The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” – Revelation 4:8
God is holy. What does it mean to be holy? Most people usually think it simply means being morally good or pure. Though it is true that God is morally perfect, the holiness of God is so much more. To say that God is holy is to say that there is none like Him. God is on a completely different level and beyond our full comprehension. To be holy is to be wholly other or set apart. Thus, the holiness of God is an expression of His unique and unparalleled power, glory, and majesty that radiates throughout the cosmos. God’s holiness is so bright and powerful that it can actually be dangerous for those who come too close to it. This is why Isaiah 6:2-3 records the seraphim covering their faces and feet with their wings when they are in the presence of God’s holiness in the heavenly throne room. Additionally, when Moses encountered God at the burning bush, God warned him not to come any closer and to take off his sandals for he was standing on holy ground (Exodus 3:5). Like the seraphim, Moses responded by covering his face out of godly fear. This should be every one of our responses to the holiness of God. We must worship the Lord with reverent honor and godly fear. Hebrews 12:28-29 states, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” What does it mean for God to be a consuming fire? I think the sun in our galaxy gives us just a small taste of what the consuming fire of God’s holiness is like. The sun produces light and heat that enables and sustains life. Likewise, God is the light of the world and is the source of life. However, if you were to get too close to the sun, you would be destroyed. The sun will annihilate anything that comes into contact with it, not because the sun is evil, but because it is so good and powerful. This is kind of what it is like to be in the presence of God’s holiness. If we were to get too close, it would utterly destroy us.
Although Scripture reveals that God is holy, it also reveals that God is calling us to be holy. 1 Peter 1:16 states, “Be holy, for I am holy.” The God of the universe invites us to be like Him. Though we will never be God, He allows those who trust in Him and follow Christ to be a part of His holy nation. 1 Peter 2:9 notes, we “are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (Italics added for emphasis). So, how can we be set apart and become holy? It is only possible by the grace of God. Only by Christ’s work and death on the cross can we obtain righteousness and become holy. When we trust in Jesus, we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). As new creations, we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). And wherever God’s presence is so too is His holiness. Thus, those in Christ become a holy temple where the Spirit lives. Just like the ground that Moses was standing on became holy because of God’s presence, so too does the church become holy when the Spirit regenerates us. Because of the blood of Christ, we not only have direct access and communion with a God who is holy, but we actually become holy! We are justified (declared holy) at the moment we trust in Christ’s holiness, and we continue to be sanctified (grow in holiness) as we continue to walk with Him. And on the final day when we see God face to face, we will not be destroyed, but changed and glorified (made completely holy) forever. Therefore, let us strive to grow in holiness as we continue to fix our eyes upon the holiness of Christ.
God is holy! Worship Him today.