Spiritual Articles

God is Holy Therefore Be Holy

pope shenouda iii

The characteristic of God as being Holy; is absolute, natural and infinite.

He is all Holy; as we say that He is omnipotent … He is omniscient.

Isaiah the Prophet recorded to us the praise of the Seraphim as they sing and say: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory" (Is 6:3).

And every day, we praise the Lord in the Agpeya hours saying: "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal". The book of Revelation had put down for us the Praise of the Heavenly livings with their harps, singing "Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy" (Rev 15:3-4). The spirit of God in His Holiness is the Holy Spirit. 

 And as God is Holy, so are all what surrounds Him.

God's sky is holy, God's Angels are Holy and God's Book is the Holy Book. Prayers which are addressed to God are also Holy Prayers. We pray the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist during the Divine Liturgy. We also read the holy Praise, the Holy Psalmody and the Holy Kholagy (book of the Divine liturgies)…

The house of God is a Holy house. We say about this in the Psalm "Holiness adorns Your house, O LORD, forever." (Ps 93). God's day is a Holy day. And so are all God's feasts, and His Holy Festivals during which holy convocations are proclaimed at their appointed times (Lev 23: 2-4).

The place in which we pray is called Holy, and so is called the day as a holy day. We say this in the Prayer of Thanksgiving "Let us also ask Him, the Lord our God, the Almighty, to guard us in all peace this holy day and all the days of our life". We also say "All envy, all temptation, all the work of Satan, the counsel of wicked men…take them away from us, and from all Your people, and from this holy place that is Yours".

At this point, we come forth to the meanings of: to be holy, sanctify, make holy…

At the beginning of the Lord's Prayer we say "Hallowed be thy name". God's name is holy in its nature. We mean, by this prayer, that people might utter God's name with holiness, honor and veneration and not in vain concerning trivial matters. And so it is said in the commandment "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain" (Ex 20:7).

The word sanctify comes also means consecrating to the Lord.

In that meaning the commandment says: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8). This means to dedicate this day only to God.

You don't make anything in that day except what is dedicated only to God, as worshipping and contemplating in the Lord's words and its implications…

And so is God's commandment to Moses "Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb…it is Mine." (Ex 13:2) those of a human who were devoted to serving the lord and that was before assigning the tribe of Levite and the children of Aaron for this mission…the firstborn of the beasts were offered as sacrifices to the Lord. On the other hand, Jesus Christ's saying to His Disciples: "for their sakes I sanctify Myself" (Jn 17:19) means also to devote Himself to care for them granting them strength and purity.

It is known that Holiness means purity and innocence.

It was said: without holiness no one can see God. God said about holiness "Be holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16)

And also said "but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct" (1 Peter 1:15). And also the verse with the same meaning that says

"Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God" (Matt 5:8).

Uncleanness is the opposite of holiness; its punishment is severe.

During the time of the Old Testament, they used to describe as unclean those who have illness as leprosy, the sick was carried outside the camp. Some animals were also called unclean as pigs…

It was said about heavenly Jerusalem that "there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination" (Rev 21:27).

One of the clearest examples of uncleanness is: sexual immortality.

God destroyed Sodom as a result of its depravity (Gen 19). God drowned the earth into the waters of the great flood. The first indication of the wickedness of man on earth was "that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose." (Gen 6:2).

It was said about the dangerous significance of fornication that our bodies are temples of God that is why "If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are." (1 Cor 3:16, 17).

Uncleanness is not limited only to fornication; it goes as well for sins of the tongue.

As to this point, God said "Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man" (Matt 15:11). And accordingly our master James the Prophet said about the tongue "it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature" (James 3:6).

The Bible teaches us that the baptised believers are themselves saints.

The Prophet says "Greet every saint in Christ Jesus… All the saints greet you" (Phil 4:21, 22).

A believer is called a saint, because he has been made holy by the precious blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). The believer has been cleaned from his sins during the holy baptism out of which he was newly born as a pious man, and also because he became sanctified by the holy chrism anointing during which 36 of his body's openings and joints were anointed with the holy chrism…

At the time being, we call certain degree of believers as 'saint', at a certain level he is witnessed to be living a holy life, or a saint who was of the heroes of faith or those who have worked miracles.

We ask that we are granted to be sanctified in our prayers, and in the Divine Liturgy…

In the prayer of the third hour, we say "send forth upon us the grace of Your Holy Spirit, and purify us from all defilement of body and spirit. Change us into a spiritual manner of life, that we may walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh".

And in the Divine Liturgy we say "purify our souls, our bodies, our spirits", with this sanctification we partake of the Holy communion memorising the saying of Samuel the Prophet

"Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice" (1 Samuel 16:5).

About partaking of the Holy Communion, we say "the Holies for the holy "which means for the saintly who are spiritually prepared to partake of the holy sacraments.

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"How easy it is for your aim to change along the way unless you stay watchful" - H.H. Pope Shenouda III #coptic #orthodox #vigilant #watchful

 

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