Question for Evangelicals/protestants

So as not to be too esoteric, that’s from a Calvin and Hobbes.

I was just thinking in Spanish/Italian/Latin we have Santo/Sanctus and both mean holy/saint. The English language is definitely a funny one.

Quite a tangent I got there for simply saying, “Perhaps these are the reasons that you have observed this.” haha.

Nobody likes a showoff. :tsktsk:

dcana. Where did anyone say “there is no such thing as a saint and we shouldn’t strive for or call people ‘holy’”? Did you the the whole of this short thread, with more fleshed out answers?

Sorry for the delay. To answer your question, dronald did. Here are two of his quotes:

“I think Holy is left out because we believe that God is holy and don’t want that as an attribute to a living human being, as we’re not holy by definition. Although, some of our works could be considered holy I suppose?

“I think that godly is used because Christians want to emulate Christ as closely as possible. I think when someone says someone is godly they are speaking of the works of the person, and not the person themselves. Evangelicals are usually pretty afraid at offending God by making anything or anyone else out to be a ‘god’ in any way. It makes us all uncomfortable. So I think saying a person is ‘godly’ is saying that their works emulate that of Christ. Christ is God, therefore feeding the poor is a ‘godly’ thing to do.”

That is where someone said “there is no such thing as a saint and we shouldn’t strive for or call people ‘holy’”. Am I not correct in my assertion?

How can one be united with the All-Holy God in the Beatific Vision unless we ourselves become perfectly holy? Sin and God do not mix. That means that every vestige of sin and selfishness must be removed from us. For most of us, this happens in Purgatory, and it’s a painful thing to let go of these things, but that is precisely what Purgatory is for.

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

  • 1 Peter 1:15

To take an extract from his quote above:
“Evangelicals are usually pretty afraid at offending God by making anything or anyone else out to be a ‘god’ in any way. It makes us all uncomfortable.”

Calling someone “holy” is not making them out to be a “god”. That’s preposterous. The Scriptures:

  1. Command us to be holy
  2. Forbid idolatry

Therefore, to be holy is not to become a “god” - which, if it were possible (of course, it isn’t), would demand worship - it is to become “like God” who is holy. Otherwise, Scripture would contradict itself.

Is God Love? Yes, and we are called to be loving. Actually loving, not evil but “doing works of love”, as if such a thing were possible. Sure, one can do “works of love” (e.g. volunteer at a soup kitchen) but if you have not love, it counts as nothing. One must possess love and have the intention of doing the act by that very love for an act to truly be an “act of love”.

Is God good? Yes, and we are called to be good. To actually become good, not evil but “doing works of goodness”, which is not actually possible, as above.

Is God perfect? Yes, and He calls us to be perfect: “Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Was Jesus not perfect? Yes, of course. But what does that mean? Does it not mean that “He was like us in all things, but did not sin?” He always did the will of the Father. So, in His humanity, He was actually holy. Of course, in His Divinity, He is the All-Holy God.

Is God holy? Yes, and we are called to be holy. To actually become holy, not evil but “doing works of holiness”, [size=2]which is not actually possible, as above.

If one is evil, i.e. a sinner with the guilt of mortal sin remaining on his soul, but for whatever reason is doing “works of goodness”, and then dies in that state, to Hell he shall go, because he is wicked. Actually wicked, as opposed to actually holy.

The Holy Spirit is called the “Sanctifier” because He sanctifies us, that is, He makes us holy, makes us saints.

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints… [notice **to be[/size] saints, not “to do saintly works”]

  • Romans 1:7

I think this profoundly unbiblical thinking (unbiblical in my opinion) stems from Martin Luther’s idea of justification. How when we are justified, we are not actually justified, but remain a “pile of dung” with Christ’s righteousness imputed to us. Catholics believe that when we are justified, we become justified, not “declared to be so”, by the action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

God bless

The OP made an observation, and I too speculated why perhaps the OP has observed this.

I’m sorry, I’ve got to run. So you mean that when you said:

“I think Holy is left out because we believe that God is holy and don’t want that as an attribute to a living human being, as we’re not holy by definition. Although, some of our works could be considered holy I suppose?

“I think that godly is used because Christians want to emulate Christ as closely as possible. I think when someone says someone is godly they are speaking of the works of the person, and not the person themselves. Evangelicals are usually pretty afraid at offending God by making anything or anyone else out to be a ‘god’ in any way. It makes us all uncomfortable. So I think saying a person is ‘godly’ is saying that their works emulate that of Christ. Christ is God, therefore feeding the poor is a ‘godly’ thing to do.”

you don’t consider yourselves part of the “we”? “We” means “I and others”.

So, I’ll ask the simple question. Do you believe that people actually become holy, and therefore it’s perfectly appropriate and logical to call them holy, since they are holy, or not?

Be back in a bit.

