Summary: Second in an eight part series on the attributes of God.
1) dedicated to religious use, consecrated, sacred
2) spiritually perfect or pure; untainted by evil or sin
3) regarded with or deserving deep respect, awe, reverence, or adoration
The Hebrew and Greek words translated “holy” both mean “set apart” or “separated”.
In the NT, the word translated “saints” comes from the same root word, so saints are literally “holy ones” or “separated ones.”
When applied to God, holiness is that which divides him from everyone and everything else. It is the quality of “awesome mystery” in God’s being, his essential nature and character that make him different, distinct, and unique from any other thing or person in the universe.
"Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you - majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?”
Exodus 15:11 (NIV)
God’s holiness, like his other attributes, is in a category by itself. He isn’t six or ten or one hundred times more holy than the best person you know. God himself is an entirely different category in which he is the only member
How does God reveal His holiness?
1. Through people
• Moses – spine tingling awe and reverence because of God’s presence
• David – God held David accountable for his sins but he also dealt with him graciously and impartially. When we violate God’s holiness, there are consequences, but God’s holiness insures that those consequences come with justice, grace and love.
• Isaiah – King Uzziah dies and Isaiah turns to God in prayer, but he gets something unexpected – he was brought face to face with the holiness of God
Isaiah 6:1-8 records this event:
o God’s holiness is revealed to Isaiah
o Once he saw God as he really is, he then could look inwardly – instead of comparing himself to others, he understood how much he failed to measure up to a holy God.
Instead of trying to figure out how close we can get to sin without actually sinning, we begin to figure out how we can get as close to his purity as possible.
o His inward transformation led to an outward view of his life being about God’s agenda instead of his.
2. Through places
• Moses – burning bush
• Heaven – Revelation 4
Experiencing God’s holiness on this earth serves as training for the real holy land of heaven
3. Through the Law
• First 4 of the 10 Commandments all deal with God’s holiness
• First 5 books of the Bible, particularly in Leviticus:
o Rules for ceremonial washings, sacrifices, circumcision and dietary restrictions prevented serious epidemics.
Modern study revealed that newborn boys reach a particularly high capacity for coagulating on the 8th day
o Purity in sexuality – one man + one woman in one relationship for a lifetime – worked then, still works today
4. Through the prophets
• Constantly addressed idolatry, which violated God’s holiness
5. Through His wrath and judgment
• Achan (Joshua 7) – disobeyed God’s guidelines about the destruction of Jericho. As a result the nation suffered defeat and Achan’s entire family died.
• Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) – treated God as someone who could be fooled and violated His holiness
• God loves us so much that when we choose to step outside the boundaries of his holiness, circumstances bring judgment into our lives to correct us.
6. Through His Son
• Like with all His attributes, the most complete revelation of God’s holiness is through His Son
• Transfiguration is a key example
• Only unholy part of His life was his death
7. Through His Church
Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NASB)
How do we respond to God’s holiness?
• Three aspects of holiness:
1. Positional holiness – justification
I am declared holy by my position in Christ. When God looks at me he finds the righteousness of Jesus that has been credited to me.
Illustration: Delete and paste on a computer file.
2. Practical holiness – sanctification
This is a process. God uses the Bible, the Holy Spirit dwelling within us and other believers to help us grow and become more like Jesus Christ.
3. Permanent holiness – glorification
When we either die or Jesus returns to take us to heaven, the process ends and we become permanently holy.
Illustration: Owning a home
• Four essentials to grow in holiness:
1. A commitment we make
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.