The Holiness of God

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, March 20, 2020 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

God is holy. This is a statement we love to say and sing about, but it is something we often don’t truly grasp. “Holy” means to be separated, to be unique, set apart. God is holy, and not just holy; he is holy, holy, holy. God is not like us. He is unique. He does not think like us, act like us, nor do things the way we think they ought to be done. What does it mean for God to be holy? What does it mean for man to be holy? I’m going to explore these questions and issues over the next few weeks.

Balaam was a Gentile prophet who knew the true God and was hired by Balak to curse Israel. While he refused to do it, he eventually caved and told Balak how to get Israel to curse itself with sexual immorality. But one thing Balaam revealed was how unique God is. God is not a man that He should lie. He does not say one thing and then go back on His word. If He says it, He will do it. He does not and cannot lie. Man is not like that; no one has to train a child to lie. He must be trained to tell the truth. God is not like us.

God is not like any other god man has contrived. A few years ago, I wrote a post called “The Gods of the Ancient Near East.” It was a study of 1 Kings 20 in which God told the wicked King Ahab that he would defeat the Syrian army not once but twice, simply because the Syrians thought the first victory was because Israel had the gods of the hills and not the valleys. This idea was a strange notion to the ancient near eastern cultures: a God that surpassed region, territory, boundary, physical effect, etc. God went out to prove himself not just to Ahab, but to the Syrians that He was not like the other gods.

God is not material nor part of the physical universe. He is transcendent to it all. Paul made an issue of this when he confronted the intellectuals of Athens at Mars Hill. God is not to be served by human hands as though He has human needs. He has no need for anything man has to offer. Anything man has is a gift from God, including every breath, every morsel of food, every drop of water, and everything man uses. As the joke goes, when scientists sought to reject God and said they could make life on their own without Him, God stopped them as they bent down to scoop up some dirt and said, “No, go get your own dirt.” God is holy. He is unique and separate from His creation.

But God’s holiness goes to something much greater than just being unique. God’s holiness is often linked to His righteousness and justice and why He is intolerant of sin. We often tend to describe sin as a violation of God’s moral laws. And while that is true, the Bible gives a much deeper picture of what sin really is. Sin is anything that is contradictory to whom God is or what He is like. The law was meant to give us something concrete to grasp so we would know that we simply don’t cut it.

The only way for man to be able to make it to eternity with God is to be perfect as He is perfect. We are to be holy as God is holy. We all know that we are not like that. In every religion, man has to do something to earn his way to “get in.” Why do they do that? Why is there a drive, an urge, to do things correctly and to fix what is broken? Every religion is never able to give a concrete statement of what the standard is or whether the standard is met or not, except one: Christianity. God is unique in that He made his standards clear, defined, and unquestionable. He is holy and we don’t cut it.

The plan of salvation is holy. Every religion has man trying to figure out some way to get to God. Christianity has God coming to man. Every other religion depends upon the merits of man. Only Christianity teaches that it is by grace through faith. It is unique, separated, and other-than from everything else. The Gospel is also known as the Scandal of Grace. There is a reason why the Jews stumbled over the cross and the Greeks called it foolishness, yet to the believer it is the power of God unto salvation. The idea of a crucified Savior, the hero who was executed as a criminal yet innocent, to justify wicked men is so foreign to man’s thinking it does not and will not register without divine revelation.

This is just an introduction. Over the next few weeks, I’ll look at other details about the holiness of God. How God deals with man is holy, and it is strange to how we think. There is a reason Isaiah said that God’s ways are not our ways, His plans not our plans. I’ll look at how what God identifies as holy is to be marked as holy, how we should live holy lives, and the idea of purity. The next few weeks should be fun and hopefully it will change your view of who God truly is.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.