Well no, I don’t consider myself Holy. I don’t know if I can make a judgement call in who else is Holy. I know that God is, and all who have been sanctified are; but it’s hard to say for sure if someone else ‘is’ Holy.

Do you consider yourself by definition “Holy”? I strive to be, but again I cannot say I am. I am a sinner and I am in desperate need of my God.

Dcana—I do think, for one, you are misunderstanding Dronald’s words. I agree with him that the vast majority of the time we are not yet holy through and through— purely, unadulteratedly holy, as God is holy-- though we are to strive to be perfected into His image. Rather than seeing this an influence specifically of Luther, I think it has, among Evangelicals, more to do with a reverence for how exalted God’s holy state is, compared to our mixed and muddled condition, where even our best moments often are composed of love and selfishness woven together.

Secondly, you definitely are over-estimating Luther’s influence. Did you read the rest of the thread? I am also, like another poster said he originally was, from a Methodist Holiness Movement church. The influence I grew up with was that we can be infused, to greater and lesser degrees, with God’s righteousness, and indeed are ultimately to grow to perfection (not a perfection of not making mistakes, but of growing into “meeting our end” or becoming “thoroughly made” as a creation/work/poema of God). Yet, I am still sparing of using the word “holy” of a person. I know what it means, and I’ll use it when I mean it.

Dcana, I’m not sure if your church ever sings the Reginald Heber hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy”, but it’s still used by Evangelicals. From one of the verses:

Holy, holy, holy, though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see.
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee
Perfect in power, in love and purity.

I consider everyone who is validly baptized “holy”, because of the Holy Spirit who dwells within them and makes them holy. Are not all who are “saved” at the point of death holy? Mustn’t they be to enter heaven, since “nothing unholy shall enter it?”

To the best of my knowledge, I am in a state of Sanctifying Grace, and therefore holy, right now (which, for me, is not all of the time, btw), though I am decidedly not very holy. God has given us the means to restore that gift to us in Holy Confession if we -]lose/-] discard that gift through the commission of serious sin. Hallelujah! Such mercy!

If we are unrighteous before baptism (and we are) - a “pile of dung”, if you will - what are we after baptism, after having been “justified by faith”, a “pile of dung” still, which is decidedly not holy at all? That makes no sense.

If you are not holy right now, what do you think would happen to you if you were to die right now? The Bible says that nothing “impure” (or “evil”, “unclean”, or “defiled” by various translations) shall enter into heaven. How do you expect to see God “unveiled”, “face-to-face”, “as He is” and to be perfectly united to Him in the Beatific Vision if you are unholy? You couldn’t be. It would be an impossibility. One is either dead in sin or “alive for God in Christ Jesus.” There is no middle ground; your soul is either dead (without Sanctifying Grace, the Holy Spirit, and the Life of God present within it) or “alive for God in Christ Jesus” (with Sanctifying Grace, the Holy Spirit, and the Life of God present within it). Sanctifying Grace is the gift of God’s very life to us that does what it says - it makes us holy and thereby able to see God. This life of God grows within us as we go from “glory to glory” through life if we accept this gift from God and do His will. So we grow in holiness as we more and more turn away from sin, by God’s grace. We are not perfectly holy (probably), because we still sin and have the stain of sin on our souls. But in heaven we will be perfectly holy. Again, that’s what God’s merciful gift of Purgatory is for.

Consider this:
[11] For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
[12] Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw –
[13] each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
[14] If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.
[15] **If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. **

  • 1 Cor 3

Then Paul says, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are.”

Here Paul says that we are God’s holy temple. Why would God be angry and “destroy us” if we were to “destroy” ourselves and we are nothing but a “pile of dung”? He wouldn’t. That’s silly. The problem is, that’s not true. We’re not a “pile of dung”, we’re “God’s holy temple”. And how do we “destroy God’s holy temple” anyway? Well, I guess you could say by taking our own life, but it seems to me that that would be an extremely narrow interpretation. We do it by committing any mortal sin, not just that particular one.

Paul also says, “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Do we offer up “piles of dung” to the Living, All-Holy God? Does the Holy Spirit take up residence in a “pile of dung” or does He transform that “pile of dung” into something holy by His Presence? I would submit that He does the latter. That’s what the Bible teaches. How very inappropriate and “unacceptable” to God to offer up “piles of dung”. No, Paul specifically says our very bodies must be holy. We offer something holy to the All-Holy God.

God bless

I honestly don’t see how. He seemed to be pretty clear to me:

“I think Holy is left out because we believe that God is holy and don’t want that as an attribute to a living human being, as we’re not holy by definition. Although, some of our works could be considered holy I suppose?”

See above.

See above. And this:

“Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Jesus doesn’t say, be “thoroughly made into a poem of God.”

He says to be perfect. Period.

