Holiness in the Bible
Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
Gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 48
Try to have peace with everyone and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.
Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 14
Isn’t it true that “holiness” is often called what they are not going to do? “He’s a saint, I can’t do that” – that’s a win-win alibi! “I’m not a saint” is the best way to cover up your sins.
If the “sanctity” of everyday speech and thought is “not about us,” then about whom then? There are several options.
1) The occult point of view: there are supernatural beings, all in light and gold – “saints”, and their function is, of course, magical help. Or even worse: there are holy objects and substances that, of course, heal something.
2) Moralistic variant: “saint” – an amazing “morally perfect” individual, frightening with his perfection. From birth, he did not take his mother’s breast on Wednesday and Friday, from childhood he did not like noisy games … The reader clearly understands: this is not about him.
3) Approach of idolaters: “holy”, “this is holy to us”. A dangerous thing – because where the idols are, there is blood: what to do with the shrine, except to kill for it?
Holiness is God
Any perversion is a perversion of the norm; sick only what was healthy. Likewise, any false understanding is only a perversion of the true understanding.
Of course, the holy is different, distant, healing, perfect and good, which should be worshiped: the holy is God. He is the only true Saint, in Hebrew – “kadosh”, that is, another, separate, non-worldly. Holy is that which is consecrated to God.
To be with God means to be holy, that is, the way a person is conceived by God. To be holy means to be in general (to belong to Being, that is, to God), to enter eternal life, to be perfect, whole, healthy.
Sin is separation from God, not living with Him is Life. Ultimately, sin is death, the abomination of desolation, hell. God does not want death, so the history of the world is the history of salvation, the reunification of the whole world with God. To be saved means to be with Him, to become a god by grace.
We are saints
“Be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect” – this commandment of Christ is suspiciously rarely remembered. Man is conceived by the Creator as a saint. In this sense, we are all potentially holy: Israel is holy because it is consecrated to God, the Church is holy because it is God’s: Christians used to call themselves saints at one time “simply” by belonging to the Body of Christ. If we do not become saints, then we will finally fall away from God, the source of life, and “die in hell.”
Therefore, as Leon Blois says, “there is only one grief – not to be a saint”: not to be with God is eternal death. But the Good News (i.e. Joyful, Cheerful, Hopeful) lies in the fact that there is salvation.
Saints among us
On the path to holiness, the canonized saints of the Church serve as an example for us. In communion with God and with each other, they form the Triumphant Church, into which the whole world must turn after the second Coming.
Lisa from the animated series “The Simpsons” in one of the episodes says: “I do not deny the existence of angels, but I do not believe that one of them can appear in our garage.” This is the slogan of a real agnostic (and it seems that there are no more good old atheists): whether there is a God or not is not important, but this is not about me, not about life. This is the essence of unbelief. But the saints are “angels in our garage”: real people, with sins, problems, addictions, just like us, but who fulfilled the commandment of perfection.
Etymology of the word “saint”
The word saint is based on the Proto-Slavic element *svet- (=*svent-), which is related to the designations of the same concept in the Baltic (cf. Lit. šventas), Iranian (cf. Avest. spenta-) and a number of other languages. Ultimately, this element in the examples cited and others like them forms a link that connects the current Russian word saint with the Indo-European stem *k’uen–to-, denoting growth, swelling, swelling, that is, an increase in volume or other physical characteristics.
“Space and time, holy (sanctified) at their most important points and “material” knots, as if with a hoop fasten the holy, or God’s, world, often correlated with the holy (God’s) beauty, and the holy people inhabiting it (again with a reference to idea of birth), leading a holy life. In this holy world, the destiny and ideal of a person is to be a saint (a holy person; compare names like Svyatoslav, Svyatopolk, Svyatomir, etc.). All forms of realization of human activity are, in theory, oriented towards holiness — one’s own (potentially) or coming from above. Hence the holy word, holy deed, holy thought. And what a person is reputed to have among others, what remains after him, in his highest manifestations turns out to be holy (holy glory, holy name). Holy is the highest purpose of a person, his life path, his ideal (holy path, holy faith, holy truth, holy truth, holy life, holy God).
The sacredness (or even hypersacrality) of the ancient Russian tradition is manifested primarily in the fact that 1) everything must be sacralized in principle, wrested from the power of the evil inclination and – it is impossible to reconcile with less – returned to its original state of integrity, untouchedness, purity; 2) there is a single and universal goal (“super goal”), the most cherished desire and the most secret dream – hope – the holy kingdom (holiness, holy life) on earth and for man; 3) strong and actual is the hope that this holy state can be as close as possible in space and time to the here and now (the liturgy is already an image of this state; hence the desire to extend the liturgical time, on the one hand, and the inattention to the profane, on the other hand). – Toporov “Holiness and saints in Russian culture”