Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy. (Ex. 19:23)

“My God, my God, why have you mistaken me?”

According to my student, that’s what Jesus said from the cross. In reality, of course, it was the student who was mistaken (and not for the first time)! As I thought about it, though, I wondered if he might not have unintentionally spoken for many Christians who are convinced that God has mistaken them . . . mistaken them for someone who can be holy.

Their reasoning is simple: “God is holy, but I’m not God.” What they’re missing is his desire to share his holiness with his people. It’s true that his greatness will never be ours; powers like omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence are reserved for him alone. But he has chosen to share his goodness with us through his moral qualities of holiness and love.

In the Bible, holiness suggests being set apart. Mount Sinai was holy ground because God set it apart as a place to meet with Moses on behalf of his people. In the same way, the Bible speaks of worship spaces like the temple, worship furnishings like the altar, and worship times like the Sabbath as being holy. Israel was to be a holy nation, and the territory reserved for them was called the Holy Land.

Is it so surprising, then, that the Holy Spirit can set us apart for his use as well?

Surrender yourself so that God can set you apart.

Bob Black is professor emeritus of religion at Southern Wesleyan University, where he served for thirty-two years. Along with Keith Drury, he co-authored the denominational history, The Story of The Wesleyan Church.

© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.

Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.