Trying to write today’s brief introduction has been laborious and futile. I’ve greatly enjoyed writing countless chapters in many books through the years, but this one just won’t compute. I’ve attempted to place my pen to the pad over and over again, but to no avail. Describing God’s holiness is difficult. Actually, it’s far beyond difficult, It’s impossible. I thought about the bacteria and contaminate free, pure spring water from the seemingly bottomless Blue Spring in the Current River in southeast Missouri. Nice try, but far from perfection. My mind raced back to one unforgettable majestic evening atop Predegal Mountain on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula when the giant burning orange solar ball sank into the Pacific Ocean over my western shoulder and simultaneously the giant yellow lunar ball “arose out of the water” of the sea of Cortez over my eastern shoulder. Majestic, yes. Holy…hardly. First glance at the Grand Canyon? Awe and wonder! Yes! But holy? Not a chance.
As a spelunker, an unforgettable pristine moment was crawling into a newly opened underground crystal passageway and observing stalactites and stalagmites and flowstone that no one had ever seen or touched was breathtaking and unforgettable, but a far cry from holy.
I even traveled back a few years to the first glimpse of my two daughters adorned in pristine white lace as they “floated gracefully” on white rose petals down the sacred wedding aisle. I had guarded the front door of our home like a rabid Doberman from any boy who came by seeking to place a blemish on that moment! (Ask one of them sometime what I put those high school boys through who sought a date with my daughters!) Admiring your daughter in a wedding gown is about as close to holiness as you can get…but it still falls hopelessly short of the mark!
I suppose the Apostle John in his latter years cast into exile on the island of Patmos, now caught up in a divine vision from which he wrote the final book in our Bible, describes God’s holiness best:
“And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, ‘HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.’ And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for
You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.’” (Revelation 4:8-11)
“Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.’ And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’ And the four living creatures kept saying, ‘Amen’. And the elders fell down and worshiped.” (Revelation 5:11-14)
Holiness is a word reserved for God alone. He owns all the stock. He’s the sole proprietor. Yet, as we’ll see throughout this study, in His grace, His absolutely amazing grace, He gives it away to true, sincere believers. He gives it away to those who are filled with His Spirit and kneel at the foot of the cross.
Understanding God’s Holiness
Mark these Key Words: God holy
Old Testament Viewpoint
Exodus 15:11, Psalms, 47:7-8; Psalms, 93:4-5; Zephaniah 3:17
Exodus 15:11 Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?
Psalms, 47:7-8 For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a skillful psalm. God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne.
Psalms, 93:4-5 More than the sounds of many waters, Than the mighty breakers of the sea, The LORD on high is mighty. Your testimonies are fully confirmed; holiness befits Your house, O LORD, forevermore.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
New Testament Viewpoint
Revelation 15:3-4, 4:8-11
Revelation 15:3-4 And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU, FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED.”
Revelation 4:8-11 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come. And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy art thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created.”
What is God saying?
1) Describe and define “holiness” in your own words.
2) Describe “reverence”.
3) How do we show worship to a holy God in practical ways through our lives today?
4) If God is holy, what does that say about your relationship to him?
5) What does Zephaniah 3:17 say to you about a God of this magnitude who will think this highly of you?
6) How, therefore, should we treat God?
7) When we spend time and money at a movie or TV show or listen to music that profanes God’s name, how are we offending the holiness of God?
What else of significance do you see God saying in this passage?
Can you identify any areas in your life that inhibit you from enjoying a great relationship with God?
Describe your feelings about your personal pursuit of holiness.
Memory Verse: Zephaniah 3:17
The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
A Adoration: Father, today I praise You for…
C Confession: Father, please forgive me for…
T Thanksgiving: Father, today I’m thankful for…
S Supplication: Father, the people & things that I wish to pray for today are…