The words “holy”/“sanctified” (Gk. – “hagios”) and “holiness”/“sanctification” (Gk. – “hagiasmos”; “hagiosune”) mean “to set apart or separate”. And when used in the Bible of people, places, or things, they mean “to set apart for God; devoted to God; separation from all that is sinful, impure, or morally imperfect; moral wholeness”.
Holiness is one of the attributes of God. He is entirely free from moral evil, and is instead absolutely perfect morally (Ex. 15:11; Isa. 6:3). All moral law and perfection have their eternal and unchangeable basis in God’s own nature. He is Himself the root and ground of them all. In this sense it is said, “There is no one holy like the Lord…” (1 Sam. 2:2), and “Thou alone art holy” (Rev. 15:4). The same is true of Jesus Christ, as He is God the Son (Lk. 1:35).
The Bible presents the unfallen angels as “holy” (Mk. 8:38; Lk. 9:26). Their holiness is less than that of God’s in that it is(conditional/temporary) perfect conformity to the will of God, while God’s holiness is absolute. In God there is no possibility of sin (Mal. 3:6; Rev. 15:4; 1 Sam. 2:2; James 1:17), while in angels there exists the possibility of sinning (e.g., Job 4:18; 15:15; Jude 1:6; Rev. 12:9).
The Bible presents man as “holy” in different respects. In many cases the holiness ascribed to men is simply ceremonial, formal. They are persons “separated”, “set apart”, or “dedicated to holy services” (e.g., 2 Chron. 34:2-3; Ezra 8:24, 28; Lk. 1:70). They were expected or required, however, along with this outward dedication, to lead holy lives, and to be inwardly dedicated, a requirement frequently lost sight of (e.g., Jer. 23:11; Zeph. 3:4; Matt. 27:20).
Holiness/sanctification can be positional or judicial. That is, it can be a state automatically entered into at the point of salvation, when a person accepts (trusts in) Jesus Christ as personal Savior, believing that Christ paid the complete penalty for all his/her sins when Jesus died on the cross (1 Cor. 1:2, 30; Col. 3:12; Heb. 3:1).
Holiness/sanctification can be experiential or progressive. That is, it can be realized or attained gradually when the believer/ Christian chooses as an act of his/her will to obey God moment by moment, decision by decision (2 Cor. 1:12; 7:1; Rom. 6:12-13, 18-19).
Unger’s Bible Dictionary, pp. 494, 495.
Rom. 6:19 What will presenting your members (the parts of your body) as slaves to righteousness (doing what’s biblically right) result in?
Are you becoming more holy (experientially sanctified) because you are obeying God and the Bible more and more, and why?
Are your hands, eyes, sex organs, ears, tongue/mouth, etc. set apart for (dedicated to) God?
If so, how?
1 Thes. 4:7 God didn’t call us (select for salvation or pick to become Christians) to be impure, but to live how?
If you are a Christian (have been “called” to salvation), have you been changing your lifestyle in order to be more like Christ, holy/ obedient to God (experientially sanctified), or have you continued living as always, in impurity/sin, and why?
Heb. 12:14 Besides pursuing peace with all men, what else were they told to pursue (or be)?
[In order to see the Lord, a person needs to be sanctified or holy. This is the positional/judicial holiness that a person automatically receives at salvation when he/she believes that Christ paid the complete penalty for all of his/her sins – Heb. 3:1; Col. 2:13-14; 3:12; 1 Cor. 1:2, 30; Rom. 6:22.].
Have you already pursued and acquired holiness (positional/judicial sanctification) by accepting/trusting in Christ as your Savior (1 Cor. 1:2, 30)?
If so, when?
Heb. 12:10 Why does God discipline us Christians?
Has God disciplined you lately?
If so, can you see how it was for your own good?
In what way(s) did it help you become more holy (morally pure and separated from sin)?
2 Cor. 7:1 Because of God’s promises to live inside of and fellowship with us Christians (2 Cor. 6:16-18), what are we told to do?
Are you perfecting holiness in your flesh/deeds/actions in the fear of (out of humble, honoring respect for) God by becoming more morally pure experientially by refraining from sexual immorality, drunkenness, gluttony, and illicit drugs?
And are you perfecting holiness in spirit/thought-life by becoming more morally pure in your experience by refraining from pornography, worldly music, worldly movies, worldly TV programs, and worldly reading materials?
1 Thes. 3:12-13 Because Paul wants the Lord Jesus to be able to establish these believers’ hearts/lives unblameable in holiness (dedication) before God the Father at the coming of Jesus, what does Paul want the Lord to cause these Christians to do?
Will the Lord Jesus be able to present you to God the Father as a Christian who was dedicated to Him as exhibited by your love(seeking the best interests) for all people, and why?
Lk. 1:68, 74-75 How were the Jews (Israel) to serve God?
As one of God’s people (Rom. 9:6-8; 2:28-29), are you serving God in this way, that is, in experiential holiness (i.e., devotedness to God and separated from sin)?
If so, specifically how?
Eph. 4:24 What has been created to be like God in righteousness and holiness of the truth?
Since becoming a Christian (a new self; a believer in Christ as Savior), has the truth of God and the gospel you’ve learned and believed in motivated you to do right and be dedicated to God, and why?
Psa. 99:3, 5 Why should we praise, exalt, and worship (acknowledge in word, deed, and/or attitude respect for and devotion to) the Lord our God?
Because God is absolutely perfect morally (i.e., holy), are you so in awe of Him that it moves you to be supremely devoted to and respectful toward Him by your words, actions/service, and attitudes?
If so, how?
