What does it mean to be holy?

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The Bible says, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy” (Leviticus 19:2). “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15,16).

The Hebrew words translated “holy,” qadash carry the meaning of “set apart”—sanctified, consecrated, hallowed. The Greek words translated “holy,” hagios imply an absence of fault or impurity (The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible).

Man was made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26, 27) but lost the likeness through sin. The purpose of the gospel is to restore the divine image in man, that he may be pure as his Creator. Being a separated nation for God (1 Peter 2:9) means living His way of life, which sets His people apart from the rest of the world. As God set the Jewish nation apart to bear witness to the principles of His government (Deut. 7:6), so He later called the Christian church to be a “holy nation” to represent Him on earth.

Holiness means keeping the God’s law (Romans 7:12). When the believer tries to keep the Law of God rigidly in his own strength, it is impossible, but when the love of the Lord Jesus comes into his heart with love for Him and love for his fellow men, keeping God’s law becomes natural and easy.

The Lord writes His law in the heart, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Hebrews 8:10). As the believer yields to the work of the Holy Spirit, God does the work of holiness in his heart.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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