Monday: Be Ye Holy

“And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy.

Image © Sean Eichelberger from

Image © Sean Eichelberger from

And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy” (Exod. 40:9-10).

Exodus 40:9-10 shows us that the sanctuary was to be regarded as “holy.” The basic idea of holiness is separateness and uniqueness, in combination with belonging to God.

“The typical service was the connecting link between God and Israel. The sacrificial offerings were designed to prefigure the sacrifice of Christ, and thus to preserve in the hearts of the people an unwavering faith in the Redeemer to come. Hence, in order that the Lord might accept their sacrifices, and continue His presence with them, and, on the other hand, that the people might have a correct knowledge of the plan of salvation, and a right understanding of their duty, it was of the utmost importance that holiness of heart and purity of life, reverence for God, and strict obedience to His requirements, should be maintained by all connected with the sanctuary.”—Ellen G. White, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 1,010.

Read Leviticus 19:2 and 1 Peter 1:14–16. What is the primary reason for the people to be holy?

God’s holiness transforms us and sets us apart. His holiness is the ultimate motivation for the ethical conduct of His people in all spheres of life (see Leviticus 19), whether that be observing the dietary laws (Lev. 11:44-45), respecting the priest (Lev. 21:8), or not conforming to former lusts (1 Pet. 1:14). Obviously, God wants us to grow in holiness as we get closer to Him. This change can come about only through a self-surrender of our sinful natures and through a willingness to do what is right, regardless of the consequences.

Think about yourself, your habits, your tastes, your activities, et cetera. How much of what you are, and what you do, would be considered “holy”? It is kind of a tough question to face, isn’t it?



Monday: Be Ye Holy — 39 Comments

  1. What is the primary reason for God's people to be holy?

    It seems clear that to "be holy" is to be like God. And we have the advantage of looking back at the character of God as lived out in the life of Christ. Thus it seems to me that to "be holy" is to be like Jesus in all our interactions. To "be holy" is to answer the prayer of Christ who prayed that we all might be one as He and the Father are one so that the world might recognize what God is really like. (John 17:21)

    God wants to save as many as possible, and for that He needs a holy people to represent His holy character. When he describes what love looks like in action (1 Cor 13:4-8), Paul describes what God's people should look like in action.

    • I really need to clarify my comment above.

      I believe that for a created being to be truly "holy" is an impossibility. Only God is holy. And we can be "holy" only as we are "in Christ" and He is Lord of our lives, so Christ lives His life in us. (Review Romans 6:1-20)

      Thus to pray something like "Help me to be holy" is to pray an impossible prayer. We cannot be "helped" to "be holy."

      The better prayer is to pray, "Lord, I surrender myself to you. Please take my heart, for I cannot give it. Please live in me and mold me and shape me in your image by your Holy Spirit."

      The critical difference is that a prayer asking God to "help me" to be holy, assumes that the I can be somehow "holy" with a little or a lot of "help" from God. But that is not true.

      Holiness is only possible when God is in complete control of our lives. It is only possible when we are "in Christ," as Paul likes to put it. We are baptized into Christ in His death(Ro 6:3), and we are alive in Christ (Ro. 6:11). In Christ, we are to consider ourselves dead to sin, whose wages are death (Ro 6:23), but we have eternal life in Christ. In Him, we have no condemnation (Ro. 8:1-2) because we are set free from the law of sin and death because of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ.

      Rather than trying to "be good," we need to give up on ourselves and choose to allow Christ to have full control.

      • Holiness: an oxymoron for God's children, because the more you understand your human nature and your sinfullness, and the helplessness in overcoming by yourself your weaknesses, your human bad character, your laziness, your anger, your hate, your intolerance of others, etc., etc., etc. You find yourself impossible to be holy and your only hope is to humiliate yourself at the foot of the cross of Jesus and beg: "Be mercifull to me because I AM A SINNER"

  2. Human beings are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). God is holy (“separate” or “set apart”). However, after the fall of man, God has been longing to transform us to be holy since He is holy. We are his followers, therefore we must be, according to our capacity, be consecrated to God's honour, and conformed to his nature and will. Being holy means being like God, separating ourselves unto Him and His truth - and naturally, separating ourselves from those things that are not like Him and not according to His truth. (James 4:7).

  3. QUESTION: Can someone help explain the text (Ex 40:9-10) quoted in the lesson, especially the issue of the 'anointing oil'? I noticed the use of anointing oil, holy oil, holy water in some denominations but (from where i came from) our church (seventh day adventist) don't use such things. Please i need more light.

