Today’s Reading: Exodus 29:1-30:10 (additional reading Psalm 31:19-24 and Proverbs 8:14-26)

Key Verse: “Sacrifice a bull each day as a sin offering to make atonement. Purify the altar by making atonement for it, and anoint it to consecrate it.” Exodus 29:36

There is much confusion in the church today in regards to Holiness. For some holiness in the church means that men do not wear shorts, have long hair, or wear jewellery. Likewise, for women some think it means not wearing trousers, makeup, jewellery, having short or coloured hair, pigtails, hair ribbons, or red dresses and so on. Other believe that holiness at home involves not watching TV, going to the movies, dancing, playing pool, and a whole long list of other no-no’s. Holiness would also included a lot of do’s, like do daily read your Bible, do pray, do pay your tithes, do go to church every time the doors are open, and on and on. To sum it all up, holiness for many is a long list of do’s and don’ts.

I’m sure that your definition of holiness doesn’t include all of the same things as above, but your definition of holiness may consist of a list of things you must do and a list of things you cannot do. 

Today in Exodus 29:36 we read “Purify the altar by making atonement for it; make it holy by anointing it with oil.”

The first of the two lines says, “Purify the altar by making atonement for it.” Now, atonement was made through a blood sacrifice. And the purpose of atonement was a covering for sin. After this is done, the altar is pure. But God’s next instruction for the altar is “Make it holy by anointing it with oil.” Even when it was atoned for by the blood, the altar still needed to be “made holy.”

Holiness fundamentally means “separated” or “set-apart.” In this specific case, God was talking about the altar. By anointing the altar with oil, they were signifying that this altar was not just an ordinary altar. This altar wasn’t for just any old purpose. This altar existed for a specific purpose and that purpose was to make offerings to God. No other use for this altar was permissible, because this altar had been set apart for this purpose.

Look what Peter tells us 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light;” (NKJ)

Holiness means much more the just do and don’t. We cannot now make ourselves holy be doing enough, rather God has made us his holy people because he has called us out and set us apart. Consequently, our lives, desires and actions are changed as a result of God’s calling and not the other way round.


  • Have you been trying to make yourself holy enough?
  • Do you define living for God as a list of do’s and don’t?
  • What does it mean for you to be set apart for God?


Father, Thank You for saving us and setting us apart for holiness. Thank You for empowering us to live a life which honours You. Help us not to take this calling for granted but to treasure our calling as Your holy nation. In Jesus’ name, Amen


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