what is holiness?

i have been studying the sermon on the mount for several months now, and i’d like to explore here some insight i have had on what, exactly, holiness is:

Matt 5 (ESV) 43 – 48

Love Your Enemies
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

an important point that jesus is trying to make here is often lost in our familiarity with the words: we are to, really and truly, love our enemies.

we are to love, he says elsewhere, and really everywhere, everyone we come in contact with.

we are to constantly be truly loving other people the way god does.

we are to be living a life that follow in jesus’ footsteps: every interaction with someone should be aimed at furthering their walk in the kingdom, be they a robber in our house (ahem), our parents, our friends, the barista at starbucks, or our enemies.

the other stuff in the sermon on the mount speaks to how we get to that point:

letting go of anger, contempt, greed, lust, and so on.

actually following jesus example and words is a huge part of living a holy life.

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