Holiness is the New “116” | What does “holier than thou” actually mean in real life?

I saw this great status from my brother Jason Wilson:

THE WORLD SAYS: “Don’t be holier than thou.”

GOD SAYS: “Be holy because I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:16


This is so true… the sad part is that following worldly minded men instead of God leads to eternal damnation. The happy part is that grace actually works to create holiness in believers (Titus 2:11).

The phrase “holier than thou” is rooted in pride, not in holiness. Its also rooted in idolatry. God is actually talking about people that worship idols and are doing the EXACT opposite of living holy, but then say that they are “holier than thou.”

Here’s the actual scripture that people like to misquote:

Isaiah 65

2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;

3 A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick;

4 Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;

5 Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.

Just in case you didn’t know – phrases like ‘sacrificing in gardens’, ‘burning incense on brick’, ‘remaining in the graves’, ‘lodging in the monuments’, and ‘eating swines flesh’ – are all first testament phrases that symbolize gross and obvious idolatry among priests. These same priests then fronted themselves as holy and then prevented people from coming close to them.

So if you want to call someone “holier than thou” you also have to prove that they are purposefully worshipping idols, violating God’s obvious commandments, and then telling you not to come close to them because of their pride. This means that someone who is “holier than thou” is a liar, and a hypocrite… probably too busy performing on a stage and branding an image of themselves to have time to live what they say.

Holiness is Good

In reality, holiness is a good thing. Holiness is setting yourself apart for God’s purposes… and staying away from sin, iniquity, and idolatry. Part of it is being peculiar and zealous for God’s purposes. Holiness has nothing to do with pride, it has to do with a focus on God’s purpose.

God’s purpose is not for us to follow, imitate, or partner with sinners, but for sinners to bring the fruits of repentance and follow us because of God’s truth, power, and kindness.

Lets make 1 Peter 1:16 the new “116”

1 Peter 1:16

16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.



So Does Isaiah 65 mean I can’t eat bacon?

No that’s the old covenant. In the new covenant those old ceremonial laws don’t apply, only the reflection of Jesus Christ applies. Its a representation of what was against the law for the priesthood in that time. In the New Covenant the Priesthood is in Jesus Christ only. In the second covenant your righteousness actually must exceed and surpass the righteousness of the first covenant; because Jesus Christ is inside of you. It would be wise not to eat bacon for health reasons, but its not going to keep you out of heaven.

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