My goal at the beginning of this series, was to introduce you to GOD. I didn’t want you to receive a list of facts, I wanted you to get to know HIM! However, I fear that much of what I have done has become a list of facts. I decided that since I have never done anything like this before, a lot of these facts are necessary. During the week, I mull over them and the Scriptures that go along with them and I find that it is affecting my life.
I hope it is helpful to you. Because I haven’t had the time to digest the information as much as I would like before posting it, it isn’t in my words very well at all. That’s why I have tried to footnote heavily. Any one of the books I have recommended will be helpful to you for further reading, it just depends what you are looking for! If you have specific questions, I may be able to guide you toward one that will be helpful in the direction you are looking.
We are near the end of this trip…officially! Counting this week, we have 5 more weeks in the series. Then we will be continuing to put what we are learning into practice in our relationship with GOD!
We are now moving on to a topic that always seems to take my breath away. It’s partly out of fear and partly out of awe! He is so big, so great, so without any blemish or darkness morally. It is difficult to imagine what He would be like in that sense. It makes me want to step back and draw me breath in…and look down! Surely I wouldn’t be able to look Him in the eye…apart from my standing in Christ!
I know I’m not the first: GOD’s holiness! That is something we all associate with Him don’t we? If we are very Biblically literate, we think of Isaiah when He saw GOD seated on a throne in Isaiah 6:1-7.
Or perhaps we remember when the Ten Commandments were given. If we know much about that situation, we remember that the people had to all wash themselves and everything in the camp. Sacrifices were made. You might say they had to be clean inside and out!
And once GOD was on that mountain, anyone or any animal who even touched it was going to die! It was serious. It was not a quiet thing either. His voice was LOUD! The ground shook like an earthquake. The sound of His voice was likened to thunder! I don’t know about you, but I’m sure I would have been afraid. The more I read the account with my brain in gear, the scarier the scene sounds to me! I can’t imagine what it must have been like to have been there. cf. Exodus 19:9-20:21.
So what is GOD’s holiness? Grudem’s definition is: God’s holiness means that He is separated from sin and devoted to seeking His own honor. This has both a relational and moral element to it.
The relational side of GOD’s holiness is that GOD is separate from… This involves separateness from sin as well as a separateness from His creation. (Thus the photo. He is so far above me, I can’t begin to go there…both in His moral perfection and in His separateness from me as my Creator.) You might say He is in a category all His own…because He is!
The moral side of His holiness is that GOD is separate from sin/evil. His devotion is to seeking His honor/glory. This is in no way a conceited attitude. He is the only One worthy of seeking His own honor and glory! It sounds strange to say, but it is the truth! There is no evil in Him. He is the only One in the universe worthy of honor and glory by anyone…especially Him!
Examples of things that are holy are days that are set aside like Sabbath cf. Exodus 20:8-11. There isn’t anything intrinsically holy about the day itself, but it was a day set aside to be special for GOD in the ways He stated. He didn’t set it up for Israel so they would have another long list of rules, but rather it was for their good. They needed rest and worship. This day was for that.
Another example of holy was the Most Holy Place in the Tabernacle. cf. Exodus 26:31-34. It had a veil that separated it from the Holy Place where the priests routinely went to sacrifice. The Most Holy Place was where the High Priest went once a year to offer a sacrifice for all the people. No one else ever went to that “inner sanctum”. It was where the Ark of the Covenant was. GOD’s presence lived there among His people. Yet He was separate. He was not easily accessible to them on a daily basis as He is today in the person of the Holy Spirit in each believer.
GOD Himself is described as the Holy One of Israel cf. Psalm 71:22; Isaiah 6:3; Psalm 99:9. But today, as the people of GOD, anyone who is “in Christ” is in that group. Paul teaches about the gentiles being grafted into the branch of Israel. He is our GOD as well.
GOD’s people were/are supposed to imitate GOD’s holiness as well. cf. Leviticus 19:2; I Peter 1:14-16. Israel was to be a holy nation: set apart, separate from the people around. cf. Exodus 19:4-6. In the New Covenant, we are to strive for holiness and be separate from defilement of the world around us. cf. Hebrews 12:12-14; 12:10; II Corinthians 6:14-18.
Another passage that is worth looking at carefully that adds GOD’s majesty (greatness) to His holiness is Isaiah 40: 25-31. It is a corrective to our often small view of GOD. Try to make some time to read this passage and meditate on it. It will remind you once again that we can’t take just one of GOD’s attributes (holiness) and examine it alone because He is such a unity in terms of His attributes.
Yes, this passage reminds us of His holiness, but also of His greatness, of how much greater He is than we are…yet He does not reject those on whom He has put His love. If you are “in Christ”, He will not leave you or forget you. You are His. Not only will He not forget you, He has the power to keep you.
What is comforting to you as you think of the holiness of God?
Is there anything about this attribute that is fearful to you?