The Holiness of God
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If you want to know or learn more about God, one of the most important things you need to learn about Him is that He is Holy. His holiness is probably one of the most prominent attribute that is talked about in scripture. The word “holy” is mentioned over 600 times in the Bible. He is called holy in the Bible a general sense. The word is used as at times as a synonym for his deity and His glory. That is, the word holy calls attention to all that God is. Some say that holiness is THE attribute of God.
“For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, "I dwell on a high and holy place.”
God's name is Holy. I believe the idea is that everything about Him is Holy. This means His justice is holy. His love is holy. His mercy and grace is holy. His hatred and wrath is holy. Everything about Him is holy.
Also, the Holiness of God is the only attribute of God that is raised to the third degree in scripture. “The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, or wrath, wrath, wrath, or justice, justice, justice. It does say that He is holy, holy, holy, the whole earth is full of His glory.” This is done in two place in scripture, in and in .
And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME."
The beings that are closest to the very presence of God cannot stop proclaiming the absolute holiness of God.
So this all begs the question:
What is Holy?
First, it means that God is distinct; separate.
The primary meaning of the Hebrew word for holy is ‘separate.’ It comes from an ancient word that meant, ‘to cut,’ or ‘to separate.’ Perhaps even more accurate would be the phrase ‘a cut above something.’ When we find a garment or another piece of merchandise that is outstanding, that has a superior excellence, we use the expression that it is ‘a cut above the rest.’ That is what God is, but more so. As R. C. Sproul put it, "He is an infinite cut above everything else" (The Holiness of God, 55). This is what is meant when people refer to God as being transcendent. He is beyond ordinary limits; He surpasses and exceeds everything we know and are accustomed to. He has no rivals or competition. He is not ordinary. He is not normal or casual. If someone came up to you and asked you, what is God like, there is nothing you can point to on this earth to say, "He is like this, or like that." He is so far above and beyond us that He seems almost totally foreign to us. Saying that He is so far beyond what we could even imagine would still be underestimating His holiness. It is pretty much impossible for mortal men like us to adequately describe it.
“There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides Thee, Nor is there any rock like our God"
Unfortunately, men like to bring God down to our level. When people say that God is their buddy or homeboy, or the man upstairs, they are talking about God as though He is one of us; like He is common or ordinary. Whenever we think of God's attributes, it may be easy for us to think God's anger and love is like ours. But it is not. All of His attributes are a cut above ours. He is not like us. If we make Him like us we are making an idol.
Secondly, To be holy is to be morally pure.
The term that a lot of people use to define what it means to be Holy is "purity." The words 'holy' and 'pure' are not synonyms, but the idea of moral purity is included in the definition of being holy. The idea of purity is used in referring to metal that has no other material in it. This is also the case when we refer to morality. God is morally pure in that there is not any hint of the unholy in Him. There is nothing common about Him. There is no sin in God. HE IS PERFECT!!!! Can you understand that? HE IS PERFECT!
"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (). Not even a hint of it.
Third aspect of what it means to be Holy: God is not neutral towards sin.
Holiness means that God is not neutral towards the unholy. This is why it is so idolatrous to look at God like a Old Grandfather type of figure that overlooks our faults and spoils us and will let everyone into heaven. If this is how God is then He would not be holy. To believe such a thing about God would be compromising His holiness. Because God is Holy, He is not neutral towards sin. He hates it and those who are living in it. We saw this clearly in the sermon I preached on the wrath and hatred of God. His wrath and hatred towards sin is present because He is Holy.
Nadab and Abihu -
These two sons of Aaron failed to offer to God the kind of fire He desired, and God consumed them with fire. They lost their lives because they failed to regard God as Holy. "Then Moses said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD has said, 'Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.'" These were priests, those who had the privilege of serving in the tabernacle. If anyone knew better, it was them. If we want to be near to God, as we should, we must regard God as Holy and live like it!
Uzzah and the Holiness of God –
David was transporting the ark of the covenant into the city of Jerusalem, but there was a problem with how he was doing it. The law prescribed that a certain group of Levites carry the ark, but David and the people disregarded this and put it on an ox cart. The oxen end up stumbling, and thinking the ark may fall off the cart, Uzzah put out his hand to stabilize the ark, and God struck him dead for it. Even though his motive was probably very sincere in not wanting the ark to fall of the cart and hit the ground, he made an error in thinking that his hand was more holy than the ground it would have crashed onto. No one was to touch the ark. Even the priests did not touch it. They carried it with poles that were put through rings on the ark.
The Ungodly ()
God will punish all those who live in sin and are unwilling to follow Christ.
IF WE DESIRE TO BE IN FELLOWSHIP WITH THIS HOLY GOD, WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND HIS HOLINESS AND HOW IT SHOULD AFFECT EVERY PART OF OUR LIVES. OUR PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL LIVES DEPEND ON IT! God is not someone that we should take lightly in our thoughts, words, or actions.
The scariest verse about holiness: (Especially for those who do not know the Lord)
"Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."
NO ONE WILL SEE THE LORD UNLESS THEY ARE HOLY!!!! God's holiness is the standard that we are to aim for and pursue. Jesus says to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Peter says to be Holy as God is Holy.
The first thought that comes to our minds is: "this is not possible." It may be true that we will not be perfect in every way like God in this life; holy as He is holy. We have a terrible obstacle that gets in the way: our sin.
Sin makes us common; profane; unclean. Sin is repulsive to a holy God. We deserve the same fate as Nadab and Abihu, Uzzah, and many others because of our unholy conduct against God. We deserve to be killed every time we sin and to be thrown into the lake of fire. NO ONE is “holy” enough on their own to get to heaven!
But thank the Lord that He not only has Holy anger, but Holy love. He from before the foundation of time chose a people that He wanted to make His own Holy and blameless people that He could have fellowship with. He also chose how He would make these people holy:
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard
Christ died for the purpose of us being holy before God in this life and to be presented to Him at the end of this life in the same way.
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
The words holy and sanctify are used interchangeably in this text. They mean pretty much the same thing. Jesus made it possible that we could be separated from the world and be His own people
And how can we become holy and cleansed. This passage says that it is by the washing of water by the word. This is clearly a reference to baptism and the pure word of God that we must have faith in and obey.
Responding to the Holiness of God
We need to respond to His holiness the way men in scripture did when they saw a vision of God in His glory.
Isaiah () - We must be humble before God and honest about our condition. This is what happened to Isaiah. When he saw God in this vision, he proclaimed a curse on himself because of His sin. When we stand before the glory and holiness of God, everything about us and our condition is laid bare. Every imperfection is seen. If you and I saw a vision of God like these men did, we all would respond in the same way. We need to by faith see what these men saw and be changed just as they were. We must see our sin as we compare ourselves to Him and to Christ in scripture. We must be open and willing to seeing our sin as we spend time in the Bible.
And along with seeing our sin comes repenting of those things and growing in holiness.
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
How do we perfect holiness?
· Walk in the light
o "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
o Read the word of God and obey it
§ Serve (Here am I, send me). When we understand the Holiness of God, we will see the need to work. We will push ourselves to make sure people are ready to meet this Holy God in judgment.
§ confessing and repenting of sin brings cleansing
We must remember that our God is Holy. He calls us to a high standard that we must desire and be pressing towards. We as God’s people need to be reflecting the holiness of God in our lives by growing in our purity, in showing that we are different from this world and belong to God, and by obeying the word of God so we can in our lives bring glory to Him.
Let the holiness of God radically change your life