Attributes Of God 2
Attributes Of God: Holiness
Text: Exodus 3:1-6
Thesis: To show that God’s holiness is well described in the Bible, and we must seek to also be holy if we want fellowship with Him.
1. If you wish to consult with your surgeon, you’re going to have to wait until he’s finished oper-
ating on his current patient. If you try to enter the OR to speak with him, you’ll be treated
roughly. You can’t go in there unless you’re sterile. Otherwise, you’ll contaminate the field
in which the surgery is taking place.
2. Entering into God’s presence is somewhat like entering an OR without first scrubbing and
putting on sterile garments and a mask. Our sins would contaminate God’s presence, and
that’s just not going to happen!
3. So, if one of God’s attributes is holiness, do we have any hope of ever being with Him?
I. God’s Holiness Is A Well-Documented Attribute
A. General thoughts about the holiness of God:
1. The word “holy” is a religious word. Ask virtually anyone, and they’ll say the word is best applied to God. It’s found 591 times in the NKJV, and “holiness” is found another 36 times. Not all those occurrences relate to God, but most of them do. The place where God symbolically dwelt in Israel was called “the Holy of Holies”. “Holy” is a word that well applies to God.
2. Isa. 6:3 - When Isaiah saw the glory of God in heaven, he noted that heavenly beings constantly proclaimed the holiness of God.
3. Rev. 4:8 - It was still that way when John was allowed to peer inside heaven. He noted that the living creatures “do not rest day or night, saying: Holy, holy, holy”.
B. Episodes which illustrate the holiness of God:
1. Ex. 3:5 - When Moses turned aside to see the burning bush, he was told to remove his sandals, for the ground on which he stood was holy ground. God’s presence set that ground apart from all the rest; it was special because of God.
2. Ex. 19:10-12 - When God was about to speak to Israel, he warned Moses to prepare the people. They should wash their garments be sanctified. No one was to touch the mountain upon which the Lord would appear. It was holy, and the occasion was special because of the visit of the Lord.
3. The death of Uzzah:
a. 2 Sam. 6:6,7 - The ark of the covenant had been in the possession of the Philistines. Now David wanted to bring it back home. But as they transport the ark on a wagon, it begins to topple, and Uzzah reached out to steady it. He was struck dead by God. (A parallel account in 1 Chron. 13: 10 says God did this “because he put his hand to the ark.”) What did Uzzah do wrong?
b. Num. 4:15,20 - God had instructed Israel on how to transport the holy items of the tabernacle. No one was to touch the holy things; that’s why the rings and poles were supplied - to carry them without touching them. Those who carried them were not even allowed to watch them being covered!
c. Lev. 21:6-8 - In all things, the priests were to be holy because the God they served is holy. They must be careful not to become defiled if they wanted to serve God.
C. God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness:
1. God transcends all of human experience. There is a great gulf between humans and God. Our sins pose a serious problem if we ever hope to approach God.
2. Isa. 59:1,2 - Why does God sometimes not respond to people? Because their sins have contaminated the field. Our sins separates us from God because His holiness will not allow contact with that which is defiled.
3. Hab. 1:12,13 - Habakkuk well expressed the problem: God is of purer eyes than to behold evil. We are glad we don’t serve an evil God. But if we are sinful, how can we ever have contact with Him?
D. Jonathan Edwards: “A true love to God must begin with a delight in his holiness, and not with a delight in any other attribute; for no other attribute is truly lovely without this.” in A Treatise Concerning Religious Affections: Works (Vol. V)
II. God’s Solution For Our Problem With Sin
A. God is a gracious God, and He provides for our needs. He has also provided for our problem of sin, and there is a way we can come into His presence. But we’ll have to do it His way, or else remain forever separated by our sins!
B. Sanctification - our path to the holy God:
1. 1 Thes. 4:3 - Why is it God’s will that we be “sanctified”? And what is “sanctification”? It’s the process of becoming separated for God’s use, keeping ourselves set apart from the world. It’s what leads us to become saints (from the same root as “holy”).
2. 2 Cor. 6:14-18 - Paul makes it clear that we must separate from the world, else we cannot have fellowship with God. It’s a lifelong process.
3. Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary General of the UN in the mid and late 1950's: “You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn't reserve a plot for weeds.” Seeking to be sanctified means that we try to rid our lives of every trace of sin.
4. Jn. 17:17 - Jesus gave us the means to be sanctified - God’s word. Are we willing to submit to its teaching and guidance? But why even try?
5. Heb. 12:14 - Without holiness, no one shall see God.
6. Mat. 5:8 - Those who are holy - pure in heart - shall see God.
C. Hab. 2:20 - God is in His holy temple. He will not leave that state of holiness; it is His very nature. The only way we’ll see God is to ourselves become holy.
1. Eugene H. Peterson: “It is not difficult in our world to get a person interested in the message of the Gospel; it is terrifically difficult to sustain the interest. Millions of people in our culture make decisions for Christ, but there is a dreadful attrition rate. Many claim to have been born again, but the evidence for mature Christian discipleship is slim. In our kind of culture anything, even news about God, can be sold if it is packaged freshly; but when it loses its novelty, it goes on the garbage heap. There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness.” (A Long Obedience In the Same Direction)
2. If you want to know God, you must know that He is holy. He is not a person, and He will not
overlook deliberate sin. Our only hope of being with Him is to come to Him through His Son,
1 Jesus Christ.