Sunday, April 20, 2014

God is Holy

The ABC’s of knowing God better:  
The letter “H”

Holy, holy, holy is the LORD almighty. – Isaiah 6:3 (NIV)

“I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” – Leviticus 11:44 (NIV)

But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written, “Be holy, because I am holy.”  – 1 Peter 1:15–16 (NIV)

Of all God’s attributes, I struggle with His holiness the most. He is perfect, totally and completely pure. He cannot sin. It’s not His nature. His Word says He cannot even look upon sin: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; You cannot tolerate wrong” or “look on wickedness” (Habakkuk 1:13).

While I don’t consider myself evil or wicked, neither am I perfect. I feel much like Isaiah in today’s reading: “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

Or the apostle Peter, when, courtesy of a Jesus miracle, returned with the catch of a lifetime: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man” (Luke 5:8).

That’s what understanding – truly understanding – God’s holiness does to us. Instead of strutting around, complaining, defiantly declaring that God has some explaining to do when we get to heaven, we fall on our faces before Him, utterly undone because we finally understand His holiness and our unholiness.

But we are not undone.

“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 6:7).

And what did Jesus say to Peter? “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men” (Luke 5:10).

God is holy, yes. We, by nature, are unholy. But we don’t have to clean up our act. God Himself washes us:

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).

Sin carries with it the death sentence, but God has inked a pardon in his Son’s blood: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “The blood of His Son Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7)

In our stead, Jesus went to the death chamber – and came out alive three days later, releasing us from the power and punishment of sin. (Read Hebrews 9 and 10)

I don’t need to struggle with or be intimidated by holiness. Because, while God requires His children to be holy, He provides a way – the only way (see John 14:6) – for us to become holy and enter into His presence – now and forever.     

Father, I feel so unworthy of the sacrifice your Son made for me. As the song says, “I should have been crucified. I should have suffered and died. I should have hung on that cross in disgrace, but Jesus, God’s Son took my place.”* Thank you. Help me to live my life in such a way that Your implanted divine nature in me matures and produces a harvest for You. Amen.

Special-Tea: Read Isaiah 6:1–9

*“I Should Have Been Crucified,” by Gordon Jensen, © 1973

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