In Leviticus 11:45, God told the Israelites, “Be holy as I am holy.” Peter applies that to New Testament believers in 1 Peter 1:16. So what does it mean to be holy? One thing it does NOT mean is “self-righteous.” Neither does “without sin” define “holy.” After all, my kitchen table is without sin, but it isn’t holy.
Zondervan’s Pictorial Bible Dictionary says that the basic meaning of the Hebrew word for holy is “separateness, withdrawal.” It describes holiness as “the pure, loving nature of God, separate from evil….” That dictionary also says that “holy” has long been associated with the ideas of purity and righteousness. Then perhaps being holy means being entirely devoted to God, a living sacrifice as Paul teaches in Romans 12.
The context of 1 Peter 1:16 talks about obeying God in everything and not slipping back into our old habits we had before knowing Christ. James 1:27 speaks of the Christian’s need to remain “unspotted from the world.” Oh Father! Please make me pure and holy, completely Yours! Teach me to separate myself from evil. Amen.
Copyright Tricia Opitz 9/26/10