When contemplating the wondrous and immeasurable attributes of God, one cannot help but think of His perfect holiness. Those who love the Lord appreciate this tremendous attribute; as Moses and the children of Israel sang, “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Exod. 15:11). Hannah prayed, “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God” (1 Sam. 2:2). The word holy denotes being set apart from all things profane, or common. Not only is God holy, but all things pertaining to Him are holy. Under the Old Testament, the Israelites were commanded to make a special anointing oil to pour upon the Tabernacle and each apparatus of worship, as well as upon the priests (Exod. 30:25-30). Regarding this oil, God said,
This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations. Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people (30:31-33).
Because this anointing oil pertained specifically to God, it was not to be used in any way that would make it common. Now more than ever, things pertaining specifically to God must be kept holy.
The worship of God has always been and must remain holy. When the Corinthians were guilty of turning the Lord’s Supper into a common meal, they were warned, “And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation” (1 Cor. 11:34). The worship of the Lord must not be turned into a time to balance checkbooks, to make “to-do” lists for the week, or to think about things unrelated to the worship of God. It must be a time entirely devoted to Him.
God’s very name is holy: “Holy and reverend is his name” (Psa. 111:9). In His model prayer, Jesus said, “Hallowed (“render or declare sacred or holy”—Thayer’s Greek Lexicon) be thy name” (Matt. 6:9). Yet some will use God’s name in a most common manner—such as to express surprise, disappointment, or anger; certainly a disrespectful use of that which is holy. Some will even take His holy name and twist it into silly words, such as “gosh” or “golly.” Such is not keeping holy things holy.
The church of Christ is holy. Christ,
…loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify (or “make holy,” LM) and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:25-27, emph. LM).
Yet some will speak of the church for which Christ died as though it were on the same level as a man-made denomination. Some members of the church for which Christ died make no effort to conduct themselves in a holy manner, even though they are the very stones of which His church is built (Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Pet. 2:5). “But like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy” (I Pet. 1:15-16, ASV).
Holy things must be kept holy, whether it be the worship, name, or church of the Lord; or whatever it is that He deems holy.
Let it not be said of us, “They have made no distinction between the holy and the common…and I am profaned among them” (Ezek. 22:26, ASV). Let it be said that we keep holy things holy.