The Four Marks of the Church part 2: The Church is Holy

“ For My thoughts are not your thoughts//Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD (Isaiah 55:8, NKJV).

The defining characteristic of holiness is freedom.

Especially in the Old Testament, holiness is more than mere moral goodness. Yes, holiness embraces morally goodness but it is not quite identified with it.  As St Dionysius the Areopagite reminds us God as the source of goodness, is Himself not good; God is not one good thing among others but He Who makes good things.

We know that God is holy because He is sovereign. As Creator He is not the god of this or that place or people but the God of All.

This means that while the Church is in history, the Church is not the product of history but is the free gift of God to humanity. As this free gift—which is to say as an expression of God’s love—the Church is the community within which we are offered true and enduring freedom. It is in the Church that we are offered a life freed from the tyranny of sin and death. As we grow in the life of the Church we become ever more able to give ourselves over in love to God and neighbor.

Put another way, in the Church God makes us holy. And in making us holy, God makes it possible for us to be wholly and fully ourselves.

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