You know, dcana, I’m kind of getting the feeling that you’re not terribly interested in really trying to hear what people are saying, but more into thumping people and going off into a lengthy post that wouldn’t be necessary if you actually heard what was being said.

Who besides you here has said anything about piles of dung?

Dcana, I didn’t say poem, I said poema. IIRC, etymology geek that I am, “perfect” does mean “thoroughly made” in English through Romance languages, and the Greek word for perfect in “Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect” has to do with teleosis—maturing into/growing into/meeting one’s end.

I’m not familiar with it. I certainly hope not. Well, it might be a nice song and all and express good sentiments. Songs are not theological treatises. But, in looking at what is actually says, I’d say it doesn’t get a good grade for its theology. Does God not share His divine Life with us? Is He not holy? Then so are we made holy. Pray tell, what else would sharing in the divine life mean? Nothing really?

Why does Paul often refer to his audiences as “saints” if “only God is holy”? A saint is, by definition, someone who is holy.

Where does it say we share in the divine Life? See below. Peter actually says we are “partakers of the divine nature”! Wow! That’s actually quite amazing if you think about it. What a generous giver is our God!

[2] Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
[3] According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
[4] Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

  • 2 Peter 1

God bless

Which is a more appropriate “partaker of the divine nature”

A “pile of dung”

or

“God’s holy temple, which [we] are”

?

The Bible says we are “God’s holy temple”. It does not say we are a “pile of dung”.

Yes, we are made partakers of the divine nature, and that is incredible! But we are not “beside” Him–at His level–so in comparison we are dust; and we are also partakers of the divine nature by His great mercy. We are both. We are not “Perfect in power, in love and purity”–next to Him, we are weak, frequently selfish creatures full of mixed and tangled motives. And we are also capable of reflecting His love and purity–both again. Sometimes, in talking about ourselves and our human race, we emphasize one quality over the other at a given time, but both are there in the background conversation among Evangelicals, if you’re listening to the whole conversation, Dcana, not just seizing upon a single sound bite and repeating it over and over, as if that’s all we’re saying.

Here’s the whole hymn:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity

Holy, holy, holy, all the saints adore Thee
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee
Which wert and art and evermore shall be

Holy, holy, holy, though the darkness hide Thee
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see
Only Thou art holy, there is none beside Thee
Perfect in power, in love and purity

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty
All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity

Again, who is thumping on about piles of dung here but you, dcana?

That’s right, just me.

The original questions was:

"Why do evangelicals describe people as “godly” instead of saying that they are ‘holy’ or ‘saintly’?

It seems to me that people are averse to saying ‘holy,’ and I really don’t get it."

dronald’s answer was:

"That’s an interesting question, thanks for asking it.

I think Holy is left out because we believe that God is holy and don’t want that as an attribute to a living human being, as we’re not holy by definition. Although, some of our works could be considered holy I suppose?

I think Saintly is left out because it’s just not a common phrase in English. I don’t know if there’s any Religious reason that Evangelicals don’t call people ‘saintly’. I think it’s just not a common term, so it’s not commonly used; that’s probably about it.

I think that godly is used because Christians want to emulate Christ as closely as possible. I think when someone says someone is godly they are speaking of the works of the person, and not the person themselves. Evangelicals are usually pretty afraid at offending God by making anything or anyone else out to be a ‘god’ in any way. It makes us all uncomfortable. So I think saying a person is ‘godly’ is saying that their works emulate that of Christ. Christ is God, therefore feeding the poor is a ‘godly’ thing to do.

This is sort of speculation on my part though based on my experience. Again I insist that Evangelicals are really careful not to make any person/thing out to be God or a god. We even worry that we may make a concept our god, like lust, power or pride.

Hope that helps a bit"

He explicitly denied that people can be holy.

So I wanted to investigate if people actually become holy, and if, therefore, we can call them “holy”. It seems like an important question. Then I asked him specifically:

“Do you believe that people actually become holy, and therefore it’s perfectly appropriate and logical to call them holy, since they are holy, or not?”

He replied:

"Well no, I don’t consider myself Holy. I don’t know if I can make a judgement call in who else is Holy. I know that God is, and all who have been sanctified are; but it’s hard to say for sure if someone else ‘is’ Holy.

Do you consider yourself by definition ‘Holy’? I strive to be, but again I cannot say I am. I am a sinner and I am in desperate need of my God."

He seems to have changed his mind, or rethought the question, which is good. To quote:

first he said:
“I think Holy is left out because we believe that God is holy and don’t want that as an attribute to a living human being, as we’re not holy by definition

then he said:
“I know that God is, and all who have been sanctified are

Wonderful! So we agree.

May I ask you the same question?

If so,

Do you believe that people actually become holy, and therefore it’s perfectly appropriate and logical to call them holy, since they are holy, or not?

Thank you

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