Summary: I attempt to define God’s holiness and how that should have a profound affect on our lives.
God Is Holy
“As soon as children are old enough to speak, one of the first questions parents ask is, “How big are you?” Children seem to always give the same answer, “I’m soooo big!” They generally raise their hands to get additional stature, as if to say, “I’m huge. I’m enormous. There’s no telling how big I may be.” This is not a scientific answer. You can’t use it in every context. For example, if your spouse were to ask, “How big do my hips look to you?” you might not want to throw your hands high over your head and exclaim, “Your hips are soooo big.” You teach your children to say this because you want them to realize they are growing. We know that the way they think of themselves matters. You don’t want them to think of themselves as small, weak, and lacking adequate strength to handle the challenges of life.” But now I have a more important question: How big is your God? How big is Christ in your life? (John Ortberg. “If You Want To Walk On Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat” p. 191)
We have been talking about God’s character and attributes these last few weeks. Tonight I want to focus our attention on the holiness of God.
When you think about the word holiness what comes to mind? Maybe something clean or maybe you have a picture of a guy with a collar around his neck folding his hands. Whatever our thinking is about holiness it is something that I hope we get a grip on. You see God is holy. Holiness is the foundation to his being. Holiness is the background to everything else declared about God.
Here is a basic definition of the meaning of God’s holiness: “He is separated from sin and devoted to seeking his own honor.”
Here are 4 distinct meanings of holiness:
· To be set apart. Many times in scripture this was used to describe places where God was present. For example, the Tabernacle, or the Holy of Holies and also the place where Moses was standing when he encountered God in the desert. “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
· To be perfect, transcendent, or spiritually pure evoking adoration and reverence. The Psalmist declares this several times in Psalm 99: “Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy.”
· Something or someone who evokes veneration or awe; being frightened beyond belief. This is basically the encounter in Isaiah 6. Isaiah sees a vision of the Lord. Angels are declaring holy, holy, holy. Isaiah cries out, “woe is me!”
· Filled with superhuman and potential fatal power.
What are some practical implications of God being holy?
1). He is absolutely pure. God is free from sin, free from moral evil, free from mistakes. That’s why we place our total confidence in Jesus Christ because only a sinless person could die and take the sins away of sinful people.
2). He is absolutely perfect. Everything about him is consistent. He never makes a mistake. The way he deals with the world and the way he deals with you and I are perfect. His will for you is perfect. Psalm 77:13 says, “Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?”
3). He is absolutely separate. God is set apart from us. God is eternal. Never had a beginning and will never have an end. The scripture says in 1Timothy 6:16 that God is “…immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.” God is not what American culture perceives him to be. He is not a grandfatherly looking man with a robe on shooting lightning bolts everywhere!
Transition: One thing is for sure, the reality of God’s holiness should lead us to respond in worship and reverence. The holiness of God should have a profound affect on us! Our problem many times is that we know God is holy but our lives do not reflect that we care!
Let’s look in the Scriptures and see how the holiness of God had an affect on those who encountered it:
Isaiah 6: Isaiah cries out. He is in the very presence of God and can’t stand it because he knows he is sinful.
Exodus 3: Moses encounters God in the desert. Look at what verse 6 says: “At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.”
Revelation 4: The Apostle John gives us a sneak peak at what goes on around the throne of God. Angelic beings surround him bow down before him and day and night declare that God is holy!