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The Holiness of God Part 2 [9-6-20]

Here's where we ended last week:

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord,     or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him     that he might be repaid?”

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

- Romans 11:33-36

This is why we worship our God. We don't worship because of our quality musicians. We aren't drawn to worship by eye-popping optics. An entertaining, charismatic, handsome pastor isn't what draws us in. We don't gather for worship because we've found a church without hypocrites. Romans 11:33-36 is why we worship. We worship because the Bible commands us to gather together in worship. We worship because we are obedient to the Word of God. That's all we need to know.

We worship because God is holy…holy…holy.

Here's something you might want to write down:


Here's what I mean. Say your worldview is that all religions lead to the same God, so all worship must be pleasing to and acceptable by God. In your worldview this is true because God's greatest attribute is love. Because of His unconditional love, God honors all worship, regardless of system of belief. As long as the worshiper is sincere. Beginning with Romans 11, we know that is not true. We worship God because of His holiness which has been demonstrated in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God would never violate His holiness to demonstrate His love.

So, let's continue to look at truths about God's holiness. Here's what we've seen so far:

First, to be holy is to be distinct, separate, unique. Second, God is not like anything or anyone we can come up with. Third, God is authoritative.

Fourth, God is Holy.

Here's what that means.

As we've already seen, the root meaning of holy is most likely "to cut" or "separate." In this context, a holy thing is cut off from and separated from common use. In other words, secular use. Earthly things {including us people} are holy when they are distinct from the world and devoted to God. So the Bible speaks of:

  • Holy Ground - Exodus 3:5.

  • Holy Assemblies - Exodus 12:16.

  • Holy Sabbaths - Exodus 16:23.

  • A Holy Nation - Exodus 19:6.

  • Holy Garments - Exodus 28:2.

  • A Holy City - Nehemiah 11:1.

  • Holy Promises - Psalm 105:42.

  • Holy Men and Women - 2 Peter 1:21 & 1 Peter 3:5.

  • Holy Scripture - 2 Timothy 3:15.

  • Holy Hands - 1 Timothy 2:8.

  • A Holy Kiss - Romans 16:16.

  • A Holy Faith - Jude 20.

What do you see there? Almost anything can become holy if it is separated from what is common and devoted to God.

Now for a pivot. Notice what happens when this definition is applied to God Himself. What can you separate God from to make Him holy? God being God means that He is already separated from all that is not God. There is an infinitely qualitative difference between Creator and creature. God is only. There is none other. In a class by Himself. When you say God is holy you have said nothing more nor less than He is God.

Look at it another way. In those examples we've already seen, our holiness derives from being separated from the world and devoted to God. What we're doing here in worship defines us as a holy people. We wouldn't dare say that's how God is holy…that somehow He is devoted to someone or something outside Himself, so that makes Him holy. That would be blasphemy. There is no higher power than God. God is the ground of every being. God is the absolute reality beyond which is only more of God. That's why, when Moses asked for His name in Exodus 3:14, God said "I am who I am." There is nothing outside of God that needs to describe or determine God. God is not holy because He keeps the rules. God is the rules. He wrote the rules. God is not holy because He keeps the law. God is the law. He wrote the law. God is absolute. Everything else is derivative. Habakkuk 2:20 says it best:

The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.

The fifth truth about God's holiness is that

God is glorious.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory.

The glory of God is the manifestation of His holiness. Something glorious is overwhelming to behold. It leaves you breathless. We want to embrace and be embraced by all things glorious. Side note, I think this is one of the reasons some people find the Mormon doctrine, "As we are, God once was…As God is, we can become," so attractive. The great lie and great genius of Mormonism is we can become glorious. There's a certain ugliness and dirtiness that stains our human existence, but through good works and strict adherence to Mormon doctrine, we can achieve a state of glorious existence. Who doesn't want that, right?

The glory of God is the manifestation of His holiness. God's glory is the display of His divine nature. To say "God is glorious" is to say His holiness has been revealed. When Jesus took Peter, James, and John to be alone with him on a mountaintop, he revealed his glory to them. The transfiguration was the manifestation of his glory. And so they knew they were in the presence of the holiness of God. His glory revealed his holiness.

So what does all this mean for us? What difference does God's holiness make in my life? It all boils down to two things. Saving holiness and serving holiness.

Are you fully and completely relying on the holiness of God for anything that is good and right about your life? Has knowledge of your sin driven you to the foot of the cross? Has your brokenness caused to you flee to Jesus Christ, trusting what he did on the cross to make you right with the One, True, and Holy God? In Christ, have you been freed from the fierce wrath of God? Be holy because God is holy.

And what is the evidence in your daily life that the Holy Spirit of God dwells in you? Most of the time, are you loving and joyful and peaceful and patient and kind and good and faithful and gentle and self-controlled? Does your life, in most circumstances, most of the time, reflect the words of 1 Peter 2:9,

"You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light"?

BE HOLY BECAUSE GOD IS HOLY. Those are transformational words for our lives and our world.

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