A Holy Man of God
by Donald Norbie
After a meeting in Korea, a woman said to me, ‘You are a holy man, a man of God’. I felt embarrassed, humbled, and speechless. Me? A holy man? A man of God? But should we not all be holy men and women, men and women of God? What does it mean to be holy, a man or woman of God?
When the tabernacle was completed there were ceremonies to consecrate it to the service of God, with all of its furniture and vessels. There was also a solemn service to consecrate the priests to their holy work. ‘And you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it; and you shall hallow it and all its utensils, and it shall be holy’, Ex. 40. 9.
The priests had been consecrated previously. ‘And this what you shall do to them to hallow them for ministering to Me as priests’, Ex. 29. 1. Aaron and his sons became holy men, set apart to serve God as priests. Who are the priests today, hallowed for ministry to God? Peter emphasizes that all believers are priests, ‘a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ’, 1 Pet. 2. 5. The priest was a priest twenty-four hours a day and was to live a holy life, a pure life for God. Hence, Peter exhorts all Christians, ‘But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy”’, 1 Pet. 1. 15-16. Remember the dignity of your calling as a priest, and live a holy life!
What is a man of God? He was a man who had spent much time with God. To be a man or woman of God one must invest time alone with God and His word. He must become His friend, like Abraham, Jas. 2. 23. As he spends time in the presence of God he will be overwhelmed with the majesty and holiness of God; he will be moved to repentance and holiness. ‘I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up’, Isa. 6. 1. The holiness and purity of the Almighty caused him to cry out, ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips’, v. 5. The man of God will never forget the awesome holiness of God and his own innate sinfulness. This will cause him to walk humbly before God.
The man of God will be aware of the fact that he is owned by God. He is God’s property, God’s slave. This will keep him from the fear of man. Paul could write to the Galatians, ‘For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bond-servant (doulos, ‘slave’) of Christ’, Gal. 1. 10. This will enable one to be fearless in proclaiming God’s word whether to an individual or to a crowd. Elijah could confront the wicked King Ahab with God’s ultimatum. John the Baptist pointed the finger of condemnation at King Herod for his adultery. They were men of God, fearless and uncompromising. Such men and women are needed today!
So, are you a holy man, a holy woman? Are we men and women of God? Do we recognize His claims upon our lives as slaves of God? Are we motivated to please Him primarily? Do we pursue holiness and abhor evil? This is the good life, the triumphant life!