The Canon of Holiness

Our words "holy" and "holiness" come from the Hebrew (qadosh and qodesh) from the Greek (hagios, hagiosyne) and the Latin (sanctitas, sacer, sanctus). Essentially holy means what is divine and pertains to God. It is His most intimate essence in which He radically transcends all that is created; totally Other. Holiness extends to whatever is in relationship with the divine; it includes the idea of separation and opposition to what is profane and common; it expresses the idea of belonging to or being possessed by God.

Lev 11:44
For I, the LORD, am your God; and you shall make and keep yourselves holy, because I am holy. ... Since I, the LORD, brought you up from the land of Egypt that I might be your God, you shall be holy, because I am holy.
Lev 19:2
Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.
Hosea 11:9
For I am God and not man, the Holy One present among you.
1 Peter 1:15
As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, "Be holy because I (am) holy."
Heb 12:14
Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
1 Thes 4:3
This is the will of God, your holiness ...
Matt 5:48
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

As Paul writes, in each individual, sanctification takes place through faith and baptism.

Rom 15:16
... to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in performing the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the holy Spirit.
1 Cor 6:11
That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Paul continues ... sanctification through faith and baptism makes one belong to God.

Rom 6:19,22
I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature. For just as you presented the parts of your bodies as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness for lawlessness, so now present them as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. ... But now that you have been freed from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit that you have leads to sanctification, and its end is eternal life.

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By Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl.
Catholic Biblical Apologetics, © Copyright 1985-2004, Paul Flanagan and Robert Schihl

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture texts are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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Last Updated: September 16, 2004