“The last thing, brothers, is that whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is upright, whatever is holy, whatever is lovely, whatever is praiseworthy, if there is virtue and if there is praise, think on these things.”
The word aJgno/ß (hagnos) belongs to a word group that derives from the root word, a¢gioß (hagios), a word that we typically translate as “holy.” These refer to things that have been set apart for divine use and preserved from blemish or being defiled by worldly things. God is the example of holiness par excellence, but he also calls his people holy (Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2; 26:19; Ephesians 1:4) because he has set us apart for his own purposes and he calls us to strive toward holiness in lifestyle (Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15-16).
Like the vessels used in the temple worship, everything they did was dedicated to needs of the Temple and could be used in no other context, we are described in the same way. Thus, all we do, we do in the name of Christ for the glory of God (Colossians 3:17) and all that is not done in faith is sin (Romans 14:23). If we live, we are to live to Christ; if we die, we die to the glory of Christ — everything for the believer revolves around Christ (Philippians 1:21).
Does that mean that Christians are only able to pursue sacred professions? Yes! But every profession that is given by God to man is a sacred profession when done to the glory of Christ. So, whether you are a farmer, a lawyer, a mechanic, a carpenter, a secretary, a banker, an engineer, a pilot, a soldier, or a minister…or any other moral profession…you are called and gifted by God for that task so that you may do that task to His glory.
So we are holy because of God calling us to his Son, Jesus. Yet, as we are fallen and yet imperfect, we must strive towards a life that reflects our holy calling. This, Paul says, we should set our minds upon that we might live it out. The question we must all be asking ourselves is what patterns of behavior, what habits, what practices, and what things in our lives take away from the holiness to which God has called us? It is my suggestion that the deeper and more honestly you look, the more you will find. Such is indeed my own experience.