Saturday, February 2, 2008

Made Holy is Made Wonderful

Know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly. (Psalm 4:3)
“Holy” is a word that people use religiously, but often without any clear idea of what it means. But its meaning is very simple: To be holy is to be set apart for God’s own special purposes.

Psalm 4:3 gives us an important truth we need to know and understand: The Lord has set apart the godly for Himself. He has made them holy; He has a special purpose and design — a destiny — for them. The Hebrew word literally means “distinguished” or “made distinct.” In contexts such as this, it means to “show as marvelous,” and to “make wonderful.” Keil and Delitzsch, in their Commentary on the Old Testament, note that “what is meant is not the mere selection, but the remarkable selection to a remarkable position of honor.”

Who are these whom God makes wonderful and reveals as marvelous? They are the godly ones. In Hebrew, they are the hasid, the righteous ones who honor the Lord and live in awe of Him. They have received the hesed (steadfast love and mercy of the Lord) and extend it to others.

“Know that the LORD has set apart for Himself.” It always, always, always begins with God. He takes the initiative; our part is simply to respond to His work. We do not make ourselves holy. We could never make ourselves holy — it is impossible. But He shows us His mercy, we respond in faith, and He sets us apart for Himself — makes us wonderful and shows us as marvelous.

Holiness is not burdensome — it is bliss. To be made holy is to be made wonderful.