God is Holy

Joshua West

We see the holiness of God displayed in many places in the Bible. One of those is in the story of the prophet Isaiah’s encounter with him. God was going to use Isaiah in a very difficult time in Israel’s history, so for Isaiah to speak on God’s behalf God gave him a revelation of holiness. God would also use Isaiah to prophecy about the Christ the coming Messiah, so it was very important for Isaiah to be aware of God’s holiness. 

Coming into contact with God’s infinite holiness and moral perfection will always produce fear and reverence because we are sinful beings. The immediate response humanity has when exposed to God’s perfection is awareness of our sin and fear because we also become aware that his perfect justice demands our destruction. 

"In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: 

'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!' 

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: 'Woe is me! For I am lost; for 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!'” Isaiah 6:1-5 (ESV) 

Fear and Reverence
In modern Christian culture so many claim that they have come in contact with God, but honestly if someone claims to know God and lacks fear and reverence for his holiness, I cannot believe them. It is impossible to taste the glory of God and to see even a small portion of his holiness and be the same. If we come away from an encounter with a holy God without being aware of our sin and without fear and reverence for God, we are deceived about who God is.  

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight." Proverbs 9:10 (ESV) 

God is holy and this is the greatest revelation of our lives as Christians. If we don’t view God this way we don’t see or know the God of the Bible. All through the Old Testament we see displays of God’s glory for the sake of his holy name. The greatest tragedy in the American church is the glorification of man at the expense of the glorification of God. God is holy and his glory will not be rivaled, it can’t be. 

The Holiness of Christ
Throughout the Old Testament we see the holiness of God displayed, but in the New Testament we see the holiness of God revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. We also see the love of God in the gospel. We are wrong to believe that God in the New Testament is any less holy than he is in the Old Testament. The triune God is the same yesterday, today and forever. 

God hates sin and because he is holy, he can’t leave sin unpunished because he is perfectly just. But because he loves us, in his mercy he extends undeserved grace to us through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus. Only God himself was good enough to satisfy the justice and wrath his holiness and moral purity demanded. 

I have heard people say that eternal damnation seems like an extreme punishment for rejecting the gospel. This is a person who doesn’t see the holiness of God. If you think spending eternity in hell is too severe of a punishment for rejecting the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, it’s because you over value yourself and under value him. A.A. Hodge said regarding the holiness of God:

“The holiness of God is not to be conceived of as one attribute among others. It is rather a general term representing the conception of God’s consummate perfection and total glory. It is His infinite moral perfection crowning His infinite intelligence and power.”

Surrendering to the Holy God
So that being said regarding Jesus who is the physical representation of God himself, it is right to say that rejection of Jesus is the ultimate rejection of God’s holiness. God literally owes us nothing, not even an explanation. But we on the other hand owe him everything. He gave us life and although we don’t deserve it has offered us forgiveness for our sin and eternal life with him. 

We see in the Old Testament that God is so holy that any act of disobedience had very severe consequences, so how much more severe will judgement be for those who reject the sacrifice made by the Son of God himself for undeserving sinners? The only proper response to the gospel of Jesus Christ is unconditional surrender, repentance to God and a commitment to live a life of worship and holiness in honor of him and with allegiance toward him.

In Christ,
Pastor Joshua

Joshua West is a pastor, evangelist, and author. He is also director of the World Challenge Pastors Network.



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