    • Riga, may I try to answer your question by referring you to Ex. 30:22-33 where the anointing oil is explained in detail. The oil was used for anointing the priests and the articles pertaining to service. It was regarded as a sacred compound that could not be imitated nor used as normal perfuming oil. The anointing of the goods (vessels) which were brought into God's house with oil were like, they were to be marked first, so that they are “set apart”. The same applied to the servants (Aaron and his sons) who were handling the vessels of the Lord; and they must be clean before they were put into that office, Ex. 40:12-15. Since oil is emblematic of the Holy Spirit, we see that the Holy Spirit is not poured out to enhance our flesh, but to glorify Himself.
      The anointing oil was not to be imitated (Ex 30:33). This shows that the work of the Holy Spirit is never to be imitated. There is to be no place for encouraging a fleshly imitation of the gifts or operations of the Holy Spirit. To do this denies the holiness of the Holy Spirit, regarding His work as something we can do just as well on our own. The anointing oil which Moses was instructed to use was the one approved by God Himself, not any other substance.

    • God initiate this command specifically for the purpose of setting the tabernacle, all the articles, and utensils apart for holy use or purpose. God set them apart. You know that everything in the sanctuary represent Jesus Christ. The articles all point to The knowledge of Christ in the fullness sense. Our walk with Christ is a set apart life from worldliness. And the Holy Spirit is now God's anointing oil. See 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 and 2 Corinthians 3:18. If you lack this spirit then be encourage! Why? Matthew 5:3! You will fulfill your need in Christ. Christ is found in the sanctuary. Read Psalm 77.

    • "Anointing" is not prescribed in the New Testament, except in prayer for the sick (James 5:14), even though it is a tradition in some churches.

      In the Hebrew sanctuary services, the anointing oil was a type of the Holy Spirit. Our churches are not symbolic like the Hebrew Sanctuary. We live in the day that the type has met antitype in Christ, and the Holy Spirit represents Christ to us. Paul and John write of God doing the anointing (2 Cor 1:21; 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27;)

      Thus it seems to me that it is more important that we value and listen to the Holy Spirit than for us to practice anointing.

    • Remember Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, they offered strange fire and paid the consequences for their actions. What made the fire strange? Wasn't because they went against God's instruction. God determines what is. To refer to something as of our own self is doing what these boys did. The sanctuary was holy, the services holy, everything about it was holy; the people admonished to be holy and all because God determines that. He is holy, therefore He alone determine holiness. These oils and water that are referred to as being holy by unholy human beings cannot, and should not be holy.

  4. I am so grateful that God wants to save as many as possible- I truly want to be one of those! However, as far as 'being holy' is concerned I fail often despite daily prayer, study and determination. Life is a constant test and I pray that His love will extend to all those who 'fall short' like me.

    • Real holiness is to understand our real sinfulness and helplessness and cry to Jesus:"I am a sinner; mercy, please mercy, save me from myself and my sinful nature, cover me, take control of me, I am my worst enemy,I surrender to your mercy"

  5. Holiness is godliness and godlikeness, which requires selflessness. To be holy humans who are naturally selfish need to die to self. One of the reasons we are encouraged to spend thoughtful time daily contemplating the scenes around the Cross is so that we are reminded often what dying to self looks like. The pattern is Christ.

    In the book, The Desire of Ages p. 86 - 88 we find an account of family problems arising because of Jesus' holiness, with Jesus being the victim. We know too those who live godly will suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12).

    The question is how much do we really want to live like the model/original? Can we afford to participate or get involved in activity which may not look evil but in effect work against the development of divine characteristics? For example can we safely subscribe to competitive sports or other organized competitive activity in church, which tend to cultivate rivalry and breed strife, and expect to naturally esteem others better than ourselves? Put another way do we compete to lose and let others win, or will our minds be focused on gaining the supremacy over the competition and bragging rights?

    There are some things which do not fit in the Narrow Way. It seems important to consider whether what we choose to do moves us in one direction or another, even if our resulting decision makes us seem weird in the eyes of others. One thing we can be sure of is often holiness does not look like what we see around us. Conformance may gain points with colleagues or the world, but we are called to be transformed to a standard that is out of this world. The Holy Spirit is ready to do the work just as soon as we are willing to cooperate.

    • Amen. I appreciate that comment. SOP quote: The Saviour longs to manifest His grace and stamp His character on the whole world. He desires to make men free and pure and holy. Through the blood shed for the world there are triumphs to be achieved that will bring glory to God and the Lamb. Christ “shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.” Isaiah 53:11. – {HLv 551.3}. This work begins where we are, in our own home. Christ dwell among His own house of Israel. So as Christ also told His disciples to begin in Jerusalem after His resurrection, we are to begin in our own home. Atonement and the sanctuary message need to be applied first in our own homes.

