Thursday, October 30, 2008

Holy Means Whole: According to Hitting the Target

In sports, as in hunting for food, it is important to hit the target. Nearly everyone of us has heard "ready, aim, fire!" in a movie or in real life. One thing that is very important to add is "at the target." We need to know what the target is.

When God speaks to us from His word, the target is not so much the words as the reality behind those words. I like to simplify it this way. It is not me, but God that is the target in my vision of reality. I want to know that He says it, not that I say it. In reverse, He and His word hopefully are the source, in contrast to me being the source, for the views I am sharing concerning holy.

My concern is not the word holy by itself. My concern goes beyond that. It goes to what is the target of this word, that God has spoken to us. What is the thing God is trying to express to us about Himself?

When God spoke skillfully to us using words, what is it that He is aiming at? And specifically, when God used the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek words for holy, what is His target or reality? This is my paramount question. I want to know the reality, or my use of the word may point to something quite irrelevant to what God intended.

One position out there is that holy means separate. There is no question in my mind that Scripture clearly points out the ways in which God is separate from us. My question is whether the use of the word holy was meant to communicate that reality to us. I lean toward Andrew Murray's explanation that there are other words that clearly make that distinction. God's separateness is part of my vision of His reality.

The danger in the case of making a mistake about the meaning of holy is that we are talking about a thing that is a very high priority. "Holy, holy, holy" clearly points in that direction. While separation may be clearly taught in Scripture, it may not be taught as our highest priority for character. This has big implications that I cannot go into here.

My focus instead is on defining this word, so that the reality that God targetted is now the reality that we target. If I understand the vision of many churches, I do not see a focus on being whole, except in the loose sense of being healthy. This is no small matter, if God sees holy as meaning whole.

So I want to suggest focused attention in determining our target. Otherwise, we may be guilty of a lot of "ready, aim, fire!" instructions without hitting the right target. This could have disasterous conquences that are hard to fathom, because irrelevance is no small mistake when we are talking the highest priority for our character and God's attributes. May God bless your day!

In Christ,

Pastor Jon