The Holiness of God

What have others said? R.C. Sproul

The one concept, the central idea I kept meeting in Scripture, was the idea that God is holy. The word was foreign to me. I wasn’t sure what it meant. I made the question a matter of diligent and persistent search. Today I am still absorbed with the question of the holiness of God. I am convinced that it is one of the most important ideas that a Christian can ever grapple with. It is basic to our whole understanding of God and of Christianity.

The idea of holiness is so central to biblical teaching that it is said of God, “Holy is His name” (Luke 1:49). His name is holy because He is holy. His not always treated with holy reverence. His name is tramped through the dirt of this world. It functions as a curse word, a platform for the obscene. That the world has little respect for God is vividly seen by the way the world regards His name. No honor. No reverence. No awe before Him.

If I were to ask a group of Christians what the top priority of the church is, I am sure I would get a wide variety of answers. Some would say evangelism, others social action, and still others spiritual nurture. But I have yet to hear anyone talk about what Jesus’ priorities were.

What is the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer? Jesus said, “This, then is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven…’”(Matt. 6:9). The first line of the prayer is not a petition. It is a form of personal address. The prayer continues: “Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come” (Matt. 6:9-10). We often confuse the words “hallowed be your name” with part of the address, as if the words were “hallowed is your name.” In that case the words would merely be an ascription of praise to God. But that is not how Jesus said it. He uttered it as a petition, as the first petition. We should be praying that God’s name be hallowed, that God be regarded as holy.

There is a kind of sequence within the prayer. God’s kingdom will never come where His name is not considered holy. His will is not done on earth as it is in heaven if His name is desecrated here. In heaven the name of God is holy. It is breathed by angels in a sacred hush. Heaven is a place where reverence for God is total. It is foolish to look for the kingdom anywhere God is not revered.

(*This comes from Sproul’s book, “The Holiness of God.” I highly recommend this book!)

Verses to Meditate Upon:

“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isaiah 6:3)

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25a)

Questions to Consider:

  • When you think of God as holy, what comes to your mind?
  • Has there ever been a time that you have been overcome by God’s holiness? If so, what was that time like?
  • Isaiah’s response to God’s holiness was, “Woe is me?” What is your response?
  • What does it mean for you to be holy in the coming week?

Action to Take

  • Make a commitment to coming to a better understanding of God’s holiness (e.g. read a book; study passages of Scripture that; listen to others sermons).
  • Evaluate the areas of your life that conflict with the holiness of God and through the help of the Holy Spirit, go to battle against it.
  • Memorize 1 Peter 1:13-17 to battle against your sin.