Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship
at His footstool; for He is holy. Psalm 99:5
We do not often think about the holiness of God, but we ought to do so. It is perhaps the most difficult of His attributes to explain. Those outside of Christ think that God’s love is His foundation attribute and that a loving God would never send anyone to a place like hell.
The holiness of God is mentioned more times in Scripture than any other of His attributes. This attribute is not shared inherently by man. We are created in His image and we can experience some of His attributes such as love, mercy and grace. But holiness is what separates God from all other beings. God alone is holy, holy, holy (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8).
The basic meaning of the word holy is to separate. In Exodus 19, the people of God were not allowed to even touch the mountain where the LORD came down upon Mount Sinai. When God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, Moses was told the very ground on which he stood was holy (Exodus 3:5). Holiness refers also to consecration and can refer to a place, day, thing or even a saint. Other words such as sacred, morally pure, blameless and consecrated help us to grasp further understanding of the meaning. Righteousness and Justice are two corresponding attributes giving us greater understanding to God’s holiness. The LORD is righteous (Lamentations 1:18). For the LORD our God is righteous in all His works which He doeth… (Daniel 9:14). …far be it from God, that He should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that He should commit iniquity (Job 34:10). For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; His countenance doth behold the upright (Psalm 11:7). He can do no wrong and all His ways are perfect.
It is the justice of God that demands that all sin must be punished. The foolish shall not stand in Thy sight: Thou hatest all workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5). The righteousness and justice of God are linked together in Psalm 45:7 – Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness.
We have all seen massive groups of people demanding such things as abortion rights, gay marriage rights, transgender rights and so much other wickedness in total rebellion against their own Creator. Without realizing it, they are in a self-destruct mode demanding that God judge them. It ought to grieve every believer and cause us to pray that God would open their eyes that they might recognize their foolish wickedness and turn to God.
God’s holiness is foundational to all of His other attributes. His throne is holy (Psalm 47:8). Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne (Psalm 89:14).
It is God’s holiness that limits all of His other attributes. God is full of love, mercy and grace but He cannot express these at the price of holiness. They cannot be extended to mankind apart from His holiness.
It is the death of Jesus Christ that satisfies the demands of God’s righteousness so that salvation can be extended to those who believe. And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (I John 2:2). While we cannot share inherently in God’s holiness, we can become holy in a right relationship to Christ at which time He imputes to us His holiness and we become the righteousness of God (II Corinthians 5:21). For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21). It is incredible when we think that God does not impute our iniquity as believers (II Corinthians 5:19), but instead imputes the righteousness of Jesus Christ to our account. Our salvation and eternal state is so absolutely wonderful and should motivate us to want to be more and more like Him – HOLY.
Does your life exalt God for Who He is? Personal holiness is a measure of our love and devotion to God. It reveals whether or not we truly love Him. Do you honestly hate sin? Does the wickedness of the lost around us grieve you as it must grieve God?
George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.