When God makes his people holy, he separates them from others. Holy means separate. It originates from an ancient word that meant to cut or to separate. A cut of high quality fabric or any other type of outstanding merchandise with superior excellence was understood to be a cut above everything else in its class. God distinguishes his people by cutting them away from others and setting them apart for unique and special purposes.
Holiness of God: Set Apart from His People
The Bible calls God holy and impresses upon the reader that no one embodies holiness like the Lord. Everything about God utters holiness—his holy truth, his holy love, his holy mercy, his holy justice, his Holy Spirit. God’s holiness soars so far above and beyond anything that you or I can comprehend. His separate existence transcends human understanding.
God reigns in his heavenly dwelling place. Angels and saints worship him there. From his holy habitation, He looks down to earth and surveys his created ones. He sees their thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. God’s purity does not allow him to approve any forms of evil or look favorably upon wrongdoing (Habakkuk 1:13). By way of the Spirit, God fills the earth with his presence and reveals his holiness. The first time you come face-to-face with the holiness of God, all thoughts of your own goodness will doubtless lie in ruins. You will realize that your impure ways fall far below the glory of God’s holiness (Isaiah 6:3-5).
Holiness of God’s People: Set Apart from the World
In ancient times, Moses told the people that God’s call to holiness provided three special and distinguishing advantages. They still apply to you today.
- The Lord chooses you. Not because you are special in your own right, but so that you might become so by his grace. God chooses you to be holy, above all the others that live upon the earth—to be his special treasure, his special worshiper, his special servant.
- The Lord adopts you. Not because God needs children, but because you need him as a Father. God welcomes you into his family, and as his child, you partake of his nature and enjoy the abundance of his unique blessings.
- The Lord sanctifies you. As a child of God, the Father forms you into a holy person, set apart by him from all other people and devoted to him. May you forever live in awe of God and his grace that makes you holy.
If you have been chosen for holiness, God will use each of the seasons on your spiritual growth path to teach you how his pure and holy people should live. He will show you how to make excellence your aim so that you behave in a special manner, differently from other people. God does not want you to do yourself harm by ruining your physical health, mental stability, reputation, or home and family life. Neither does he want you enslaved to nasty habits that return misery to you and others. You will learn to use care to avoid everything that might disgrace your position in God’s family.
For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; it is you the Lord has chosen out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession. Deuteronomy 14:2
In the past, God distinguished his people from others by giving them a special diet. Prohibition from eating things that others ate kept God’s people from mixing with those who might draw them into ungodly practices. In being set apart for God’s glory, how do you separate yourself from the unholy world today?
This post originates from Chapter Two, Wild With Potential / A Season for Silence, in my forthcoming book, A Disciplined Walk with God / Grow in Abundance through Each of Your Spiritual Seasons.
2 thoughts on “Holiness: A Cut Above”
Fascinating. I like this, yet I see the other side of it, too: People like the Pharisees, ultra-orthodox Catholics and other fundamentalists who think their holiness puts them so far above everyone else. The hermitage where I stay for a while had a chaplain who warned me about staying away from sinners (in this case, defined as women who use contraception) because I might be contaminated with evil spirits. As we strive for holiness, how do we avoid this trap?
The Pharisee does thank God for his holiness, but he does this in a showy way and he seems to have forgotten that with all God has done in him, he is still a sinner in need of God’s ongoing grace. He seems to be very self-focused and full of himself. He does not ask for strength to fulfill his role as a spiritual leader nor does he ask for help for others who struggle.
As Christians, we have the Spirit always with us, to guide us and give us discernment. If we obey the Spirit’s leading, we will know when a relationship is becoming harmful to us so we can protect ourselves. I hope this helps. I appreciate your questions and comments, Lisa.