The Holiness of God
February 3, 2019
There is no more fundamental attribute of God than his holiness.
Our text declares that God is glorious in Holiness
Who is like unto thee, O Lord among the Gods? Who is like thee? Glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? — Ex. 15:11 KJV
The context is when God saved Israel from the pursuing Egyptians. God’s people faced the un-crossable Red Sea in front of them and the hoards of Egyptian soldiers, horses, and chariots ready to attack – behind them. In that moment of salvation God revealed the glory of his holiness. He showed that he was set apart from all others.
When God calls himself Holy, it means two things:
(1) That He himself is set apart and above all things
(2) That He possesses within himself absolute, infinite, glorious moral perfection
The Bible says His Name Is Holy. Because God’s holiness is what most magnifies him. “Holy” is the greatest title of honor. This is why His Holiness is the attribute most sounded out in heaven.
- Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory. — Isaiah 6:3
- They rest not day and night saying, “Holy Holy,Holy, Lord God Almighty — Revelation 4:8
When God swears, he swears by his holiness.
Psa. 84:85 “I have sworn by my holiness, I will not lie to David”
Amos 4:2 “The Lord will swear by his holiness”
He lays his holiness as the pledge of his promise because that attribute is most dear to him and that attribute is the most re-assuring to those who are the recipients of his promises.
Lets Focus now on what God’s Holiness Actually Is…
1. God’s Holiness is Set-Apart-ness
In our text Moses asks…Who is like unto thee, O Lord among the Gods? Who is like thee?
This is the strongest affirmation of God’s incomparable – ness. Nobody can be compared to him. Nobody has degrees of excellence comparable to his infinite excellence
To whom then will you compare me that I should be like him? — Isaiah 40:25
I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst — Hosea 11:9
There is none holy like the Lord — there is none besides thee — 1 Samuel 2:2
Even the angels who are created and finite – – cannot be compared to him. Though they haven’t sinned, they cover they eyes and cover their faces and they cry out day and night – Holy…Holy…Holy.
The angels who are created and finite – – cannot be compared to him. Though they haven’t sinned, they cover they eyes and cover their faces and they cry out day and night – Holy…Holy…Holy.
2. God’s Holiness is His Moral Perfection
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “holy” as
“Whole, entire or perfect, in a moral sense. Pure in heart, temper or dispositions; free from sin and sinful affections. Applied to the Supreme Being, holy signifies perfectly pure, immaculate and complete in moral character”
God’s holiness is like gold infinitely free from all dross. His holiness is like a clean garment infinitely free from any spot. His holiness is like pure infinite light with no darkness at all.
We can’t get through a day…an hour…without moral imperfections, but He has always been morally perfect, and is now morally perfect and always will be morally perfect – in every thought, attitude and deed.
This is why we sing:
You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words.
Too wonderful for comprehension,
like nothing every seen or heard. – Mark Altrogge
3. God’s Holiness is his beauty
One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. — Psalm 27:4
Worship the LORD in the splendor [beauty] of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! — Psalm. 96:9
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; worship the LORD in the splendor [beauty] of His holiness. — Psalm 29:2
His Power — is his hand and arm
His Omniscience — is his eye
His Mercy — is his heart
His Eternity — is his duration
….But holiness — is his beauty
Just as all his attributes would be weak without his almightiness behind them, so all his attributes would be uncomely without holiness to adorn them.
“If he possessed the slightest impurity, or evil, he would not be God. Better to deny that he is God than to say he has impurity and is therefore an unlovely detestable God.” — Stephen Charnock
God’s holiness makes all his other attributes beautiful.
His justice is a holy justice
His wisdom is a holy wisdom
His might is a holy might
His love is a holy love
His promises are holy promises
All the attributes of God are seen and understood in Christ – in his life and death and resurrection.
In Christ we see God’s utter uniqueness
In Christ we see God’s absolute moral purity.
In Christ – and especially at the cross
we see holy justice, and holy mercy together
We see Your holiness most clearly
When we see You crucified
The slaughter of the innocent
To give the guilty life
Such severity, such kindness
Lord, we thank You that You died
Perfect justice, perfect mercy side by side
Perfect justice, perfect mercy side by side — Mark Altrogge
Conclusion: How shall we Respond?
A. Reverent Fear
Who will not fear, O Lord and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. Rev. 15:4
B. Humility and Repentance
Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. …Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:8-10)
Whatever terrible burdens of guilt you carry, you can have a clean conscience before a Holy God!
He will purify your conscience – as you look to him for grace.
C. Joyful Worship
When Israel saw God’s holiness displayed in their salvation at the Red Sea, they sang, they danced, they rejoiced, they worshipped.
Questions For Discussion / Application:
- Re-read the text, Exodus 15:1-18 . What initial observations and insights do you have from reading this text?
- How is God’s holiness revealed/seen in the passage?
- What does it mean that God is holy?
- How does God’s holiness relate to his other attributes?
- How is God’s holiness revealed in the Gospel?
- How does God’s holiness move us to worship?
- As you think of God’s holiness, how are you inspired to respond?
- Consider taking time to praise God, in prayer, for his holiness.