God is Holy
Dear friends, I want to end the year 2017 with the last part of our mini-series on God's character traits. Today we will talk about God's Holiness!
A man named Isaiah finds himself in the middle of the temple in Jerusalem in a vision. At this time, the temple in Jerusalem was among the largest man-made buildings in the world - bigger than the Cologne Cathedral. He was so fascinated by the size and beauty of the temple that his knees began to tremble and he could only whisper the word that naturally comes to human minds in places like this: Big (Wow, this is big!)
Then, in the same vision, Isaiah witnesses a scene that caused his knees to collaps altogether :-). Suddenly, the air above him was filled with the movement of angels bigger than the temple itself. They sang a thundering song. At the sound of their voices, the doorposts and thresholds of the temple shook till Isaiah feared they would collapse and crumble. The air was filled with smoke. Now, the only word that came to Isaiah's mind was probably: Great (or in modern English: Oh my gosh!)
And then something else happens which knocks Isaiah out and puts him from that place on his knees right down to his face on the floor in awe. He suddenly understood why these big angels cover themselves with their wings. For them it is an act of desperate humility. They trembled in awe before the presence of God who manifested His reality before them all. Isaiah writes “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted“ and "the train of his robe" — just the thinnest part of the veil of his majesty — entirely "filled the temple." (Isaiah 6.1b)
At this tiny glimpse of the presence of God, the angels raised their voices into a song: "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is full of His Glory." At this point, Isaiah was totally done!!!
Friends, on an admiration scale from “Oh, my goodness" to "Oh, my glory," there is big, then there is greater, then far beyond all human categories there is GOD. That's what the Bible means when it tells us that God is Holy! The word holy simply means "set apart," as in "different from" or "other than".
It is easier for us to describe the other attributes of God that we've been exploring in this mini-series with familiar terms. When we say God is love, good, faithful, patient, we can draw on the experiences of people we know who have these qualities. But holiness, which by definition is "something different" from the normal experience, is much harder to take in.
When we say that God is holy, we are saying that He stands apart from us — is different from or other than us in terms of wisdom, power, strength, intelligence, etc. But Holiness also carries a sense of superior character and wholesomeness. To say that God is holy is to say that He is not just intelligent and powerful at a level we cannot even imagine, He is also healthy (whole) in a way with which we have no normal experience.
Now and then, however, the Holy Spirit imparts to our spirit the knowledge of the Holy One. And our response when catching such a glimpse of God's Holiness is to “fall on our face in awe”, as Isaiah did (Isaiah 6: 5). To find yourself in the presence of the Holy God having trusted in your own wisdom, power, and goodness is like being a disease-carrying insect and suddenly looking up to someone who hates disease but loves you. At that moment you realize (if you never have before) that there is hope for you!
The Bible says that "our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). Don't make a mistake: His Holiness will consume evil and sin in the end. But in the meantime, God's holiness also purifies anyone who turns to Him. Hear again the words of Isaiah: "Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, 'See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." (Isaiah 6:6-7).
Have you let God touch you in that way? Do you need His purifying power? Then accept His free gift for you which is JESUS. He came to reconcile us with God and to make us holy as our father God (1 Corinthians 1:30)!
Wishing you all merry Christmas and a blessed 2018