None Greater-Week 2
Topic: Holiness of God Scripture: Isaiah 6:1–7
None Greater Sunday, November 5, 2023
"The church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshipping men. With our loss of a sense of majesty has come the further loss of religious awe and sense of the divine presence. We have lost our spirit of worship and our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. " A.W. Tozer
God is Holy, Holy, Holy and We Should Be Like Him
“A true love to God must begin with a delight in His holiness.” J. Edwards
“We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God’s holiness is not simply the best we know, infinitely better. We know nothing like divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. Only the spirit of the Holy can impart to the human spirit the knowledge of the holy.” A.W. Tozer
Holiness of God Defined
"What do we mean when we talk about the holiness of God? To answer that question we must not begin with ethics. Ethics is involved, as we will see. But in its original and most fundamental sense, holy is not an ethical concept at all. Rather it means that which is of the very nature of God and which therefore distinguishes him from everything else. It is what sets God apart from his creation. It has to do with his transcendence.” Boyce
When the Bible speaks of the Holiness of God it has two distinct meanings:
- “Otherness or “Separate” – (1 Samuel 2:2; Exodus 15:11; Rev. 15:3)
"The primary meaning of holy is ‘separate.’ It comes from an ancient word that meant, ‘to cut,’ or ‘to separate.’ Perhaps even more accurate would be the phrase ‘a cut above something’…When the Bible calls God holy it means primarily that God is transcendentally separate. He is so far above and beyond us that He seems almost totally foreign to us. To be holy is to be ‘other,’ to be different in a special way. The same basic meaning is used when the word holy is applied to earthly things." RC Sproul
“Purity” – (Psalm 99:1-9; Psalm 5:5; Psalm 7:11)
The second aspect of holiness (and the one we generally think of first) is the idea of purity. God is good. He does what is right and never does what is wrong. God is unstained by, and uncompromising with sin.
"The holiness of God is not to be conceived of as one attribute among others; it is, rather, a general term representing the conception of his consummate perfection and total glory. It is his infinite moral perfection crowning his infinite intelligence and power." A. Hodge
Isaiah’s Vision of God’s Holiness
v.1 – God’s answer for Uzziah’s death is this. Your king maybe dead, but your GOD is still on the throne.
v.2,3 - Angels responding to the holiness of God and crying out “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
"Holiness is the sparkling jewel in [God’s] crown, the name by which he is known….His power makes him mighty, his holiness makes him glorious." Thomas Watson
“Holiness is the crown of all His attributes, the life of all His decrees, the brightness of all His actions. Nothing is decreed by Him, nothing is acted by Him, but what is worthy of the dignity, and becoming the honour, of this attribute.” Stephen Charnock
Our Response to God’s Holiness
v.5 – “And I said, ‘Woe is me! For I am lost for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
"The point is that the experience of confronting the Holy is supremely threatening. The worshiper is drawn to the Holy, but at the same time he is terrified by it. The awe-inspiring, overpowering energy of the Holy threatens to destroy him." Boyce
"Hence that dread and amazement with which, as Scripture uniformly relates, holy men were struck and overwhelmed whenever they beheld the presence of God. . . . Men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God." J. Calvin
Moses – Ex. 3:1-6; Ezekiel – Ezekiel 1:28; Peter – Luke 5:1-11; Paul – Acts 9:4-9
The Holiness of God Answer for Sin
v.6,7 - Isaiah's guilt is taken away but it is not shrugged off. He tells Isaiah that his sin "is atoned for". In other words, it was paid for.
How? It was paid for in Jesus. How can that be, you ask? Isaiah lived many hundreds of years before Jesus. But the promise had been made. The plan was in place. God forgave Isaiah on the basis of what Christ was going to do hundreds of years later. Just like He is willing to forgive you and me on the basis of what He has done many hundreds of years before us.
“…but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15,16
How can we be holy? Remember our definition?
Separate and purity – When we become Jesus followers, we are to be separate from this world. To be holy is to be ‘other,’ to be different in a special way. RC
We are nothing like the world and we are called to be pure! God is unstained by, and uncompromising with sin. We are to be this way as well!
So let’s follow wholeheartedly this holy God and live like Him!