1. To be like God. God created man and woman in His own image, according to His likeness (Gen. 1:26). This of course included His holiness. God wanted all mankind to be holy like Himself.
After the fall of man sin marred that image. But God’s purpose for us did not change. He has always wanted us to be holy like Him, even in a sinful world (Gen. 2:14, 15). In fact, throughout the Old Testament He commanded His people to be holy, saying to them, “Be holy because I, The Lord Your God, am holy” (Lev. 19:2, NIV).
And we can be holy! God has provided a way for us to be holy through the redemption of His Son Jesus. For in His redemption God has predestined us and called us (those He has elected to be saved) to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:28, 29). “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy…” (Eph. 1:4). Why? Because He wants us to be like Himself and like His Son Jesus, “that we may share in His holiness” (Heb. 12:10).
2. To please God. If God has called us to be holy, it stands to reason that our holiness will please Him. And the scriptures back it up. Proverbs 15:26 says, “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him” (NIV). Again in Prov. 11:20 it says, “The Lord detests men of perverse heart but he delights in those whose ways are blameless” (NIV).
3. To gain the friendship of God. In Psalms 15:1 when David asked God the question, “Who may dwell in Your holy hill?” I think he was really asking Him who was qualified to be His friend and to abide in His presence. The answer of course (to sum up the rest of the chapter) is “he that is holy”—he that has committed himself to living a sinless life.
Oh, to be a friend of God and to dwell in His presence; that has to be one of the greatest motivations for holiness. For to be in His presence is shear joy and pleasure (Ps. 16:11). It is not a pleasure anything like this world has to offer. It is a holy pleasure, free of guilt. It is the pleasure of knowing Him, of being near Him, and of seeing Him just as He is—in all His love and power and purity.
4. To have an effective prayer life. This forth reason to be holy may seem to be a rather selfish reason, but it really isn’t. For prayers are for His purposes and work. Thus, He wants us to be holy so that through our prayers His work will be accomplished. For He will not trust His work to the unholy. When they pray to Him He won’t even listen. John 9:31 says, “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does His will.” For the godly (the holy) see things from God’s perspective and they pray according to what is on His heart. Therefore, according to James 5:16, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (Ja. 5:16).
5. To be a good example to the world. Paul wrote to the Philippian church that they were not to complain or argue with each other, so that they would become blameless and harmless, and so that they would shine as lights in the world (Phil. 2:14-15). Our holiness surely does affect our light. The holier we are the brighter our light will shine. Let us always be careful not to complain or argue, but rather to rejoice and give thanks—so that others around us may see our good and holy lives, and therefore, that they may give glory to God and even come to know Him.
6. To experience His promises. God has promised wonderful things to the holy. Here are just three of His promises: (1) He has promised to provide for them. In Psalms 84:11 He says, “…no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” (2) He has promised to protect them. In Proverbs 2:7-8 it says, “…He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the cause of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones” (NIV). (3) He will bless them. In Psalms 1:1-3, David says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers” (NIV).