Matt. 7:6 What does Jesus tell His disciples not to give to whom?
Do you give holy (sacred, set apart for God) things, like the gospel or other biblical truths to people (“dogs”) who are continually hateful, scornful, and vicious toward spiritual truths?
Why should we not throw our pearls (priceless jewels of teachings in Christianity) before filthy and contemptible people(“swine”)?
[See Acts 13:45-46; 18:5-6 for examples of this].
Mk. 6:20 How is John the Baptist described?
In what two ways was John a holy (separated from sin and devoted to God) man (see Lk. 1:13-17)?
Are you a holy person in these two ways, and why?
Rom. 12:1 How are we Christians to present (offer) our bodies to God?
Are you presenting your body (the totality of your life and activities) to God as a holy (set apart from sin and dedicated to God) sacrifice, and why?
If so, specifically how, each day?
1 Cor. 3:16-17 Who is the temple of God?
And why will God destroy (bring to ruin) the person who destroys (through false teaching – 1 Cor. 3:10) the temple of God (this group of Christians or the Church)?
[Because the Church (Christians) is holy (set apart for God), ministers who ruin Christians’ lives through false teaching will be ruined (destroyed) by God.].
Since Christians were intended by God to be holy (set apart for Him), are you living up to God’s intended purpose?
Why (2 Cor. 5:15; 1 Cor. 6:19-20)?
Eph. 1:4 What is the purpose of God’s choosing, from before the foundation of the world, those who are to become Christians?
If you’re a Christian (chosen one by God), are you fulfilling your purpose in life by being holy (separated entirely to God and to His service) and blameless (free from fault/sin) before God, and why?
Col. 1:21-23 Why did Jesus reconcile (restore to fellowship and friendship by removing sin’s barrier) these who had become Christians through His death (crucifixion)?
Will you be presented holy (cleansed from all sin and separated entirely to God), blameless (faultless), and beyond reproach(free from accusation and every charge) to God when Christ returns (1 Thes. 4:14-17), and why?
Since Jesus saved/reconciled people to be holy before God, are you living in such a way that reflects your being separated unto/for God?
If so, how?
Or, if not, why?
[The phrase in Col. 1:23, “if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast,…” – the word “if” has the meaning “since”. Faith’s genuine character is proved through perseverance, and not that a person can lose his/her salvation. (In Greek grammar, this is a first class conditional clause, meaning that it has a subordinate conjunction, Gk. “ei” in English is “if” and is in the indicative mood, which shows action that’s really taking place; so “if” has the meaning of “since”, while the Gk. word “ean” in English is “if” when used with the subjunctive mood would make it a hypothetical action, but it’s not used that way here – Essentials of New Testament Greek, pp. 106-109; Wuest’s Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Vol. 1, “Colossians”, pp. 189, 190.).].
Do you have the confident assurance of your salvation and destiny in heaven, and why?
Col. 3:12 What does Paul call these Colossian Christians who have been chosen (to be given salvation) by God?
Are you positionally/judicially holy (set apart for God and cleansed of all your sins)?
How do you know?
And are you pursuing experiential/active holiness (separation from sin and obedience to God instead) by putting on a heart(living a life) of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience?
If so, how?
Heb. 13:12 How did/does/might Jesus make people holy (positionally/judicially sanctified)?
Have you been made holy (positionally/judicially sanctified or morally pure/perfect) in this way?
If so, when?
Heb. 3:1 What are these people called, who are partakers of a heavenly calling (called by God to be saved or to become Christians)?
[The reason that they are called “holy brethren” is because they were called to salvation and, therefore, are cleansed of all their sins and made morally perfect positionally/judicially as well as set apart for God and His service.].
Are you positionally perfect (holy) in the eyes of God? How (Col. 2:13-14; Rom. 5:1, 9)?
1 Pet. 1:14-16 Whom should we Christians be like?
In what way?
Are you trying to (and should) be holy (morally pure and perfect experientially; separated from sin) like God in all your behavior, and why?
Does it matter to you that God commands you to be holy (experientially conformed to His will) in your behavior, and why?
How do you go about doing so?
1 Pet. 2:5 As living stones (i.e., Christians), we are being built up into a spiritual house for what purpose?
Have you ever thought of yourself as part of a holy (set apart for God’s service) priesthood because you are a Christian?
Do you offer up to God the spiritual sacrifices of praise/thanksgiving, doing good, and sharing (Heb. 13:15-16)?
How often, and why?
2 Pet. 3:10-12 Since God is going to destroy the heavens and the earth with fire, what kind of people should we Christians be?
Does knowing that this earth is going to be burned up soon (including your home, car, clothes, stereo, computer, etc.)motivate you to live a holy (morally pure in experience and devoted to God) life?
Why, and how?
Titus 1:5, 7-8 The character trait or quality of being devout (holy; performing one’s duty toward God) is to be one of the requirements for the person who holds what office or spiritual position?
Would you qualify as an elder (overseer) in this one area of being holy (devout; devoted to God)?
If so, how is it seen in the way you live?
Heb. 10:7-14 Through what, have believers been made holy once for all (positionally sanctified or declared morally pure – Gk. “hēgiasmenoi” means “have been sanctified” and is a present perfect participle, meaning a permanent and continuous state of salvation; it is action completed in the past with on-going results) – Heb. 10:10?
By what has Christ made perfect forever those who are being made holy (sanctified or morally pure) – Heb. 10:14?
Are you thankful for the fact that when Christ died on the cross and paid the penalty for all your sins, that you were declared holy or perfect in the eyes of God the moment you believed in Christ as your Savior?