God reveals Himself as unequivocally HOLY (1 Peter 1:16). The seraphim affirm this from heaven’s throne room, declaring God to be “Holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3). As God, He is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy (Isaiah 57:15). The biblical holiness of God is to be understood as pure blamelessness and intrinsic perfection that sets Him apart from all else. His holiness is so extreme by our way of thinking, that the writer of Hebrews says that our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).
The Lord being separate from everything that is less than holy, challenged Isaiah, “to whom then will you compare me?” (Isaiah 40:25). The answer is obvious, NO-ONE. Yahweh stands apart from all others as not only the standard of holiness, but the very definition of holiness. The Lord does not simply possess holiness as an attribute, holiness is uniquely His transcendent quality which permeates every one of His character attributes. God’s holiness is more than His sinless purity, it is His otherness from all else that exists. It is His holy otherness that causes Him to stand out as awesome, as majestic, and worthy of all worship (Psalm 18:3). For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe (Deuteronomy 10:17).
In His supernal holiness, God says, “I the LORD do not change” (Malachi 3:6). James, Jesus’ younger half-brother explained that God is the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17). The Lord is dependable in His holiness and we can rely on His consistency of character and His righteous judgements.
God’s holiness is absolute and trustworthy truth, to which all other thoughts are to bow.
The world, however, has quite a different view on holiness. For them, holiness is nothing but an annoying and inconvenient restriction that holds humanity back from being all that they want to be. The world kicks back at boundaries, at restraints, or at any redirection of desires towards a higher standard demanding eternal answerability. Worldly wisdom is content with constantly changing values that are floating and inconsistent. The world is happy with different standards for different people, and with commitments that have an out clause. In every way imaginable, the world is opposite to, and opposed to God’s ultimate holiness. Whether consciously or not, the world views holiness as it’s enemy, and constantly leans against it.
Even though mankind was created in the image of God, mankind is NOT inherently holy as God is. The only hope of human holiness is found in a relationship with God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Only in Christ are we able to “become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21), and this is because Christ became our sin on the Cross as our substitute. Paul tells us that this righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe (Romans 3:22). Dependent belief in Jesus’ work on the cross is mankind’s only access to sharing in the righteousness of God.
Before any discussion can be had concerning a believer’s living, there needs to be unequivocal acceptance and celebration of the all-consuming holiness of Jehovah – WORSHIP. This God, the only wise and sovereign God, chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him (Ephesians 1:4). May we aspire in both understanding and living to run the race of life towards an ever-increasing accuracy (2Co 3:18) of the holiness of our God, for His pleasure and His glory alone.