Biblical Metaphors for Holiness

Posted on May 3, 2015 by Howard Snyder

God is holy—which means loving, just, true, merciful, relational, sovereign, and wholly self-consistent in his character.

So naturally, the Bible is full of holiness.

A good way to understand holiness is to examine metaphors the Bible uses for holiness. Just as the Bible uses many images and emblems to show us what conversion is, or what the kingdom of God is, so also with holiness.

A Medley of Metaphors

At root, holiness means to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27). Biblically, holiness is about our relationship with God, other people, and the land. This is so basic that naturally we would expect the Bible to picture it in many ways, multidimensionally.

I find over fifty biblical metaphors for holiness. Here’s the list, then several observations:

Walking with God
Resting in God
Entering the Promised Land
Abiding in the vine
Abiding “under his wings”
Having the mind that was in Christ
Walking in the light, as Jesus is the light
Enjoying the
fullness of Jesus Christ
Experiencing the
fullness of the Spirit
in Christ
Walking as Jesus walked
Being one with the Father
Partaking of the divine nature
Being sanctified wholly – body, mind, spirit
Growing up into Christ, as BODY of Christ
Walking in the way of holiness
The Spirit of God filling the temple
Drinking from the springs of living water
Being filled with the fire of God
Being cleansed from all sin
Having the anointing of the Spirit
Being renewed in the image of God
Being conformed to the image of Christ
Walking in the Spirit
Entering into rest
The law written on the heart
The new covenant in the Spirit
The circumcision of the heart
The love of God shed abroad in our hearts
Perfect love casting out fear
The altar sanctifying the gift
Being merciful, as Jesus is merciful
Having peace with God (in deepest biblical sense)
Shalom in the deepest biblical sense
Being filled with the Spirit
Being purified by the refiner’s fire
Friendship with God
Being hid in the hollow of God’s hand
Enjoying blessed quietness
Being fed by heavenly manna
Being led by the Good Shepherd
Having communion with God through Jesus Christ
Living like a tree planted by the rivers of water
Bearing much fruit
Enjoying the heavenly banquet
Living the life of the kingdom
Dwelling with God in heavenly places
Being cleansed from all filthiness of flesh & spirit
Walking worthy of the calling to which we’re called
Quietness and confidence before God
Overcoming through the blood of the Lamb
Being renewed within / daily
Being crucified with Christ, yet living
Being a living sacrifice
Having your strength renewed daily like the eagle’s
Overcoming the world by faith.


Popular posts from this blog

Spikenard Sunday/Palm Sunday by Kurt Vonnegut

The time when America stopped being great

The Indiana Religious Freedom Law, the Pizza Parlour and What it Says About the Church