BY RONNIE WENDTThe word holy appears in the Bible 650 times but what does it really mean? The Hebrew word translated as holy comes from a word meaning separate, while the Greek word translated as holy means sacred, set apart from the profane, and for God.
For many people, striving for holiness means adhering to a lengthy list of do’s and don’ts that all Christians must follow. But being holy is not as much about behavior as it is about being sacred, clean, and pure of heart, like Jesus.
What did holiness look like for Jesus? In The Significance of the Sinlessness of Jesus, Nicholas Batzig writes, “In a life that spanned three decades, our Lord never entertained a thought, uttered a word, and never carried out an action that was defiled by impure motives. Jesus honored His Father in heaven, and His earthly father and mother, He never lusted, or uttered a word in sinful anger. He never stole, lied, or coveted. In short, Jesus submitted the law of God without wavering, He loved God with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength, and He loved His neighbor as Himself”.
Jesus set the standard for holiness. He then calls us to be like Him; to live, to love and to emulate His life and character in all that we do. “Therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:1-2). This means living with humility, love, tolerance, peace, discipline, and faithfulness, and following His commandments to love our neighbors. It calls us to become holy, or set apart, in an unholy world.
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