Would you consider yourself a holy person, if not why not? Is being a holy person important to God?
Notice what the Apostle Paul had to say about being a holy person: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14).
But what is holiness, before we can understand what the Bible teaches on this subject, we must understand what the word means.
Holiness is a noun and it also means “a state or character of being holy.” Now the word holy is an adjective that means “belonging to, derived from or associated with a divine power. It also means set apart to the service of God.”
In other words, that which is holy belongs to God and whatever belongs to God is holy. What is holy is sanctified or set apart for a holy use or purpose. Now God can make an item or person holy when He claims it or becomes its owner.
When a person devotes or gives an object to God, the ownership passes to God; and since he is now the owner, the object becomes holy.
But why, why does God make an object or a person holy? He does so, that that object or person may be used to achieve His divine purpose, fulfill a specific function or accomplish some task.
Whatever is holy is not only set apart by or for God but God will not use it if it doesn’t meet His standards. God selects the tools that can fulfill His purpose, and if they don’t He will select another tool instead.
The great God who created this vast universe and sustains it; expects the very best for His use. The sacrifices commanded under the Levitical priesthood were to be perfect and without blemish. Only the highest quality materials were to be used in the tabernacle and in the Temple.
“And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering (or a heave offering) of every man that gives it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering” (Ex. 25:1-23).
Now a heave offering means a present, in sacrifice or as tribute and it has to be of the highest quality. Anything dedicated or devoted to God was to be the very best. When anyone gave an inferior gift to God, it was rejected. Now we all can remember the story of Cain and Abel.
“Ye said also, behold, what a weariness is it! And ye have sneered at it, saith the Lord of Hosts: and ye brought that which was torn (or stolen), and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand said the Lord?
But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and vows and sacrifices unto the Lord corrupt (or blemished) thing: for I am a great King, said the Lord of hosts; and my name is dreadful (or to be feared) among the heathen (or nations)” (Mal. 1:13-14).
All of these physical items pictured the spiritual perfection that would come later. Spiritual perfection should be evident when we realize that one of the synonyms for holiness is godliness. “For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourself, and ye shall be holy, for I am holy (Lev. 11:44).
Not only did God expect holiness from the ancient House of Israel, but He expects it of you and me: “Because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:16).
This implies more than just being set apart. The Books of Leviticus and I Peter include living in a special way that is different from the rest of the world. But how are we to live differenlyt from the rest of the world?
“For our fathers used to correct us according to their own ideas during the brief day of childhood. But God corrects us for our own benefit, so that we may share in his holiness” (Heb. 12:10).
You and I should be more like God from day to day, and then in the first resurrection be literally like Him.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: But we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him. For we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2).
God has selected certain people – His servants and called us to come out of this world, to be different and separate from the rest of the world.
“I have given them Your word: and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (John 17:14-16).
If we claim to be true Christians we must live in this present evil world; but our lives must be different than those around us.
“Come out of her (that is this Babylonish system), my people, that ye be not partakers of her sin, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).
How are we to do that? A price was paid – the sacrifice of Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to be forgiven of our past sins and to receive the Holy Spirit. Now, we must remember what Paul told the Church at Rome: “If we don’t have that Spirit we are none of his” (Rom. 8:9).
If we do have God’s Holy Spirit – then our minds become the temple of God (I Cor. 3:16). We quit sinning and we become a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is our reasonable service.
Some people believe all we have to do is love, to be pleasing to God; and that is true, but only if we understand what that kind of love is-- what it means and how it is expressed.
The love required is much more than affection or fondness for others; love is even more than worship of God.
“Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites as it is written, this people honoureth me with their lips but the heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men” (Mark 7:6-7).
The Apostle John also made this point: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (I John 5:3).
So the right kind of love includes obedience to God and His commandments. Only a person that has God’s Holy Spirit can love God the way He wants us to love Him.
Now, before you were called, what kind of person were you: you were 100% carnal, unconverted and imperfect. But God wants perfection from us (Matt. 5:48). God wants us to be holy and complete or perfect. That is what He told Abraham.
Notice how old Abraham was when God appeared to him – he was 99 and yet God told him: “I am the Almighty God walk before me and be thou perfect or blameless” (Gen. 17:1).
