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"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15


The Holiness of God

From The Pulpit Cyclopædia, 1851

     "Glorious in holiness." (Exodus 15:11)



By the holiness of God is meant the essential purity and perfection of his moral character. This attribute of Deity is often presented to our consideration in the Scriptures. He often proclaimed his holiness to his ancient people, the Jews—"Ye shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy." (Lev. 19:2)


The seraphim and cherubim cry one to another, "Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts." (Isa 6:3) He is said to be so holy that he cannot behold evil, nor look on iniquity. He says, by Isaiah the prophet, 43:15, "I am the Lord, your holy One."


Now, we observe that:


I. GOD IS HOLY IN HIS NATURE AND ESSENCE.


As a perfect being, he is necessarily and infinitely removed from all evil. He is the centre of perfection. His will and mind are holy; his purposes and counsels are holy. This is the supreme dignity of the divine nature, that it is perfectly holy. This constitutes the moral grandeur and beauty of God; this, in the language of the text, is his essential glory - "Glorious in holiness." God cannot be otherwise than holy, for he is as necessarily holy as he is necessarily God. Nothing could affect his holiness—it is the immutable brightness of his character, "For in him is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5)


II. GOD IS HOLY IN ALL HIS WORKS.


The first-born sons of glory were created in all the excellency of holiness; they are called the holy angels. In the creation of man he displayed his holiness, creating him in his perfect and upright likeness. In all the works of nature he made everything according to the counsels of his own purity and wisdom, and pronounced the whole very good. Whatever proceedeth from his hands must of necessity be holy.


III. GOD IS HOLY IN HIS DOMINION AND GOVERNMENT.


All the laws which relate to intellectual and moral beings must be the emanations of his holy mind. Such was the law given to the first of our race; such was the moral law, "holy, just, and good." So were all the ceremonial institutions, &c., designed to express the holy character of God, and the necessity of holiness in his creatures. However inexplicable to us the ways of God, however much clouds and darkness may surround him, yet absolute purity and rectitude are the basis of his throne. He is righteous in all his ways, &c. The laws and principles of the government of God, whether affecting angels, or men, or devils, are all just and holy. There is no unrighteousness in him.


IV. GOD IS HOLY IN HIS WORD.


Hence his Word is called "the Holy Scriptures." Every word of God is pure. (Prov. 30:5) His word must necessarily resemble himself, being the revelation of his holy mind. Here the holiness of God is made known to us. Without this we could not have seen it in the works of nature, &c. But the Bible is a mirror of the divine purity. Here he shines forth in all the resplendent rays of holiness. His word, also, is the perfect rule of holiness. Here are holy statutes—holy counsels—holy precepts—holy warnings—holy promises—and invitations to holiness. Here holiness is taught in all its principles, and features, and importance. It is also the instrument of holiness. It tends to the change of the character, and the sanctification of the heart. It cleanses like holy water—purifies and refines as holy fire—it renews as the pure and vital air.


V. GOD IS HOLY, ESPECIALLY IN HUMAN REDEMPTION.


The great object of redemption was to exhibit the divine holiness to all creatures and all worlds. He embodied it in the obedience of his Son—he taught it in his doctrines—confirmed it by his miracles—wrote it in crimson characters with his precious blood. The end of man's redemption was his restoration to holiness - "To redeem us from all iniquity." (Titus 2:14) Hence the blood of the great sacrifice is represented as "cleansing from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)


VI. GOD IS HOLY IN THE DISPENSATION OF HIS GRACE.


The revelation of that gracious dispensation is by the holy and glorious gospel of the blessed God. He calls with a holy calling; he regenerates and makes men holy; he imparts his Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of his people; he adopts them into his holy family—he guides their feet in the way of holiness; he beautifies them with holy virtues. Within them he infuses the holy graces of his Spirit—and they are enabled to have a holy conversation, and to grow in holiness of life, by increasing conformity to his holy likeness.


VII. GOD WILL BE HOLY IN THE DECISIONS OF JUDGMENT.


He will then sit on the great white throne of his holiness. He will judge men by his holy law and word. His decisions, both as it regards saints and sinners, men and angels, will be in strict accordance with his holy nature.


OBSERVATIONS


1. How greatly should God be feared by his saints! With what awe, and lowliness, and fear, should they draw near to worship him! How evil to use his name lightly, or to worship him with heedless levity!


2. How evil must sin be in his sight! It is the one and only thing that he abhors and hates.


3. We see why sinners must necessarily be excluded from heaven. It is God's holy place; there is his throne and attendants—it is his holy temple.


4. We see the moral grandeur of the gospel: to bring men back to holiness, and thus eventually to God, and to eternal life.