One of the questions we’re frequently asked as believers is “what’s the difference between a good person and a ‘good Christian’?”
And then the one asking the question lays out various examples of non-believers doing good things.
That’s great. Everyone should be doing good things, being kind and respectful, lending a hand. I believe the world could be a better place if we all acted “good.”
But why stop at just making the world better, when we could make this a holy place? “What’s the difference?” the inquiring mind asks.
To put it simply: it’s the difference between being good to score in the present and avoid the lump of coal, or being good so that the Father will be glorified and His Kingdom expand.
It stems from intention because no matter what, someone gets glory points: you or the Father.
We can even see this vital difference in how holiness is defined. The Merriam-Webster dictionary’s definition reads “religious or morally good; exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.”
Meanwhile, the Hebrew definition of holy is “set apart for a specific purpose.” If we know that only our Father is perfect in goodness and righteousness, then by the primary dictionary’s definition, becoming holy is a lost cause. But praise the Lord for being the waymaker, inviting and empowering us to not just be good, but be holy too (Leviticus 11:44 and 1 Peter 1:16).
In Jackie Hill Perry’s new book, Holier Than Thou, she reminds us of how holiness was part of our original design: The cross reveals God’s holiness in how the sinless Son was judged on behalf of sinful people so that when God justifies the guilty, He does so without compromising His righteousness. The Holy Spirit is then sent to fill and sanctify us as a means of restoring our divine resemblance, helping us to wear the right clothes and two good shoes, wherein we ‘put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness’ (Eph. 4:24). From the beginning with creation, in our redemption and eventual glorification, God’s holiness is revealed.
See, when our Creator created us, He called us good. And as we were created in His image, He made us holy - set apart unto Him.
One way to keep our hearts in check is to ask ourselves the following question with everything we do: Who gets the glory?
Again, if our good deeds are to merely earn rewards - the present instead of the coal, then it’s just good. But if “we let our light shine before others, so that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16), then it’s holy.
As we continue to press into this season’s message series of “The Way of the Blessing,” may we press deeper into His goodness, His holiness, so that we may be His instruments into leading others into the way of His blessings.
May we trade just being good people, for being holy people - fully embracing the specific purpose He set us apart for: to bring Him glory.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17