Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Holy is a word I've been thinking about a lot lately. It's a word we use frequently in church, in song, and in prayer. Holy is certainly a word I think of when I think of God, but I read something recently that made me ponder its meaning anew.

I am reading Gospel-Powered Parenting by William P. Farley. My husband picked it up via Amazon recently, and I snagged it before he started reading it. It has lots of good things to say to me, as a parent to a five-year-old, but in Chapter 4, Farley really challenged my thinking.

To paraphrase, he says that the word holy isn't about being perfect or pure, but about being held apart from everything else, being separate. He states that the opposite of holy isn't evil, which would've been my antonym choice. Instead, the opposite of holy is common.

Doesn't that totally change the connotation?? I've been mulling over it ever since.

I've come to realize that I can't totally throw out the idea of holiness being perfect and pure. Maybe I'm off-base, but it seems that being perfect and pure complements being separate. God is held apart from our common, profane world. He is perfect and pure because he is undefiled by our sin. He cannot be in sin's presence any more than we can be in His perfect and pure presence... without Christ's intervention. 

It's a paradigm shift to think of God's holiness to include being held apart from the world's evil. For me, it emphasizes my desperate need for Christ's intervention on MY behalf. I can't begin to be holy on my own. No way! I can sometimes imagine being somewhat good, but being something other than common is far beyond me. In order to be in God's presence, I must be holy, therefore I must cling to Christ's redemption. All my hope is in Him.


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