The Holiness of God
Isaac Newton, was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, who has been considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived. He once performed an experiment where he wanted to understand the effects of the sun by using a mirror; it was essentially a study in optics; it is better known as Newton’s theory of color. he looked into the mirror and observed the reflection; He did this for 3 hrs. After this, he said that he saw the sun continuously and was unable to look at any brightness at all. He then retreated to his room, shades drawn-he still saw the sun burning bright-for 4 days he hid in darkness. The experiment almost permanently blinded him.
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”
Isaiah had an experience that burned the holiness of God into his soul forever. Oh that God would impart to us even now a glimpse of his backside. Make us aware oh Father.
Prior to the fall, all was perfect. After the fall, Adam and Eve fled-they hid-they were running from themselves. How can one hide from a God who is everywhere? From the glory of the Lord which even nature shows proof. Even Rocks would cry out-can you get that. How is it that rocks can cry out? The inanimate can be made animate if the creator commands. The seas and winds obey.
God holiness is life itself. It is not an attribute-it is THE attribute of God-It is what created life. All that God created was good-how could it be otherwise? Holiness is without stain and defect-how could a flaw flow from perfection?
This is the Tacoma Narrows Bridge; It was engineered in 1940 by sinful men; of course, not with the intent to do harm, but surely good. Men are not perfect; they do not act in holiness-it is impossible. Their natures are sinful and the result is obvious.
For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.
1 Samuel 2:2 2 “No one is holy like the Lord, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.
This week we will discuss the topic of Gods holiness. This is possibly one of the most difficult subjects to explain. I am going to attempt to give some insight into this subject. Some important words would be light and darkness, wrong and right; Black and white. Up/down. Inside/outside. Good/evil.
“God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5).
The basic Old Testament Hebrew word for “holy”, as an adjective, is, qadoˉs. The noun form describes “holiness” while the verb form means “to sanctify.” The
root meaning in the Old Testament is that of “purity which is set apart from impurity,” hence “separation from defilement,” “otherness” in relation to that which is common. In the New Testament, the parallel word is ἅγιος, hagios; we discussed this earlier in regards to sanctification of the believer.
The bible mentions holiness in a few ways; One is in regard to an attribute of the Father. The other is in regards to the creature. Lets look at a few in regards to the creature:
But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
In regards to Gods holiness:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
For our God is a consuming fire.
You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?
Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?
How does one measure the immeasurable? Would it be deficient to try and attempt to gauge Gods holiness? Would it be sinful? Possibly. Much like the Trinity, this subject is a bit numbing. One needs to step out of the flesh and think highly spiritual. The idea is on a supernatural plain. It is unnatural.
We just read a passage that says that we are to be Holy as God is Holy. Do not be confused with God commanding men to be Holy and our being able to accomplish it-there is a difference. He knows that that is not possible; That would be heretical. Only God possesses that level of holiness. This says so much in respect to why we needed Christ. It is His holiness. The holiness God possesses separates Him; In the same way, the command to us is to separate ourselves from all that God calls evil.
A better interpretation of the Leviticus passage would be, I am the Holy one-there is none other like me-pursue holiness-keep your eyes fixed on Jesus-understand you are set apart-You have been called for my purpose alone-to Glorify Myself.
Think of the passage in 1 Cor in regards to our children:
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.
The children are set apart for kingdom business. Many of the baptized children over the ages have proven to be Esau’s. The holiness spoken of cannot be salvific.
It is important that we make the distinction between men commanded to be holy, the levitical priesthood and the utensils that are said to be ‘holy’; this holiness is not the same holiness that God possesses. All holiness flows out of the creator. Utensils are holy because God sets them apart. Apart from this, they are flawed greatly. Example, our Organ. In a showroom full of other organs-common folk touching them, sitting on them etc. We bought our and have now set it apart for kingdom business. Get the point?
Nothing God does is common. We use his name commonly-often. We routinely break the 3rd commandment. Gods name should not be used in passing, as an after thought. It is used with disrespect-no fear, no awe. Ask the Jew. They are great examples. We can learn from them. We should never use Gods name casually-never commonly-but we do.
Because Gods holiness, the elect are set apart. Holiness is an attribute of God only; Men are holy by proxy. God’s holiness is infinite, eternal and immutable. Like God, His holiness has always been and will always be. He is the ancient of days-His holiness is based outside of time-it is not a creation of His that he applied to His nature as a second thought. It has always been as God has always been. It is self contained-it does not need anything to continue to exist. Is it not dependent on anything or anyone.
Gods holiness is manifested in His works:
Gen 1 31 vAnd God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
Gods dwelling place is in the heavens-specifically the first level.
Psa cxi 9. ‘Holy and reverend is his name.’ He is ‘the holy One.’ Job vi 10. Seraphims cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.’
This angelic phrase is always spoken-continuously. Since the beginning of time-never ceasing.
Everything God does is correct, righteous and perfect. He is unable to act any other way, or as T. Watson states:
“He can no more do an unrighteous action than the sun can darken. ‘The Lord is holy in all his works,’ Psa cxlv 17”
Many times we hear about Gods love; This love flows out of His perfection and his holiness. His holiness is at the basis. It is the epicenter.
‘Every good and perfect gift comes from above.’ James 1:17.
God is set apart from the creature. He is the essence of holiness.
He “dwells in light unapproachable” (I Tim. 6:16).
Measure this with the holiness of angels. Impossible. He created the angels and gave them holiness. This holiness is a representation of Gods holiness. It is borrowed or a representation as is ours. Gods holiness is perfect. The holiness men are commanded to have, outside of Christ is impure-that is why the scriptures says that God is refining us like silver fired times 3. We can lose degrees, but never all of it as we are new creations in Christ Jesus.
God’s word describes the level of holiness prescribed to men as well as the unthinkable holiness that flows out of the father. Gods train filling the temple or the Shekinah glory is only a glimpse of the immeasurable holiness. Think about Moses’ beard upon coming down from the mount. This was after getting a glimpse of the Lords backside-he would have been easily consumed if he took in all of the diety.
As well, in the book of revelation, Gods holiness and glory will be efficacious enough to light all of Heaven.
Revelation 21:23 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it,z for the glorya of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.
Because of God’s holiness, He as well, demand justice-to denigrate Gods justice, denigrates Gods holiness. Without justice is akin to be without holiness. The law is an expression, a manifestation of Gods holiness. The law requires perfection. God is perfect. The law is the mind of God presented to the creature.
The greatest expression of Gods holiness is in the man Christ Jesus. In the book of Act’s it calls Jesus, “the Holy and Righteous One”. He is the Man God. He lived a perfect life, fulfilling the law and it’s holy demands.
What are the practical implications of understanding Gods holiness?
It should drop us to our knees. It should, in light ofg Gods perfection, illuminate the minutia in our nature. Sin is magnified-if one can even use such a description. We should seek Christ-We should pray for a better understanding of grace-we need more grace. We should throw ourselves on Christ-understanding that it is because of Him alone that we are able to even now, approach the throne room of God, boldly. It is because God sees Christ, not you or I any longer. And in that, we are confident-we have peace.