We’ve been looking at the names of God and how his names help us understand him better. This week I want to look at the name, ‘The Holy One’, which is used to refer to God.
In the Bible, God is often called the Holy One. Job speaks of the ‘Holy One’ (Job 6:10) and the Book of Proverbs says ‘The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding’ (Proverbs 9:10). And a quick computer search of the name in our English Bible’s translation of the book of Isaiah reveals that the name is used thirty times by that prophet to refer to God.
Each member of the trinity is also called ‘Holy’. God the Father is called ‘Holy Father’ by Jesus in John 17:11. Psalm 16 refers to the Christ, the second person of God, as the ‘Holy One’: ‘…you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay’ (Psalm 16:10). And the third person of the trinity is often referred to as the ‘Holy’ Spirit.
So what does it mean that God is the ‘Holy One’?
Holiness means that something is ‘other’ or ‘different’ and therefore set apart from everything else. Many things can be called ‘holy’ to distinguish them from other things. For example, in the temple there were many ‘holy’ objects that were normal everyday items, such as dishes and furnishings. But because they were in the temple they were considered vastly different from the dishes you’d eat from at home. They were ‘holy’ as they were set apart for a special use in a special place.
So when the Bible calls God ‘holy’ it means he is different from other things. What is God different from? Everything! There is no one like God. He is holy in his power. He is holy in his knowledge. He is holy in his love.
But it is his justice and purity that is often associated with God’s holiness. The Lord is set apart by his moral purity.
So what are we to do in light of God’s holiness?
Firstly, we should affirm it and say with Peter to Jesus: ‘We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God’ (John 6:69).
But simply affirming Jesus as the Holy One is not sufficient. Even demons said that to Jesus. In Luke’s gospel we read: ‘In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!”’ (Luke 4:33-34).
No, we need to be holy ourselves. The Apostle Peter said: ‘But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy”’ (1 Peter 1:15-16).
But isn’t that impossible? For us. Yes. But by the power of the Holy Spirit we can be made holy by God through faith in Christ. We can all be saints – set apart by God as his people. And God makes us live progressively holier and holier lives. And one day God will clearly set us apart from the world when he takes us to be with him in heaven.
So, have you asked God to make you holy as he is holy by the death of Jesus Christ? As you seeking to be holy as he is holy? Joel Radford