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What does it mean to be holy?

I asked the question via e-mail this week to everyone on our church e-mail list.

What does it look like to be holy? What does a holy congregation look like?

These question came after reading this text from Leviticus 19…

Where ;”The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

"Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”

Here are the responses I received:

I think a being holy means focusing our lives on God. If we look at Philippians 1:1, where Paul introduces himself and Timothy as "committed servants of Christ Jesus" (Message Translation), and return back to the original Greek, I think we get the word hag-ios, which directly translated means holy, blameless, or saint.

This says a lot because we are imperfect beings and it's only though a relationship with, and because of the mercy of, God that we can become anything more.Hebrews 10:10 says "God's way - by which we are made fit for God by the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus."

I think a holy congregation is one that makes God a part of their lives during every day, at every decision, and so on. We have to overcome the challenge of being Christian only on Sundays, and start being Christian even when we don't want to be, it isn't easy, or popular.


To be truly holy would be to follow the teachings of Jesus and we all fall short on that. Holy is such a sacred word. It is much easier for us to say that I am a follower of Jesus, than to say I am holy.


Being Holy means to be more like God and his Son, Jesus. It means to attempt to live clean, pure lives. When we are attempting to live Holy lives, we will be noticeably different from many around us. It will reflect in our words and actions. This is not easy but with God’s help, forgiveness and grace it is possible. We must always remember we are a work in progress. It is worth the effort! A congregation of people attempting to live more like Jesus will be forgiving, friendly and accepting of all who also wish to experience God’s forgiving grace.


To me being holy is to be sacred or sanctified....when growing up it was explained that being sanctified was "as if I'd never sinned"....simple explanation for a child....we are made holy through Christ...His dying on the cross took away all that was not good in me, "as if I'd never sinned"....we are the sacred vessels of God when Christ is in our lives....


To be holy. To be set apart, no longer conforming to the world. re: Romans 12:1 "a living sacrifice, holy , acceptable unto God." 12:2 "no longer conforming to the world, but transformed by the renewing of the mind." Really I think all of Romans 12 is a good example of how we should be as a holy people. And yet we need to be able to be with and talk to people that are not part of our congregation (Body of Christ) and tell them the good news that Christ Lives. I think our outreach programs helps us to do that. We can not think of ourselves better than others.

Lev:11:44-45 "ye shall be holy, for I am holy. Our congregation Should be seen as someone who loves the Lord God with all their hearts, minds, and souls plus love their neighbor as themselves."

We should be more Christ Like. To love one another, don't lie, steal, gossip, hate, use God's name in vain, avenge, Follow the 10 commandments and the Golden Rule. Let our light shine, be kind, smile more.

Ephesians 2:19 "fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God."

Eph. 2:21 "In whom all the building fitly framed together grows to a holy temple the Lord (The Body of Christ ) the congregation in unity, one God, One mind, many different gifts."


Holy - sanctified - set apart by God and for God - a different people, God's people, used for a special purpose. God's treasure! (1 Peter 2:9-10)

"Be holy, because I AM holy" - "by beholding we become changed" - we become holy by spending time in His presence. We are in the world, but not of the world. We are to reflect God's image, again, by spending time in His presence. And God's image can be seen through the gifts of the spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, self-control (Gal 5:22-23). To be holy is to follow God's ways. Lev 19:9-18 gives good examples of this, as do the ten commandments, and the "short version"- "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself".

The church is God's body. Again, his special treasure. We are to be a blessing to one another, both in the church (showing love, respect, helpfulness, encouragement) and outside the church (service, also treating non-believers with love and respect, etc).

Live at peace with one another, be humble in our relationships (Phil 2:1-4). The epistles are full of lessons on holiness. Easy to say, difficult to do!


To be holy - to live the life as God intends for you to live.


Loved, Forgiven, cleansed of all unrighteousness, covenant. Ours!


For me…

1. Being Holy starts with knowing who you are!

  • You are loved and accepted just as you are.

  • “Forgiven , cleansed of all unrighteousness!

  • Genesis you were made in the image of God … a “Lord God who is holy”

2. More deep Understanding god’s unconditional love

  • I do not have to be holy so God will love and bless me…

  • This was when I able to actually have success at starting down a path of holy living.

3. Being Holy is keeping the faith when unexpected things in life happen to you!

  • Being holy is… finding out you have cancer and keeping the faith

  • Being holy is… Keeping the faith and living generously even when you feel life is unfair....and keeping the faith in spite of what life brings your way


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