Summary: Last in a series about attributes of God and how we can reflect them to others.
KNOWING GOD - #6
God is Holy
I like white shirts. I like them a lot. Part of the reason is that they go with everything. No matter what color of pants you are wearing, no matter what color tie, no matter what color shoes (I go for black most of the time), a white shirt will work.
But you know what I don’t like? Stains on my white shirts. Especially spaghetti sauce. Getting that stuff on my white shirt just bugs me to no end.
I have taken to wearing an apron over my white shirts when I am having spaghetti. Don’t worry guys, it’s not one of them real frilly ones.
In fact, it’s got a guy smoking a cigar and say’s “Kiss the Cook” or something like that.
I don’t know where I got it, but it works just fine.
Another thing that bothers me is when I cut myself shaving, and the blood gets on my collars. And it really burns my toast when I don’t notice it until I get to work. Then what can you do?
When I get a new white shirt, I iron it and hang it up next to my other white shirts, and you know what I notice? My other white shirts aren’t as white as my new one.
The brightness has faded a bit. It almost makes me embarrassed for my new shirt. “Sorry, buddy, I’ll try harder to make sure only really white shirts go in here from now on, okay?”
But you know something? Each shirt by itself looks white enough. It’s when you put it next to something that is really white that you see how gray and dingy it really is.
That’s kind of what holiness is like. We think we are pretty good about living lives that will please God.
Maybe we go to church every Sunday. Maybe we tithe a whole 10% of our income. Maybe we teach a Sunday School class. Maybe we cry out against injustice. Maybe we vote for candidates who espouse Biblical values.
Maybe we pray and read Scripture every day. Maybe we are “better” at being a Christian than the next guy.
Maybe. But Scripture is clear that we are not to compare ourselves with others. We are to compare ourselves with none other than God Himself.
Listen to 1 Peter 1:15-16. It will form the basis of our time this morning.
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
There you go. The standard is the holy God of Scripture. Not the fallible standard of human example.
I want to show you today that God is holy and how we can share in that holiness.
Let’s begin by taking a look at…
I. His Holiness – Revealing Him
1. “Apartness” or “otherness.”
To be holy literally means to be separate. When we say God is holy, we are recognizing that He is profoundly different from His creation.
He has a transcendent majesty, a superiority, which merits our honor, reverence, and worship.
Listen to Isaiah 57:15 –
For this is what the high and lofty One says--
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
"I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
He is high and lofty. Not too lofty to care for us, thank God, but He is high and lofty. And holy.
His holiness sets Him apart from all that is not holy.
And our sinfulness sets us apart from Him. Isaiah 59:2 says that our sins have separated us from our God.
Interesting, huh? His holiness sets Him apart from us, but our sinfulness sets apart from Him.
The next meaning of “holy” is…
2. “Purity” and “righteousness.”
God can do no wrong. He is completely separated from sin and evil.
God is absolutely from any moral evil. He is the very essence of moral purity.
James 1:13-14 says that God cannot sin, can’t be tempted to sin, and cannot tempt someone else to sin.
In this sense, God is holy and we are not. Unlike with us, there is no evil mixed with His goodness.
Somebody has said that the concept of God’s holiness is the single best argument against the notion that human beings just made up the concept of God.
Humans might very well imagine a sort of deity who is loving, merciful, forgiving, and all-powerful, but mistake-prone human beings would surely stop short of inventing an absolutely holy God who would hold them accountable to His own exacting standard of holiness.