    • Cooperation only will come when we really understood our own sinful nature and hopelessness and helplessness to overcome ourselves. It is impossible to be HOLY in God sigh without a deep understanding of how much sinful we are, so we can cry to Him and BEG that Him take full control of us

  6. Question: Think about yourself, your habits, your tastes, your activities, et cetera. How much of what you are, and what you do, would be considered “holy”? It is kind of a tough question to face, isn’t it?

    Well, we don't realize how much powers God put in us in the great battle with evil. The power of our mind intellect, body strength and senses, soul, and social interactions. These powers we posses as gifts from God are holy.

    Check this SOP from Prophets and Kings regarding Daniela and his friends during Babylon captivity:

    "They obtained their knowledge by the faithful use of their powers, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They placed themselves in connection with the Source of all wisdom, making the knowledge of God the foundation of their education. In faith they prayed for wisdom, and they lived their prayers. They placed themselves where God could bless them. They avoided that which would weaken their powers, and improved every opportunity to become intelligent in all lines of learning. They followed the rules of life that could not fail to give them strength of intellect. They sought to acquire knowledge for one purpose--that they might honor God. They realized that in order to stand as representatives of true religion amid the false religions of heathenism they must have clearness of intellect and must perfect a Christian character. And God Himself was their teacher. Constantly praying, conscientiously studying, keeping in touch with the Unseen, they walked with God as did Enoch."

  7. What sets US apart from the world - the values and standards we maintain as Christians setting us apart from the world. We may not be perfect but God is calling us to be "distinct" from the world. Our relationship with Christ sets us apart from the world - not just to blend in!

      • They will see the most humble and loving people on earth, honest to the core and helpful,unjudging of others, understanding human nature and full of patience, knowing that without divine help we are bad to the core

  8. Holiness is not rapture: it is an entire
    surrender of the will to God; it is
    living by every word that proceeds
    from the mouth of God; it is doing
    the will of our heavenly Father; it is
    trusting God in trial, in darkness as
    well as in the light; it is walking by
    faith and not by sight; it is relying on
    God with unquestioning confidence,
    and resting in His love.

  9. God has chosen us to be a part of his royal family. When we say "yes" and dedicate our lives to Him, He is there and He makes us His own. When we are part of the family, spend time with Jesus and let the Holy Spirit work in our lives, we take on the family traits. God is our Father. He is holy and so we are holy because we are obedient children empowered by His grace and taking on His DNA. As part of the family, we are like our Father!

  10. It's enjoyable reading how other interpet and analyse what written in the Bible. and their Truth. Truth is Jesus... make Him your Lord and you will Learn more Truth; Daily.That what works for me.

  11. The reason for being holy in Leviticus 19:2 is that God himself is holy,"holiness is a complete surrender of the will to God; it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father; it is walking by faith and not by sight; it is relying on God with unquestioning confidence, and resting in His love". God's Amazing Grace p.120.

  12. What HEALTHY LOVING parent isn't proud to have a child that looks like him or her. What parent, especially one with exposure and life experience doesn't want his or her children to trust the instructions they give. Why shouldn't God, our Father, our Maker, the personification of love and purity want we His children to reflect Him? God wants to imprint Himself on our spiritual, emotional and physical beings. He wants us to allow the imprint of His life into ours like little ducklings imprint the actions and behaviors of their mothers.

    If we're willing and obedient, we like little ducklings will have the privilege to follow Him any and everywhere securely. Small as we might be, we will glow with His light. What mercy is extended to us that we can become little lamps, filled daily with the breath of God. His Spirit brings us oil and flame directly from His presence where only life exists.

    • Nanci, I love your little word picture of a mother duckling, with all the little ducklings following after. 🙂

      While I think the picture is appropriate to a point, I believe there's more to it: The reason God wants us to be like Him is that that is the only way we can have happiness, and it's the only way for happiness throughout the universe. The law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for the universe, and if we break it, we suffer and those around us suffer. (Also see Desire of Ages, page 19 and page 21)

      • I agree. When I was reading the lesson about being holy as God is holy the picture came to mind. I understand holiness is much a deeper experience than that of just mimicking certain actions. What comes to me over and over again is the idea that God wants us to be happy, but I believe more than that He wants us to be happy knowing Him. He wants us to enjoy communing with Him on a deep level like Adam and Eve before sin. He wants us to know we belong to a greater family of created beings that live in harmony under His generous law of self sacrificing love. The picture of ducks that came to my mind, their mother leading made me think of the uniqueness of the individuals without the loss of unity, security, contentment and joy as long as they follow the law of duck-hood modeled by their mother. We must allow Jesus's example of self-sacrificing love as the Holy Spirit teaches it's practical application in day to day life. We must be willing to surrender to God's sacrificing love requirements. Only then will we have the assurance of being holy as our Father in heaven is Holy. It is not of ourselves, lest any of us should boast. It is a gift God gives us, and can be experienced in our lives daily.