God wants a holy, righteous people, he wants a glorious church that is without spot or wrinkle. “That he might present it to himself a glorious church not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27).
God wants and requires perfection; He wants us to change, to live holy lives; and that requires a new way of living, a new way of thinking – God wants us to follow the example of His Son Jesus Christ.
Christ tells us in Matthew 6:9 “Hallowed be Your name.” What does that mean to us? The word hallow is from the same Greek root hagios – translated holy elsewhere. In other words, we should hallow God’s name in all our thoughts, words and deeds.
This means living a life of holiness, coming out of this world and being separate from the4 world involves every aspect of our life.
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness. And what concord (or accord) hath Christ with Beliah or what part hath he that believes with an unbeliever? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (II Cor. 6:14-17).
Today – many who claim to be devout Christians cannot make any distinction between what is profane and what is holy. Notice I Timothy 4:4-5: “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
God did create certain foods to be received with thanksgiving; and they are sanctified by God’s Word for that purpose. Now the word sanctified comes from the root Greek word hagios, is translated holy and sacred.
What food has God sanctified or set apart for human consumption? The answer to that is found in Leviticus 11 where God told Moses the differences between the holy and the profane.
And it is in this context that God said: “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (Lev. 11:44).
This distinction was made personally by God and it has never been changed; no matter what these devout self-professing Christians say.
Understanding and making such a distinction and living by it is one of the many ways that God’s true servants are different from the rest of the world. Instead of being immersed in the lawless and sinful society, where should we channel our thoughts?
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, mediate on these things”.
The world we live in – this verse would read like this: “Whatever things are false, whatever things are unjust, whatever thigs are impure, whatever things are unlovely, and whatever things are of bad report, if there is any evil and if there is anything despicable, mediate on these things.” Just look at the 2016 election campaigning for example!
This verse should clarify that we should avoid filling our minds with entertainment that is sinful, lustful, and sexually illicit or that is filled with murder, hatred or evil.
The argument goes this way: “It’s only a song, it’s only make-believe, it’s only a movie.” But what does the Apostle Paul tell us: “The truth is that, although we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level. The very weapons we use are not human but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of the enemy’s strongholds. Our battle is to break down every deceptive argument and every imposing defense that men erect against the true knowledge of God. We fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ” (II Cor. 10:3-5).
If we want to be holy, we must live a holy life style; we must live that way of obedience and conformity with God’s ways and His spiritual laws.
Now, notice what was holy in the past and is no longer today.
The ancient House of Israel was a chosen and holy nation, but they rebelled against God’s law, instead they turned to idolatry and sin. God cut them off and they are not now His chosen and holy people.
Instead God has called out His Church, which is a holy nation (I Peter 2:9).
The Levites were holy, but they failed in what God assigned them to do, they are no longer holy and have been replaced by the priesthood of Melchizedek. The Temple was holy, but Israel and Judah polluted it by their sins and wickedness, so it was destroyed. It no longer exists.
That, too, has been replaced by a new and holy spiritual Temple which is the Church.
Other examples show what was holy in the past and are still holy today. The tithe was and is still holy to God (Lev. 27:32; Mal. 3:8-12). The tithe belongs to God and He has never made it unholy.
The Sabbath is holy time and was commanded forever and we should keep it that way. To live the life of holiness we must continue to learn from the Bible about the nature and way of God, as we learn we must change to those better ways of God.
So we see that holiness is not a sentiment or a feeling in your heart; it is not following the religious traditions of men.
To walk in holiness, a person must first be called of God, or set apart from this world. The word saint is mentioned many times in the Bible. A saint is a person who is holy to God. It is a person who is sanctified or set apart by God and lives a life of holiness.
In the New Testament the Greek word for saint is the same word that is translated holy.
God’s servants are “called to be saints; they are sanctified” but not yet complete or perfect. John describes saints this way: “Here is the patience of the saints, here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12).
We have been set apart for God’s holy use and purpose, and we had better be fulfilling that purpose. If we do we will meet Christ in the air at His Second Coming and will possess God’s Kingdom under Christ, so that we may rule all nations on this earth.
That is the glorious future that awaits the saints who truly walks in holiness who is truly sanctified and made holy.