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How Holy is God?

Understanding the Holiness of God is one of the greatest and deepest attributes of God himself.  Man can not fully grasp his holiness because we ourselves will never experience the absolute holiness of God until we are in his presence.  Through Christ and what he has revealed to us, can we better understand how Holy he truly is.

We can start with the vision God gave Isaiah in chapter 6.  Through his vision, he saw God (Isaiah 6:1).  He also saw angels who were covering their faces and feet as they worshiped God (Isaiah 6:2).  Why are they covering their face and feet?  Only God is absolute and perfect in holiness.

Covering feet is showing absolute respect for someone greater and acknowledging that they are not holy enough to walk on the same ground (Exodus 3:5).  John The Baptist understood this when we talked about Jesus in the same way (John 1:27).  Angels in heaven are not equal to God's Holiness.

The Presence of Almighty God

Immediately when Isaiah knew who he was seeing, automatically knew something about himself.
"Woe to me!” I cried. “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.”" Isaiah 6:5 
Just as the angels would cover their feet and eyes, Isaiah knew his place as a man among people.  He knew without the Lord even saying anything; that he was unclean before God.  He knew he was guilty before God as a sinner.  

God then granted something to happen on behalf of Isaiah.  "your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”"  His guilt of sin was atoned for.  How?  He recognized that he was a sinner and that God was maximally Holy.  In this faith of God's absolute majesty and holiness, God atoned for his sin.  THEN God spoke, after his sin was atoned for.  Atoning for his sin enabled him to become a messenger of the almighty and holy God (Isaiah 6:8-9).

Abraham recognized the same thing about himself when he knew he was in the presence of The Lord when he stated "“Since I have ventured to speak to the Lord—even though I am dust and ashes" (Genesis 18:27).   Abraham was already credited with righteousness, and still, he felt he was nothing more than dust and ashes before The Lord.

Moses understood the powerful and holy presence of God when He passed by him.  Moses initially wanted to see The Glory of God (Exodus 33:18), but God stated: "You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.” (Exodus 33:20).  He only granted Moses to see his back "...cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take My hand away, and you will see My back, but My face will not be seen.”" (Exodus 33:22-23) Later "Moses immediately bowed down to the ground and worshiped." (Exodus 34:8).

God's greatest chosen prophets could not even see the face of God, not even the angels in heaven.  Only Abraham saw The Angel of The Lord in person (The Pre-incarnated Christ) but he did not see the actual face of the Almighty Holy God.

Holy, Holy, Holy

In Isaiah's vision, and in John's vision they saw angels worshiping God saying "Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty" (Revelation 4:8).  But John did not fall to the ground in reverence and awe of the shear power because He already had seen the risen Lord and empowered to not have fear (Revelation 1:17).  Just as Isaiah was atoned for and enabled to hear God speak and permitted to speak, John was atoned for by Jesus and was enabled to be fearless.  We all must first recognize our sins and have them atoned for by God before we are able to be credited righteous in the presence of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).  The 3 repeated words express the absoluteness and completeness of what is stated.  Thus; when the angels worship God by repeating "Holy" three times they are declaring God's absolute and complete Holiness.  This also reflects the Triune nature of God.  God The Father is Holy, God the Spirit is Holy, and his Son Jesus Christ is Holy (Acts 3:14)  

Eternally Holy

God does not stop being Holy.  We see in Isaiah and in Revelations that the angels are forever worshiping and praising the same God in the Old and New Testaments.  His Holiness does not change (Malachi 3:6), His Holiness does not end (Hebrews 13:8), and His Holiness does not have variations or degrees (James 1:17).  He is ultimately, supremely, eternally, and maximally Holy forever. 

Holy can only be in union with Holy

This is the very reason why we NEED our sins atoned for before we can be in the presence of God.  Holy can not be intimately in union with anything unholy; then it would no longer be holy.  Isaiah's sins had to be atoned for and Abraham had to be credited righteous.  We need to become holy and declared right in order to be in the presence of God.  Hebrews 12:14 states: “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” The difference for us and God, is that God is inherently Holy and Holy by nature; we are not.  The solution to our lack of inherent holiness is faith in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:11). Only then we are deemed acceptable and made perfect for living in the presences of God for eternity (Romans 12:2).

What IS God's Holiness?

Holiness is the highest sense of being for God.  He is by nature inherently perfectly and supremely Holy (1 Samuel 2:2).  This is why holiness can not be achieved apart from God (Hosea 11:9; Psalm 40:5).  Only God, because of who he is, can make man holy by sanctifying them.  Compare your self to God, are you as holy as he is?  Are you God?

Also read What is 'Doctrine' and does it matter?  |  The Joy of TRUTH  |  God's Truths are Not a Matter of Opinions  |  Your Feelings Do Not Determine Truth

What Does God's Holiness Mean for Us?

God requires holiness to be in his presence because HE is what is Holy (Leviticus 11:44; 1 Peter 1:16).  Jesus reiterates this supremely high requirement in Matthew 5:48.  The weak unspecific English translated word for 'τέλειος' as 'perfect' means "brought to an end, finished, full grown, adult, of full age, mature, to be complete".  Our spiritual perfection and completeness is holiness.  The Law shows us that we can not meet this standard in ourselves because we will at some point violate the law.  At the same time, realizing this because of the Law, shows us we need a sanctifying element outside of our abilities.  Thus, The Law and this standard shows we need the person and work of Jesus for the premise of sanctification; and the power of The Holy Spirit to bring us to completion; which is only accomplished through faith in the person and work of Jesus.  

Also read God Does ALL The Work  |  The Glorious and Blessed Hope  |  The New You Forever  |  The Amazing Grace of God

It is Not OUR Holiness

The key to understand this is that, though we may have faith and be given the righteousness of Christ, it is NOT our holiness.  The Holiness we are lead into is from God.  We are still sinners with faith in Jesus Christ and absolute trustworthy hope he will bring us into holiness.  Peter was in sin and Paul had to correct him ( Galatians 2:11-13).  Paul even stated twice that he was "the worst sinner of them all" in 1 Timothy 1:15-16.  His statement was in present tense.  Yet, the Apostles were saved through faith and made right before God. While in our corrupted flesh, we will struggle with the sins of the flesh.  But while in the flesh, in faith, our spirit matures and is lead to maturity where it is completed at death (Romans 7:15-20).  When we believe it is US who is holy or it is OUR holiness; we fall into a form of legalism and are really in sin because of our self-righteousness.  John even states that if we think we are without sin, we are lying to ourselves (1 John 1:8).  It is God's holiness that we grow into and are allowed to have by his will and not ours.  Peter tells us how, empowered by The Holy Spirit, we can live out our faith in holiness until we are in fact made holy (1 Peter 1:13-16).  

Also read Sinlessness and its Dilemmas  |  Spiritual Legalism  |  Repentance  |  God's Glory Alone  |  Christian Sinners or Christian Hypocrites  |  If Your Not Fighting Sin, Your Living It.


God is Holy.  We are not God.  God requires holiness to be in his presence for all eternity.  Thus God sanctifies us and empowers us to be lead to maturity in spirit and makes us complete in holiness. The holiness that God alone finds acceptable and compatible in his presences.  Compared to God, we are not holy.  We can not make ourselves holy.  We can not claim holiness for ourselves.  Only through faith in Jesus Christ, he sets us apart for holiness. This goes to the heart of our identity and who we are in the presence of God.  God is supremely, inherently, and uniquely Holy by nature, and we are not holy.  His Holiness is the highest sense of who he is. 

Also read The Satisfaction of Christ Jesus  |  How Old Are You, Spiritually?


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