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Who is God? The Holy One

February 2, 2015

Grace to you! So far we’ve seen that the One true God is self-existing and triune. This week we will look at God’s holiness. Although the word ‘holy’ as been largely dropped in our everyday language, the bible overwhelmingly uses the word ‘holy’, especially when talking about the Lord. But what does it mean?

The bible word dictionaries define holy as “consecrated, dedicated, or set apart.” When speaking of the LORD it is referring to that fact that God is sacred, He is set apart from everything else. Why? Because only God is God! There is nothing else in His category. In short, “I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God!” (Isaiah 45:5)

God’s set-apartness is articulating what God’s ‘God-ness’ is. Every characteristic of God that we have looked at and will look at is always a ‘holy’ characteristic. When we speak of God’s love it is not a mere sentimentalism on God’s part towards people. God’s love is always holy love. It’s why He loves people but still judges them. God’s holy love will not be compromised in light of our sin. For God to deny His holiness would be for God to deny what it means to be God. And obviously, this is something God cannot do.

God’s holiness is moreover to be reflected in our lives. We are to “be holy as He is holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) How can we be holy when we aren’t God? And how can we be holy when we have so much sin?

We can be holy in the sense that we are ‘consecrated and set apart’ for God. When we commit our lives to Jesus Christ we are dedicating our lives to him. In short, we are made ‘holy’ for the Lord. Our lives are now no longer lived for ourselves but rather for Him who died and rose again on our behalf. (see 2 Corinthians 9:15)

But again, how can we be holy if we have so much sin? This is what Jesus does for us. First, He declares us as holy because He gives us His righteousness on our account as if we kept all of the law and never sinned! (2 Corinthians 5:21) Then, He begins a lifetime work of purifying us more from our sin and leading us into godliness. Finally, when He takes us home from this world or returns to take us to Himself He will once and for all finalize our holiness. We will forever be with Him, dedicated and consecrated to Him, and never sin anymore!

The bible calls all Christians ‘saints’, even a group of Christians messed up as the Corinthians! (1 Corinthians 1:2) The word ‘saint’ is from the same word as ‘holy’. Christians are ‘holy ones’. It’s not because they have it all together; it’s because they are dedicated and set apart for the One they know who loved them enough to give His very own life for them! God’s holiness is the characteristic of God that becomes the basis, ironically enough, of God making salvation available in His Son, the Lord Jesus!

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