By Ronnie Wendt

The 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. The Son of God was holy in that He lived His life radically different than those around Him all the way to His death on a cross. Paul writes, “And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

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, never uttered a word, and never carried out an action that was defiled by impure motives. He always honored His Father in heaven, always honored His earthly father and mother, never lusted, never uttered a word in sinful anger, never gossiped about or slandered His neighbor. He never stole, never lied, and never coveted. In short, He submitted to every commandment of the law of God without wavering. He loved the Lord with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength, and He loved His neighbor as Himself. The Scriptures bear manifold witness to this truth, and it is one of the most profitable truths upon which we ought to meditate.”

When we are saved, we are made holy, and if we continue to obey God and strive to be like Jesus, we will grow in holiness. We will never be perfect, our sinful nature will creep its way back in from time to time, but holiness can transform our hearts as we live for Him, rather than for ourselves and this world. 

Jesus set the standard for holiness. He then calls us to be like Him; to live like Jesus, love like Jesus, emulating His life and character in all that we do. “Follow God’s example, 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. 

We at Just Between Us understand the temptations, challenges, and struggles we face in our human nature as we strive for greater holiness. We have put together the kinds of articles that can help you along your path to greater holiness. Spend some time checking them out. Learn how others are learning to walk as Jesus walked, and set their lives apart.