Root Words

Root Words | The Attributes of God – Holiness

Good afternoon friends. This is Bill Daly again from Bitterroot Valley Calvary Chapel with this week’s episode of Root Words. As you know by now, we’re continuing our series on the various divine Attributes of God. Each week I like to mention that THE most important aspect of our Christian walk is that we KNOW our God. And then, having known more OF Him, that we are TRANSFORMED by that knowledge. As you know, we’ve been spending time studying the nature and the character of God as He has revealed Himself to us in His word. And if you happened to join us last week, we spent some time discussing the “Faithfulness” of God. So this week, we’re going to examine:

The Holiness of God: There is so very much to say about the Holiness of God and many of us have a faulty or weak understanding of it. In fact, this week’s discussion will be slightly longer than the other weeks because of that. So, where do we even begin? Probably one of the best places to begin, scripturally speaking, is to take a look at the experience that the Prophet Isaiah had when he caught just a glimpse of the overwhelming Holiness of God in a vision which transformed his life forever. In the 1st verse of the 6th chapter in his account, Isaiah describes seeing the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and speaks of how the train of the Lord’s robe filled the temple. He then begins to speak of heavenly creatures around the Throne of the Lord. And then he describes what they looked like in his vision. Now, we understand that here on earth, the creatures that God has created, are uniquely suited to their environments, right?. Look at Polar Bears for example. They’re uniquely suited to the frozen climes of the Arctic Circle. Their white fur coats help them blend in with the snow and ice, enabling them to approach animals of prey while remaining stealthy. They have powerful jaws, sharp teeth, and big claws which aid in the capture and consumption of food as well as their defense against other predators. 

And likewise, God has created heavenly creatures to be uniquely adapted to their environments. In this passage of Isaiah, here in the beginning of the 6th chapter, the Prophet Isaiah describes how the Seraphim have 6 wings unlike, for example, earthly birds who only have 2. And we soon realize that it’s because their heavenly environment required it. One set of wings covered the Seraph’s face because he is unable to even look upon the Lord without shielding his face from the presence of God’s glory and Holiness. Even here on earth, we can’t look directly at the sun because we would permanently damage our eyes; how much less so could WE look upon the Holiness of God and not be permanently damaged than the very Seraphim who actually inhabit the Throne Room of God? And what about the wings that cover its feet? Even though these angels inhabit heaven, they are nonetheless creatures and like Moses before the burning bush in the desert, in the presence of God Himself they must mind even their feet before the presence of God’s glory and Holiness. 

But it’s not the anatomy and physiology of the angels in the Throne Room of God that’s the most important thing of note here. There are two other vastly more important aspects of this vision: Number 1 is what the Seraphim sing in chorus to one another. They cry out, “Holy, Holy, Holy”. Notice they don’t sing “Love, Love, Love”. Or “Grace, Grace, Grace”. Or even “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy”. No, they cry out “Holy, Holy, Holy”. But why 3 times though? See, in English when you want to show emphasis, there are a few ways to do it but mostly, at least when it comes to writing, we can use italics or underlining or bold type. But in writing something of emphasis, the Jews would write something twice. Like where Jesus might say, “Truly, truly I say unto you…” or “Verily, verily”. It’s to add emphasis. In that case a sort of double dosage of emphasis. But in the case of the song of the Seraphim, this is a triple emphasis. They are triple emphasizing God’s Holy character and to the highest degree. That’s amazing.

The second most important aspect of Isaiah’s vision is his reaction to God’s Holiness in his glorious vision of the Lord. In Verse 5, he actually says “Woe to me, for I am ruined!”. I actually like the old King James translation best where it’s rendered, “Woe is me, for I am undone!”. Undone – that is to say “un-made”. Seeing just a glimpse of God’s Holiness causes Isaiah to “come apart at the seams”. Upon seeing the Lord, he didn’t say, “Yo, that’s my man”. He didn’t say “That’s my Bro”. He didn’t say “I love me some Jesus”. He said “Woe is me, for I am RUINED”. Whenever you see the word “woe” in scripture, it is a curse that follows. Ya know how you often see in scripture, “Blessed are the…” or “Blessed are those that…” those are blessings. But when you see the word, “Woe” as in “Woe to you…”, that’s a curse. Isaiah actually pronounces a curse upon himself and is ruined by what he sees. He didn’t dance for joy, He didn’t beam with gladness. He didn’t find his vision humorous or cute. When Isaiah caught just a glimpse of God’s magnificence and Holiness, he effectively wet his pants. 

So how can we apply this truth to our own lives? Well, one way is that we allow it to work in us a far greater, far deeper level of praise, reverence, and thanks for what we’ve been given in terms of our salvation, our eternal security, and our inheritance. And what is our inheritance? Our inheritance is Christ! We inherit Him and He inherits us. Christ inherits a redeemed people and we inherit a Redeemer. But let’s be very clear though – the only way that happens is because of the Holiness of God! See, if God isn’t Holy, then there’s no such thing as sin. If there’s no such thing as sin, there’s no need for Atonement. If there’s no punishment for sin, then we have no need for a Redeemer. And if you don’t understand the need for Atonement, then you’ll have a very difficult time understanding God’s Holiness as revealed in His word. See, as Christians, we talk a lot about being saved. Yeah, but saved from what? What if I were to tell you that because of the Holiness of God that we are not only saved BY God and FOR God but that we are actually saved FROM God? Saved FROM God? That’s right – God is Holy and He will not abide sin. His Justice demands it be punished. Therefore, outside of Christ, there is only the Wrath of God left for those in rebellion against Him. So if you truly be in Christ, how thankful are you for your salvation? I dare say that we aren’t nearly as thankful as we really should be. Deeper praise and gratitude for our salvation is only one of the many ways we can allow the knowledge of God’s Holiness to manifest in us. I encourage you today to just spend some time alone with the Lord. Find a quiet place, go sit outside, draw a warm bath, go on a short drive perhaps; do something where you can be alone with Him today and begin to meditate upon God’s Holiness. And just begin to thank Him for His work IN you, for His redemption OF you, and His heart FOR you. 

Well, I hope that encourages you and blesses you this week. Until I see you again, have a wonderful week in the Lord. God bless you.