"BE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY"
Orthodox Christianity is not just another religion, in fact it is not a religion, but is divine revelation which came from above . God revealed himself to Abraham, then to his son Isaac and grandson Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. Then He identified himself as the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. God revealed himself to Moses who led Israel out of the captivity of Pharaoh, as he guided them through the wilderness toward the promised land. All these servants of God knew of the holiness of God and struggled to become holy like God. The struggle for holiness is the constant struggle to rid ourselves of sins and iniquity and every vice, while acquiring humility, meekness and every virtue, seeking to become more like God in this life. Without diligent work and struggle this is not possible.
Jesus Christ came into the world and established His Church, not only for Sunday attendance and then our return to our regular old life, but there must be a transformation and preparation in this life, to render us worthy of the life to come with God. This does not happen after our death, but must take place here in this present life, for after death there is no change, from worse to better, from vice to virtue. Genuine Christian life has always means casting off the old man of sin and putting on the new man, Jesus Christ. Hence we sing: "As many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. Alleluia." Jesus Christ, being the Godman, being by nature holy, imparts His holiness to those who believe in Him and keep His commandments. For this reason He says to us: "You be holy, for I am holy."
However, holiness is not available only by asking it of God alone, but is acquired by ascetic struggle to keep every one of His commandments, by avoiding what He forbids and putting into action all that He has spoken, among them: "Be holy for I am holy."
The reason the Lord become incarnate, was to free us from the spiritual Pharaoh, and then enlist us as His loyal servants and beloved brothers and sisters. But how can we become like Him if we do not earnestly study all that He says and diligently strive to do what He orders?
The Lord teaches: "Those who humble themselves will be exalted, and those who exalt themselves will be humbled." Those who rely on themselves and their acquired resources, seeking success in this world exclude themselves from the kingdom which is not of this world. Those who are proud of themselves and their achievements are also excluded from the kingdom and live for this present world alone. Those who heed the words of Christ, are on the right track that leads to life. Jesus says:
Enter in at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there be who go that way; because narrow and restricted is the way that leads to life, and few there be who find it.
In this injudicious world of our time, it is repeated over and over that there is one God whom we all worship in different ways, and that when people die, most will go to heaven. This is just not true. Christ makes this very clear, saying: "I am the way and the truth." The one Savior of man is Jesus Christ and the one Church of Christ is the Orthodox Church, not the Papacy and certainly not those who broke from it. There is one Church, which we confess continually in Orthodoxy, saying:
"I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church and one baptism for the forgiveness of sins." Our confessing to one excludes two and all plurality, for just as there can only be one Christ and one Body of Christ, which is the one Church of Christ.
"We believe in one holy . . . Church" because holiness is the nature of the Church that is being guided by the Holy Spirit who sanctifies and guides it, continually reminding the faithful the truths from Christ which we must accept and believe. For Christ sent Him, according to His promise as the Comforter and Guide of the Church, sanctifying her members to acquire holiness and eternal life, rendering them worthy to participate in the unending life.
The All-holy God the Father sent His All-Holy Logos to become incarnate in the All-holy Theotokos, and He was born as an all-holy Godman. The name of the followers of Christ has always and still is known as the Holies or Saints. This is recorded in the book of acts and these holies or Saints are depicted in icons and commemorated in the Church continually. We know them as Saints, Holy One, All-holy, the Sanctified, it means the same thing. If we would hope for eternal life in this world, we must struggle to become holy and pure in the present world before death, For nothing impure and unholy can enter into the Kingdom.
There is a yearning deep within man’s soul for the immortality, and this yearning can only be satisfied, and transformed into perpetual joy by Jesus Christ. It will become the continuous yearning and struggle to "Be holy as I am holy."