fire!
Holiness is a bonfire, because our God is a consuming fire. You can get rid of everything that might extinguish your spiritual flame, but just getting rid of the negative does not mean you’re ablaze with holiness. You’re not a living bonfire of holiness until you step into the Holiest, get kindled with the living flame upon the altar of God, & burn with a holy fire in the presence of His glorious holiness.”