Given this understanding we can see why holiness and hospitality pull us in two different directions.
But as I argue it in Unclean, Jesus resolves the tensions by radically rethinking what it means to be holy. According to Jesus, loving God (the pursuit of holiness) is equated with loving your neighbor (the pursuit of hospitality). This is illustrated time and again in the gospels where the Pharisees achieve holiness by moral and social exclusion and separation from tax collectors, sinners and prostitutes. By contrast, Jesus regularly eats with and welcomes tax collectors, sinners and prostitutes, declaring that God desires mercy (hospitality) and not sacrifice (holiness via exclusion).
In thinking about Jesus's conflation of hospitality and holiness I was struck recently by the associations made in 1 Peter about the relationship between holiness and love:
1 Peter 1.13-16, 22Notice how the call to holiness--"be holy"--is connected to a very specific goal: purify yourself "so that you have sincere love for each other."
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.
Here's how 1 Peter 1.22 is rendered in some other translations:
ESV:We are called to be holy as God is holy. We are to purify ourselves.
Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
NRSV: Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.
But what is the goal of holiness? For what purpose is purity?
The purpose and the goal of holiness and purity is that we will have sincere, genuine, deep and mutual love for each other.
Holiness and purity are not the opposite of love. Holiness and purity are the cultivation of love. The holy person is the loving person. The pure person is the loving person.
Be holy to love each other.