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The Holiness of God

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God is holy. What does that mean? How does the holiness of God change how we live, learn, and love? God’s holiness is a difficult topic to grasp, but the Bible has important answers that can help!

What is Holiness?

We hear a lot about holiness when talking about God, but it can be a tricky concept to grasp. What does it mean for something or someone to be holy?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines holiness as being “exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.”
The original words meaning holy are qadosh in Hebrew and hagios in Greek. These words mean to be set apart, sacred, and sanctified. Click here to watch a great video that details what holiness is and how it relates to God.

The Holiness of God

The idea behind holiness is of separation; being set apart and unique. When you think about God, in what ways does He demonstrate these qualities? First of all, He is unique in all the universe. No one has His power, creativity, or purity. There never has been and never will be anyone like Him. Only God is worthy of our praise and worship. 

Holiness also means “to separate or cut off.” God is entirely and infinitely pure. He is separate from anything that is sinful and cannot look at or even tolerate sin. 

God is so holy that we can’t even enter His presence if we are not holy too. His holiness is so powerful that we can’t withstand it. That’s why God told Moses to stop where he was when he approached the burning bush, but even then, his physical appearance changed. The Book of Leviticus was written so that we could have ways to make ourselves pure and holy enough to enter into His presence. When God sent Jesus to die for our sins and then resurrected Him, He bridged that gap for us so that we could enter into His presence at any time. Jesus makes it possible for us to strive for holiness and be
holy as He is holy. 

Want to dig deeper into what holiness means? Click here for a three-part podcast series about God’s holiness and how we can be holy like him.

5 Bible Verses About The Holiness of God

      • Exodus 15:11 – Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?

      • Psalm 96:9 – Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!

      • Ezekiel 38:23 – So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.

      • 1 Samuel 2:2 – There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.

      • Revelation 15:4 – Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.

    Be Holy For I am Holy

    God repeatedly tells us in the Bible to “be holy for I am holy.” But God is perfect and infinitely pure. We are human and sinful by nature. How can we ever hope to be holy ourselves? And what does being holy even look like? 

    Being holy means to live our lives in a way that reflects God’s glory, rather than conforming to the ways of the world (Romans 12:1-2). It means that we need to abide by the rules that God laid down for us in the Bible. It takes discipline to do this, and is not always easy. The instructions in the Bible help to protect us.

    God calls us to be holy — set apart and special. When we follow His rules, live with His love, and seek after Him, we certainly stand out in the world. The Holy Spirit comes and lives in us the moment we accept Jesus Christ into our lives. He helps us live a holy lifestyle, and helps us love others. Jesus says in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” When people ask us why we stand out and why we live a life that is set apart, we can be a witness to who Jesus is and invite them to know Christ too.

    5 Bible Verses About Being Holy


        • 1 Peter 1:15-16 – But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

        • Leviticus 20:26 – You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.

        • 2 Timothy 1:9-10 – Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

        • Hebrews 12:14 – Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

        • 2 Corinthians 7:1 – Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.

      Challenge Yourself to Be Holy


          • Take a few minutes and write down some ways that you can be holy. Are there habits in your life that you need to change? Things that you need to stop doing? Things that you need to start doing? When you finish writing down those ways, develop a plan for how you will start doing those things this month and continue throughout the year.

          • Are there people in your life who don’t know Jesus? How can your living a holy life be a witness to them? What is most likely to stand out to them about how you are pursuing holiness in your relationship with Jesus?

          • Did you know that striving to live a holy life can also benefit your mental health? Spending time reading the Bible, praying, loving others, and following the instructions God laid out for us in His Word can improve mood, create a positive outlook, and help protect us from situations that might harm us. Which of these most contributes to your mental health?

        Tell us Your Thoughts!

        The Bring Your Bible team wants to know what you think about God’s holiness! Maybe you have ideas for a Live It Challenge? Send us your thoughts and comments!

        Direct message us on social media or email us!



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        About the Author


        Picture of Bret Eckelberry

        Bret Eckelberry

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