        • Be ye holy as He is holy. Many people can mimic holiness, but that does not make us holy. One has to first want to be holy and by the grace of God trying to live right. By prayer, meditation, supplication and trying to do right all the time, the Holy Ghost then comes and empower us and live in us thus gradually making us become like Him. It is the Holy Ghost that does the work in us; to will and to do of His good pleasure. This should be the christian desire day by day.

  13. God is holy and He wants us to be like him, we must be closer to Him by habitual prayer, obey his will and repent our sins. The more we have stronger relationship with Him, i think we will be holy like His character.

  14. im suprised someone hasnt been asked a question I too consider to be important. whats the main reason why ada denominations use anointing oil stipulated in exodus and James and while we no longer pray with the anointing oil ourselves?

    • Thank you for your comment Bouncy. I, as well as all the other elders and pastors I serve with continue to use the oil in accordance with James' directions. Is there another question I am missing here?

  15. Our God loves us so much that He tells us to be holy so that He can dwell among us,He than turns around and makes us holy because we are not able to make ourselves holy and as we read, for example, in Leviticus 19 we are told how to remain holy thus resulting in God's presence always being with us. What a God.

  16. We sometimes have a rather narrow picture of what it means to be holy. I guess that some of the associations we have with the use of the word "holy" contributes to that idea. From my experience I think of the "Holy Orders" - communities who have set themselves apart from normal life to focus on meditation - the monks and nuns, or perhaps we think of the "holy men" of countries like India. We also make jokes about people who appear to be sanctimonious, saying that they are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly use.

    We have images in our mind of holy people, saying holy thoughts, praying and reading scripture for long periods of time.

    I think that this is a caricature of holiness. We need a picture of holiness that embodies the notion of being called to special responsibility. In outback Australia two ministers of the gospel happened upon a farmer who had some cows bogged in a swamp. One minister hopped off his horse and started helping the farmer pull the cows out of the bog. The other minister, remained on his horse and said to the minister in the bog, why don't you pray about the cows in the swamp. The first minister responded by saying, "This is not the time for asking for God's help - it is time to give him a hand!"

    I'm all for the sort of holiness that ends up with dirty hands.

  17. If holiness means to be like Jesus, perhaps we should focus more on positive actions rather than on what we shouldn't be doing.

    If we are busy doing good and loving people, as Jesus did, we won't have time for the stuff we shouldn't be doing. Jesus was fully engaged in the world and with the people around Him. In all His interactions, He demonstrated a concern for the temporal and eternal well-being of others. He was not afraid to touch people and become "unclean," as the Pharisees did. He was like the pastor whom Maurice mentioned - the one who got dirty getting the cows out of the swamp.

    We will never become holy by focusing on what not to do. The only way to become holy is to focus on Jesus and ask Him to give us the power to live like Him.

    • I would like to correct the last paragraph in my comment above to read thus:

      The only way to become holy is to ask Jesus to live in us. (Then His power can be demonstrated in us.)

      My original statement leaves room for the idea that Jesus can give us a supply of power, and then we can live like Him. But that's now how it works. The only way we can live like Him is if He lives in us. The power is His power in us; it doesn't become our own power.

    • Yes! Real holiness express itself by a very humble, merciful and loving character toward others, a deep compassion for sinners. Because you understand your own sinfulness and hopelessness without God grace

  18. God asks us to be holy as he is holy ....
    What does it mean for us to be holy .....When God gave this command to Israel ,he did this out of love for his chosen nation .He wanted them to be set apart .He gave them special instructions of how they should live their lives and today he calls us to be set apart from the world following his standards not men's.

  19. "Without me ye can do nothing".
    "All things are possible to them that believe."
    "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
    "Without faith it is impossible to please Him".

    Turning our whole lives over to our Creator and Lord and allowing Him to work in us according to His purposes, is the only way by which we may obtain to holiness. The just shall live by faith.

  20. Holiness: an oxymoron for God's children, because the more you understand your human nature and your sinfullness, and the helplessness in overcoming by yourself your weaknesses, your human bad character,your laziness, your anger, your hate, your intolerance of others, etc., etc., etc. You find yourself impossible to be holy and your only hope is to humiliate yourself at the foot of the cross of Jesus and beg: "Be mercifull to me because I AM A SINNER" then you are really HOLY but you will not feel that, you always will feel the worst sinner always asking for GOD mercy and seeing others like better than you.

    • While I understand what you are saying Rosita, it is also true that when we stand at the foot of the cross we can also be thankful for the freedom from guilt that should have been ours. We are free and have been offered a new beginning. It is a message of hope and renewal. We do not stand at the foot of the cross weeping over our sinfulness. We move on, living our new life in Christ with joy.


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