Summary: This is the first in a three part series about the Holiness of God.
Holiness. It’s such a big word – especially to beings that are not holy. To be holy according to Webster is to be perfect in goodness and righteousness. To be holy is to be set apart. We are not born holy. No one teaches a child to lie or steal. We are born corrupted. David tells us that we born in sin. We are not holy.
When we are saved we are forgiven for the sins which we have committed, yet the nature of sin with which we are born remains. But God calls us to holiness.
In fact, we are called to be holy as He is. If we are going to be holy as He is, we must first know what God’s holiness is.
One of the greatest hymns that we sing says, “Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty! God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity.” We are instructed throughout the Bible to “Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness.” 1 Chronicles 16:29 instructs us to “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” There are approximately 135 verses in the Bible which describe God’s holiness.
Holiness is more than just an attribute of God – God is Holy. God’s holiness is the summation of what He is, and He has described Himself as holy. He is the absolute standard of all moral perfection. His actions are marked by the presence of all goodness and by the absence of all evil, and can never be otherwise. God’s holiness shows man’s inadequacy to serve and worship Him without being transformed by grace. He desires that we be holy like Himself.
We believe in the Trinity – God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This morning I want to consider the holiness of God the Father. Later we will look at the holiness of the Son and the Holy Spirit. I want us to see God’s holiness in its wholeness as the beginning in order for us to reverence and respect His holiness.
Everything God is and does is holy. It is impossible to select aspects of His deity that are more holy than others, because He is superbly perfect in every thought and action because His very essence is holiness. We cannot begin to comprehend or grasp all that there is about the nature of God, but this morning I do want to try to point how God manifests His holiness. As 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”
William Newton Clarke said, “Holiness is the glorious fullness of God’s moral excellence, held as the principle of His own action and the standard for His creatures.” God’s actions are always consistent with His own perfection. He is the standard of holiness in all of His acts.
Once, as an experiment, the great scientist Isaac Newton stared at the image of the sun reflected in a mirror. The brightness burned into his retina, and he suffered temporary blindness. Even after he hid for three days behind closed doors, still the bright spot would not fade from his vision.
I pray that you and I would have a similar experience this morning as we fix our gaze on the penetrating purity of the holiness of God. May His brightness burn into our lives in such a way that it would never fade from our vision. May we find His holiness irresistible and not boring.
This morning I want to observe five ways in which God manifests His holiness.
I. God manifests His Holiness in His Love.
If God did not love us, His holiness would only strike terror into our hearts. Wherever His holiness is, there is love. It is because of God’s love that awakens in us a desire to know God, and when we know Him to know His holiness.
However, God’s love is discriminating. What do I mean by this? The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 45:7 that God loves righteousness and hates wickedness. His love is holy in that it is directed toward what is holy and away from that which is inherently evil. If we want to appreciate God’s holiness, we must feel something of His infinite antagonism toward sin of any degree or form. In Habakkuk 1:13 we read, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness.” God is holy and cannot tolerate sin. “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3) God sees the evil but He cannot look upon it with any degree of satisfaction.