When biblical authors label someone or something as “holy,” they are giving us a clue to the high level of value associated with that person or object. So we see, for example, holy men, holy husbands, holy people, holy prophets; and holy land, holy garments, holy water, and holy temple. God is called “the Holy One of Israel,” meaning that he of infinite, unexcelled and irreplaceable worth to that nation, and to all who join that company of people by becoming followers of Jesus. When we do this God labels us as holy (saints) because we are valuable to him. Then he calls us to live holy lives in the communities around us. Knowing our God is a holy one will do much to convince us of the good we can pass along to others from our experience of God’s holiness in our lives.
I am the Eternal, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, to be your god; thus you shall be holy for I am holy. Leviticus 11:45
Our holiness is possible because our God is holy. It is clear from God’s deeds that he is valuable, that he is able and willing to act supernaturally on our behalf. By bringing Israel out of slavery in Egypt he showed us that he is holy, that he has infinite, unexcelled, irreplaceable worth for his people. Since he can perform marvelous deliverance such as this, and such as raising Jesus from the dead, we can count on him to be our supernatural source of joy in all of life. This is important to know because such knowledge gives us the reason to attempt to be holy for others. The Eternal has gone to great lengths to reestablish relationships with people precisely so he can do what is best for us. Since he relates to us as our god, we have the resources to do good to others. We don’t need to steal, lie, or take revenge. We can be patient and forbearing, treat strangers as family, and be just in all our relationships. We can love our neighbors as ourselves, for our holy God is infinite. We can even do the most holy act of helping someone come to God through Jesus Christ.
Almighty God, as I hallow your name in my heart, let me demonstrate your goodness through my actions. Make me a channel for the river of your joy, by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.
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