A Holy God- Part 3
John MacArthur talks about God's Holiness
The Christian and God's Holiness
In viewing the holiness of God, it becomes clear that it is of utmost importance, not only to understand God, but also to understand what He expects from His people. I like this quote from John MacArthur:
"Of all the attributes of God, holiness is the one that most uniquely describes Him, and in reality is a summarization of all of His other attributes. The word holy refers to his separateness, His otherness, the fact that He is unlike any other being. It indicates His complete and infinite perfection. Holiness is the attribute of God that binds all the others together. Properly understood, it will revolutionize the quality of our worship."
The aspect of God's holiness which affects us the most is His moral purity. We have talked about God's purity in the last article and said that it means that He is separate from all that is sinful, evil and unclean. But it also means that He is positively pure. The more we see this morally pure God the more we should see the utter revulsion that He has for all that is sinful and impure.
I. Isaiah's View of a Holy God
Most people, Christians included, have lost the total fear and awe of a holy God. We see God more like a cosmic buddy that we can pat on the back and treat as familiarly as we would any other person. But, while Jesus' death and resurrection has given us the ability to come boldly before the throne of grace, that doesn't mean that God is any less holy and doesn't deserve the respect due the Sovereign of the universe. Let's look for a moment at how Isaiah reacted when he saw this God whom we worship.
In chapter 6 of his book, Isaiah sees a vision of the Lord. He sees God sitting on His throne and the Seraphim flying around Him and saying: "Holy, Holy Holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory."
What is Isaiah's reaction to seeing the thrice holy God? He says this: "Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." In being confronted by this vision of the Lord, Isaiah immediately understood that he was under judgement- that he was ruined. He realized that he was a sinner, and that in his present state he was unable to stand before a holy God. Some have said that Isaiah expected to be killed on the spot, because no one could look at God, as they were and live.
The truth is that none of us, without Jesus Christ can stand before God. We all deserve eternal separation from God in Hell. And as Christians, we cannot take sin lightly in our lives. Because we love a holy God, we should hate sin and want to rid it from our lives completely.
II. God's People Are to be Holy as He Is.
The Lord, in both the Old and New Testaments, commands the believer to "Be holy as I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44; I Peter 1:15,16). In other words we are to be totally set apart from sin and set apart for God. The moral perfection of God should move His people to strive for moral purity as well. While I don't believe Scripture says that we will be totally free from sin in this present fleshly body that we are living in, with the Help of the Holy Spirit who indwells us, we can become more and more holy, and less and less influenced by sin. In Romans 8:29 it states that we are predestined to be conformed to the very image of Jesus Christ. That image is one of holiness and moral character.
We take the holiness of God far too lightly in our lives. A true understanding of this preeminent attribute of the Lord should change the way we think and live. It should change the way we worship. We should have far greater reverence and a sense of awe when it comes to standing before the throne of God in prayer. Our God is a Holy God. To forget this fact is to forget the God we claim to worship.