Being holy is being different in terms of righteousness in God. As we evangelize non-believers, we are to be recognized as different as we are to be holy in Christ. What should it be, then, that makes us ultimately different from worldly people, religious or not?
“Speaking the truth” (Eph. 4:15) is a significant part of evangelism. Then, is it what we say that should make us recognized as different? Yes, it is correct in that we have to be different in what we say, that is, we have to speak the truth. However, it does not mean that one is necessarily holy because he speaks the truth. One can speak the truth without living it and such a one is a hypocrite, which Jesus condemned (Matt. 23:23b). So, what we speak is not the thing that makes us ultimately different from others of the world.
Then, is it how we live by which we are to be different? Yes, it is right that our lifestyle has to be a thing by which we are to be recognized as different from others. Yet, regarding whether it is what makes us different ultimately, we need to think about this. What about people who have nice mannerisms without truthful hearts? Many people, including some politicians, are in this group. So, lifestyle is not the ultimate thing by which we can be always different from others.
Then, what is it that makes us ultimately different? Bible teaches it is spirit. Ephesians 4:22-24 teaches that we have to be renewed in spirit and mind, to put off the old self, in which we were living as worldly ones. I think the passage is an explanation of John 3:5, in which Jesus teaches one should be born of spirit to enter the kingdom of heaven. Why is that so, then?
One’s spirit governs everything of the person, such as, what he believes, what he speaks, and how he lives. A spirit of the person is the person himself (cf. Prov. 23:7). As the spirit of the person is godly, having been born of the word of God, it is his life (John 6:63a; 2 Cor. 3:6b). The godly spirit of the person is the guarantor of his eternal salvation (Eph. 1:44). One can pretend in anything he wants to; but none can be a different person than the one to whom his spirit aspires. One cannot live any spirit but his own. So, if one wants to change life, he has to renew his spirit. Therefore, the spirit is the thing that should be holy and godly for one to be different ultimately from others of the world.
In evangelism, as we are to be recognized as different from others of the world, we have to be always different in the right way–We have to be so by our godly and holy spirit. As we are living by such a spirit, we will speak only the truth and we will live as Jesus would live in our lives. Therefore, for our evangelism, what we have to look at first is ourselves–Have we been born of and are we living by the godly and holy spirit of Jesus (Gal. 5:25)?