How to Be Holy


Once you are free in Christ, you are set apart for God’s special purpose for your life. You are made holy by His truth.

John 17:17

In a word association game, if you are given “holy,” what is the first word that comes to your mind? More than likely, it is not “dirt.” In fact, that is probably one of the last words that you would associate with “holy.” When we think of holiness, we think of something that is totally pure, completely clean, without any defect—morally or otherwise. And holiness can, at times, convey that connotation. But dirt—and many other things—can also be holy. How is that possible?

Do you remember when Moses met with God for the first time? He approached the presence of God in the burning bush and was told to remove his sandals because he was standing on “holy ground.” Why was that particular place holy? Wasn’t it just like all the other parts of the mountain where Moses stood? How far away from where he stood did the ground become “unholy” again? Good questions, all of which are answered by the meaning of “holy”: the word means “set apart.” The dirty ground where Moses stood didn’t suddenly become clean. Rather, instead of it being just a common cleft in the side of a mountain, it was now set apart as a meeting place for God and Moses. For that moment, it was holy ground, a holy place. Anything set apart for God’s purposes was holy: the Sabbath (Exodus 16:23), Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:1), and furniture in the tabernacle (Exodus 30:27-29). So, holy means “set apart for special service or purpose.”

In the New Testament, “sanctify” means to make holy. And Jesus prayed to the Father asking him to sanctify the disciples in the truth of God’s word (John 17:17). We would at first think that the word of God itself is holy, but Jesus is asking that the word be used to make us holy. How? By setting us free from the common and profane in order that we might be set apart to that which is special for God (John 8:31-32).

Only the truth can set you free from slavery to sin. Once free in Christ you are set apart for God’s special purpose for your life. You are made holy by the truth.

God’s Promise to You: “I see you as holy if my truth has set you free.”



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