2 – God IS Holy

While it is essential to believe there is one supreme God, it is only the beginning. This awakening to God should lead us to ask; “What is this God like?” While there is more than one source of information to answer this, we look first and foremost to the most authoritative source for answers, which is God’s own written revelation of Himself – the Bible.

Yes, it’s true, the heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). We learn much of God by observing His creative genius throughout the world and the universe. Creation provides us with a great sense of His creative intelligence, and His infinite power, but these tell us little of specific character qualities that’s true of God.

Although weaker, human testimony of God is valid and it adds more information to our understanding of God’s nature. But the greatest human testimony comes from God’s own Son, Jesus Christ. John 5:36 records Jesus, “the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.” And again, in John 5:43, “I have come in my Father’s name.” Jesus’ testimony surpasses all other human testimonies because He alone has “come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38).

Jesus alone could say, “I speak of what I have seen with my Father” (John 8:38). “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Luke 10:22). Therefore, we turn to God’s witness of Himself, and we look to the testimony of God’s Son as PRIMARY. We look for evidence of God’s nature through these two primary sources to expose us to specific details of God’s character.

From Genesis to Revelation, Scripture boldly proclaims that  God is HOLY. When Old Testament Scripture uses the word  “holy” it uses the Hebrew word (h6944, קֹדֶשׁ qôḏeš) which means “separation, or apart from.” God’s holiness means that by His intrinsic nature He is separated from all of His creation, He is set apart from everything He has made. No being in creation is the same as God, or even like God. Even mankind, who “God created… in his own image… male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27), are NOT the same as God. Although humans are the only created beings imprinted with the image of God, God is still set apart from, and different from them.

While all created beings have the capacity to disobey God and sin, God does NOT have that capacity. Therefore, God is set apart in sinless alignment with His own purity and beauty. Holiness distinguishes God from everything and everyone, including heavenly beings. Holiness is far more than just a facet of God’s character. Holiness defines and permeates every facet of His character and activity.

All other beings may, or may not, have been gifted with lesser degrees of holiness, but NOT so with God. No-one gave holiness to God, and no-one contributes or enriches God’s holiness. God, in and of Himself, is intrinsically pure and without even the possibility of being anything other than holy. God lacks the capacity for even the slightest degree of unholiness. He is simply NOT capable of anything less than ultimate perfection and purity which sets Him apart from all else.

The sanctuary of God’s throne room in heaven resounds with the all-consuming theme of God’s matchless holiness. “Around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures (Revelation 4:6), each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Revelation 4:8). These mighty creatures are not calling out about God’s love, or any other quality, but ONLY His holiness.

Holiness shapes and directs every divine attribute and action of the Almighty. Holiness is, therefore, the foundation and the summation of all that is God. Holiness encapsulates every facet of His nature and indelibly imprints itself into everything that is God. It is impossible to be exposed to any part of God without being exposed to His absolute holiness.

Habakkuk 1:13 exclaims, “you who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong…” All forms of sin, and all  degrees of sin are repugnant to God, causing Him to look away. Sin is humanity’s violation of God’s holy image and is therefore infinitely offensive to the Lord.

Steven J. Lawson rightly observes the following in his book “Show Me Your Glory: Understanding the Majestic Splendour of God” (Kindle Locations 1113-1116).
God’s name is “holy” (Ps. 145:21). Jesus addressed God as “Holy Father” (John 17:11). Likewise, Jesus Christ Himself is as equally holy as the Father. He was born the “holy Child” (Luke 1:35) and recognized by the demons as “the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24). Peter likewise called Him “the Holy One of God” (John 6: 69). In turn, Jesus called the Spirit of God “the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). In the Bible, the Spirit is called the “Holy Spirit” nearly one hundred times.

Moreover, the angels are described as His “holy ones” (Deut. 33:2). The Word of God is contained in the “holy Scriptures” (Rom. 1:2). The people of God are called “holy people” (Deut. 7:6). The temple in Jerusalem is the “holy temple” (Ps. 11:4). God dwells in heaven on His “holy mountain” (Ps. 2:6). The city of Jerusalem is “the holy city” (Neh. 11:1). The Sabbath is the “holy” day (Ex. 20:8, 11). The promised land is His “holy land” (Ps. 78:54). Holiness is the cornerstone of all of God’s redemptive purposes. End quote.

In Exodus 15:11, the song of Moses reveals that God’s holiness is majestic. “Who is like you, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” While manmade idols are oppressive, demanding, and unforgiving, God towers above them all with His holiness being self-evident in majesty. His holiness is awe inspiring as it radiators through His spectacular works. When we consider the wonders of what God does, we are magnetically drawn to worship Him.

In Exodus 15:11, the word “awesome” (h3372, יָרֵא yârê’) means “to fear, to revere, to be afraid.” As Moses thought about all that he knew and had experienced of God, he realised the enormity of God and the difference of God. Moses, like us, was forced to acknowledge that he was tiny, weak, and impure compared to God. God was nothing like Moses and this realisation caused Moses to tremble, as it were, before the infinite greatness of God.

Any biblical understanding of God’s holiness recognises that “as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15). God’s holiness forms the truth foundation upon which we understand sin, judgment, wrath, and forgiveness. A clear view of God’s holiness prepares the human heart for understanding the ugly violation that sin is against the character of God.

God’s holiness instructs the unbeliever because through God’slaw comes knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). This is the starting point of the gospel of God (Rom 1:1) which leads to repentance of sin and salvation.

For the believer, God’s separateness from sin (holiness) motivates genuine separation from sin and worldly passions which lead to sin. The believer’s desire for holiness is a practical desire, as Jesus prayed; “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). We are to remain living amongst the world but separated from the sinful beliefs and behaviour of the world. Holiness is NOT a call for isolation but a call to purity in a hostile environment.

As we grow in understanding God, we are to invite God’s holiness to impact us, to change us, to sanctify us as an act of worship (Romans 12:1-2). “Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

Scroll to Top