I will also praise you with the harp
for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel. – Psalm 71:22
And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!” – Isaiah 6:3
Exalt the Lord our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the Lord our God is holy! – Psalm 99:9
“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. – Leviticus 19:2
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:13-16
To be holy is 1) to be separate and 2) to be pure from sin or evil.
How is God separate?
God is not just bigger and smarter than us; he is totally different from us. We are the creation; he is the creator and sustainer of all that we know (and a lot that we don’t know). He is outside of our realm of the universe or universes if you will. He is the creator of them all and is outside of them all. They are not part of him, and he is not part of them. There is an absolute distinction between the creator and the creation.
This recognition of the Creator/creation distinction is not a popular idea in popular culture. Popular culture calls for all to be one when in fact all is two. The oneist idea does not allow for a holy God. In that thinking, God is simply a part of our fallen, broken, chaotic world. He is not holy and separate.
He is perfect (Matthew 5:48)
Perfection in all things is incompatible with sin and impurity. All his ways are perfect
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he. – Deuteronomy 32:4
This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. – 2 Samuel 22:31
His separateness and perfection are demonstrated in the story of Moses’ request to see God’s glory (Exodus 33:17-22). God’s response is that Moses cannot see God’s face but God places Moses in the cleft of a rock and covers him with his hand, and after he has passed before Moses, he removes his hand so Moses can see his back, his “afterglow.” You can’t handle perfection!
The disconnect that we could be called holy
I find it logically incompatible that I can be holy. I am not a Creator, and I am certainly not perfect. And yet, it is clear; our holy God has called us to be holy because he is holy. This holiness applies in both the dimension of being separate and the dimension of holy conduct, free from sinful conduct.
It seems to me the only real way we can be separate is by being in Christ. Otherwise, we are just another desperate human being tainted by the sin of Adam with no cure.
Holy conduct is only possible as a result of being in Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a holy life, a life not dominated by sin but empowered by the Spirit of holiness.
As I have noted elsewhere, my objective in my writing is primarily lead us to a more intimate, passionate and accurate knowledge of God. My focus here is not to press in on our holiness or lack thereof, but to focus on God’s holiness and hopefully increase your accurate understanding of God and your passion for the one who has bridged the gap of his holiness and our sinfulness by the work of Jesus Christ.