The word holy is from the Greek word hagios. Some words used to define it are set apart, sanctified, and consecrated, along with pure and morally blameless. The fundamental qualities of holiness are separation, consecration and devotion to the service of God, sharing in His purity and abstaining from worldly defilement.
In the Old Testament, God's people were to be literally separated as a nation. Jews were not permitted to keep company with Gentiles in all areas of life. However, in the New Testament, believers are to be separate from evil while living among and interacting with people who are not in relationship with God. We are to go into the world as lights but not be contaminated by the world. We are to not conform to this world's ways, but to the higher standard—otherwise we are no longer lights.
God says, "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'" (Isaiah 55:8-9, NKJV). When God says, "Be holy as I am holy," He is actually saying, "I don't think, talk or live like you, so come up to My level of living.
"His holiness, therefore, includes more than separation and purity. If holiness just dealt with sexual purity, then the Pharisees would have been holy because they led an outwardly blameless life. Yet Jesus condemned their self-righteous ways. If holiness just had to do with separation, then the hippies of the sixties would have been very holy. It's not just purity, and it's not just separation. It's a transcendent separation and purity. It's a call to the "high life." It's a call to the realm of extraordinary living! It is to live as He lives, to imitate God as His dear children.
When we think like God, talk like Jesus, and imitate Jesus' lifestyle, we will not live like people of the world. Appetites and desires of the flesh will not drive us. We will be creative, innovative, pure in our morals, life-giving in our ways. We will be influencers and often envied by the world due to our success because we are thinking and acting at a higher level.
To walk in true holiness is to experience liberation and freedom at the highest level. It's healthy and will positively affect every area of our lives.
Marked by boldness and passion, John Bevere delivers uncompromising truth through his award-winning curriculum and best-selling books now available in over sixty languages. His newest book is Extraordinary: The Life You're Meant to Live. More information is available at www.ExtraordinaryOnline.org.