“Be holy. Be holy as I am holy.”

Added a bit to my conclusion, a bit that better sums up the paper as a whole:

God is holy. In saying that we are not saying God is separate, or distant, or full of isolated wrath. God’s holiness is who he is. His holiness and his love are unified in his being, his self is holy and his self is love. He is the all-encompassing reality; the infinite whose eternity is a totality of being. In himself he derives his self, needing no one else, nothing else, to give him identity. He has his self in his own self, and as such is the only true identity, from which all other selves find their meaning. Sin is the attempt to derive our selfhood from some other source, a source that may promise life and wholeness and identity, but apart from God can only deliver death, and emptiness, and nonidentity. We are faced continually with our own nonidentity and our own finitude. In the face of this, a perception which begins in the earliest stages of our development, we form responses which seek to overcome our isolation, asserting ourselves on others, and in doing that finding some meaning in a defensive posture against the world. Our egos clash against God’s being. We seek to become what he is, and we are left wallowing as what we are. Wallowing in despair, and also in conflict, as rampaging egos collide in constant attempts at meaning, deflecting and dismissing others, causing more and more ego response in return. Sin abounds.

God does not retreat from this. He continues to reach out. Grace abounds even more. In his holiness, in his selfness, he offers himself to humanity, maintaining an exocentric openness to the world as the hope of salvation. This is seen in the earliest revelations. God reaches out and asks for trustworthy responses so as to embrace his people as reflections of his holiness. They do not understand, and continue to soil themselves with self-definition. But in his holiness, God so loves the world he sends his son. Jesus—God and Man—is the very image of God’s love and his holiness. In his life, in his teaching, in his sacrifice, in his resurrection we see the wholeness of true identity. In this coming to us, God makes possible a holistic restoration for our own identities. We are not left to our egos, but can find freedom with God in his eternal being—becoming truly who we are in the power and life of the Spirit.

In the fullness of God’s being we encounter the fullness of God’s rule, and as we participate with him in our renewed exocentric identity we become more and more open to others, more and more open to God’s being in our life. Jesus promised the kingdom, and the Spirit came upon the earliest church. Peter was no longer the fearful man who was so insecure of his identity that he would deny his fellowship with Jesus in the face of even the barest opposition. He became a preacher, reaching out to the world in the fullness of the Spirit’s gifts, expressing the Gospel with power and wisdom and courage. Peter became a new man, in the light of the Spirit’s arrival, holy in his identity as finally identifying wholly with Christ, in holy expectation of God’s reign, which he was already experiencing in the power of the Spirit.

Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other arguments and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:38ff.

Such is God’s being realized among us, the gift of the Spirit, life in the kingdom. It is this life that is a life of true holiness. A life with God, for God, lived in fullness and an indescribable wholeness. This emerging holiness is our dance with God.

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