More than a mere attribute, the holiness of God is part of His very being. It not only stands alone, but because it permeates throughout God it flows into every attribute and activity. God’s judgment and subsequent discipline can be declared holy. The same is also true of his mercy and the expression of that mercy through compassion. If we are not first overwhelmed with the holiness of God, we will be underwhelmed by the activities and attributes of God.
If we do not have a right understanding of God’s holiness, then we will not have a right understanding of the other aspects of God. Thus, it becomes important for the Christian to first fixate on His holiness by understanding it, at least the best we can as individuals tainted by sin. We often hear that to be holy is to be set apart, to be separated from others. The concept is that in His holiness, God is set apart, or set above anything else.
God is not merely defined by holiness, but He alone defines holiness. True holiness then cannot reside apart from residing in God. It is quite amazing to think that only God is holy in Himself. He required no effort or effect from anything outside of Himself in order to be holy. However, for humans there becomes a need for something greater than themselves to be at work in order for holiness to accentuate a person’s life. This is a spectacular point that causes us to remember who we are apart from God. Seeing God’s holiness we become more aware of ourselves as created beings.
Holiness then becomes something unique and special. When we are called to be holy, we must pause and consider the consequences of that. It means that we have been separated from the world by God. Even more, like God we are separated to be elevated above the world. This is not pride or arrogance speaking, but sobriety. It should be sobering because it raises the standards of conduct so that the Christian finds himself living in accordance with God’s moral law so that it may point others to God’s goodness and God’s standards.
Seeing God’s holiness gives us confidence in who God is. It affects all that He and all that He does, and so we rest being assured that God’s will in our lives is in accordance with that holiness. Furthermore, God’s holiness compels us to live the character of God ourselves. The holiness of God must be placed at the forefront of our vision, defining our relationship with the Lord and thus ultimately also defining our relationship with those around us.
I have been reading through R.C. Sproul’s The Holiness of God. Join me each week as we read a chapter and reflect on what we have learned. It’s not too late to join! For more information click here.