One of the topics that is especially emphasized in the Bible is that of holiness. The word holy is found around 620 times in the Bible. As a point of reference, the word “love” is found around 340, “grace” is found around 140, and “faith” is found around 240 times. God only has to speak about something once to make it important, but there is certainly an obvious emphasis in the Bible on holiness. God wants us to know that He is holy (1 Pet 1:16).
There are two main parts to holiness. The first is separation. Think about how God is holy in His separation from everything else.
He is separate in his existence. Everything that exists has a beginning date (Gen 1:1). God does not. He is from everlasting to everlasting (Ps 90:12).
God exists separate from the created world. We are sometimes called “carbon based life forms”. That’s because we are all made up of matter, or dust (Gen 2:7). We have a hard time fathoming existing without our physical body in this physical universe. God exists separate and apart from the created world.
God’s separation is evident in His characteristics as well. He is separate in that there is no limit to His power. He is separate in His knowledge. He is separate in the fact that He is not bound by time or space. There is none like Him. He is separate.
The second aspect to holiness is purity. God is pure in all his attributes. God is love (1John 4:8). God will always act in a way that is pure toward His love. God is true (Rom 3:4). He will only act in a way that is honest and true. God is just (Job 34:17). He will be motivated by His justice in His actions.
A quick comparison to ourselves, and we get a good idea of God’s holiness. We often times do evil. Sometimes we can even do good for selfish or impure motives (Phil 1:15). God has never done either. He only acts in a way that is pure to His wonderful qualities.
His separateness and His purity combined give us a picture of God’s holiness. It also shows us that holy is a term that is naturally connected to the Divine.
Isaiah 59:2 paints an interesting picture of what our sin does to God’s holiness. He says, “your sins have separated you and your God”. Our sin and impurity magnify God’s holiness. They do not make Him more holy, but they do increase the separation between Him and man.
God’s holiness in light of our impurity demands a response from us. This does not mean that the response will always be the right one, but man will not sit idle perceiving God’s holiness. In Isaiah 6, the prophet comes in contact with the holiness of God and is moved to recognize his impurities, go where God wants him to go, speak what God’s word tells him to speak, and to do so as long as God needs him to. Jonah, on the other hand ran away and tried to get away from the presence of the Lord.
God, as a holy being makes all that is associated with Him holy. In Exodus 3, the ground surrounding the burning bush became holy. In Exodus 20:11, God made the sabbath day holy. It became holy because it was associated with Him. God’s name is holy (Ps 111:9). God’s promises are holy (Psalm 105:42). All that is associated with God is holy.
I believe we are in a time when people do not have any idea about the holiness of God, because we have a bunch of lukewarm apathetic people. This attitude is especially hurtful to God. In Revelation 3:16, Christ says, “because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth”. A lukewarm individual is a person who doesn’t care about the holiness of God.
God demands that we should “make distinction” among his holy things (Ezekiel 22:26). Think of some of His holy things and how they are profaned today.
His name is still holy (Matt 6:9). How often do you use it as a filler word? How often do you swear on His name? How often do you take it in vain?
God’s word is holy (Rom 1:2). Do you treat it that way? Have you made a distinction that whatever the Bible says is truth and that it is your standard (2 Tim 3:16-17), or have you made it common? Does it contain some good ideas but the specifics can be disregarded? Are you only interested in verses that make you feel good, or are you concerned with conforming your life to it in every single way that it should be? Do you overlook its teaching on sin, and commitment, and truth, and salvation for the sake of your feelings? Or do you study it with a desire to become approved unto God (2 Tim 2:15).
God’s plan of salvation is holy (Psalm 105:42). It is through His Son, the Holy one (Acts 2:27). Do you care about the specifics that God has revealed in that Holy plan? Do you care that repentance is necessary to be saved (Luke 13:3)? Do you care that baptism is necessary to be saved (Mark 16:16)? Do you keep God’s holy things holy, or have you profaned them by what you believe and have obeyed?
His church is holy (Eph 5:27). That means the instructions for its organization should be kept distinct (Phil 1:1). That means it’s worship should be distinct (John 4:24). That mean’s we shouldn’t attach any name we want to it (Acts 4:12). There are about 100 different churches in Campbell County with about 100 different names, about 100 different ways of worshipping, and about 100 different organizations. Look at the church you belong to. Ask yourself, “Can I find my church in the New Testament?”. And as you realize that it is not in the Bible, what will you do about it? Will you care about God’s holy church enough to seek it out? Or are God’s holy things unimportant to you?
God’s holiness demands a response.