Written by cycleguy on July 25th, 2011

If you read my last post, you know that I preached on God’s holiness yesterday.   I’d like to follow that up with some more thoughts than I was able to put into that post.

I think we can all testify to the power of fire.   In history we can read the story of the Great Chicago Fire that was supposedly started when Mrs. O’Leary’s cow knocked over a lantern during a particularly dry spell of weather.  By the time the fire was contained, it had destroyed a good part of Chicago.   In 1988, Yellowstone National Park caught fire and by the time it was contained, over 1.4 million acres of forest had  been burned.  Several months later growth appeared everywhere. The fire had actually burned away the underbrush, while the heat from the fire split open the hulls of the pine cones, releasing seeds and yielding a forest of little saplings.  New spears of grass appeared, and a bumper crop of wildflowers carpeted the meadows.  When a fire hits, everything changes.

God’s holiness has been compared to a fire.  Fire destroys the dead, purifies, and transforms the landscape.  No one can stand up to that firestorm.  What does it mean when it speaks of God’s holiness? It means His character is perfect in every way.  He is totally pure. His moral excellence is the absolute standard.  God is without sin.  He doesn’t conform to some holy standard-He is the standard.  He never does anything wrong.  He is the standard of integrity and purity.

That is all well and good to know that…but it doesn’t mean squat if it does nothing to us.   How are we to respond to His holiness?  I suggest three ways:

Because God is holy, we must give Him reverence and respect.   This is called “fear” in the Bible.  Not the kind of fear we might have when scared or alone or after seeing a horror flick.  God wants our respect, our awe, and our admiration.   I am afraid that we have, in many ways, lost our respect and awe for God.  I daresay, this may be especially true in our worship gatherings.  I am not referring to our dress, or whether we allow food or drink in our auditoriums,  or the type of music we play.  Awe and respect come from the heart.

Because God is holy and hates sin, we also must turn away from sin.  Take a look at Isaiah’s reaction to the realization of God’s holiness.  “Woe is me!”  If we are to live holy lives, we need to hate sin as much as God does.  After all, we are His sanctuary (not the building).

Because God is holy, we must serve Him with life-changing devotion. Peter speaks of that in I Peter 1:14-16: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Talk about a kicker!  We have been made holy for a divine purpose.  We need to live that purpose.

What do you think?  How would you define holiness to a new  believer or one seeking to know Jesus?  Have you ever had one of those moments where God’s holiness overwhelmed you, and you came face-to-face with your sin?  I’d like to hear your thoughts.


22 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jon says:

    When, I think of holiness, I think of being separate; being in a class by oneself. God is in a class by himself and He is way beyond anything we can truly fathom. I think of Samuel 2:22– there is no one holy like the Lord….
    I’ve definitely had moments where I’ve come face-to-face with my sins..a lot of times His holiness has hit me through prayer/quiet times.

  2. Moe says:

    I would just say that God’s holiness is so divine that John in Revelation fell down as if dead due to the overwhelming Glory. Just like a fire of great proportion, you feel useless, helpless and totally overwhelmed by what you feel with all your senses, sight, hearing, touch, smell.

    The only way to see the holiness of God is through the person of Jesus Christ.

    • cycleguy says:

      I believe that is exactly what Isaiah experienced also. Gives an even greater picture of the magnificence of Rev 4 & 5. thanks Moe.

  3. Dan Black says:

    Great points on being holy. I totally agree with your thoughts.

    Holiness to me is to be close to God and to have His image shine through us. During worship times (Both in private and during church) allow me to feel and experience His holiness. Great thoughts.

  4. I like Hannah’s prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1-10.

    God is Holy. He is unique and separate from all else. His power is beyond measure. There is no other above Him or like Him.

    He instills His own with His holiness. It’s all His.

    As Moe wrote, His Glory completely overwhelms me.

  5. Jim F says:

    It is a struggle to really define well holiness to a new believer but I would say being separated unto God and for God’s purposes.

    There have been a couple of points when I really have come face to face with my sinfulness.

    I like the others see Isaiah 6 and Revelation as portions that really speak to it.

    Good thoughts!

    • cycleguy says:

      It is hard Jim to define that to a new believer. Many older ones don’t even know! 🙁 Coming face to face with our sinfulness like Isaiah did is hard to take but essential.

  6. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,
    This subject is a challenge. I would say that the fear of God is a real fear. A scared type of fear. May be a bit like the child and parent relationship. When the child knows they have done something wrong or disobeyed there is a fearfulness of getting caught and of facing the consequences. We can’t hide our actions from God at any time. We are caught red-handed.

    So there is a power and authority on the side of the parent that the child does not have. The parent makes the choice of discipline and of consequences. When we look at God in somewhat the same way as our parent, we realize that we are totally in his hands. He will do what he wishes.

    Today we look at God as the baby in the manger, the sacrificial savior, the forgiver of sins, etc. but we have forgotten that he hates sin and if we don’t get our sin dealt with and overcome in our lives we’re going to be impartially judged.

    We are given a picture in Revelation about what Jesus is like when he comes back again. He’s the judge. And he’s no respector of persons the Bible says.

    • cycleguy says:

      You are right Linda, it is a challenge. If fear is respect and reverence, then I am all for it. I don’t believe we ought to have the fear of God like we would from a horror movie. But we do need to deal with our sin. Thanks for the comment.

  7. Joseph says:

    “If we are to live holy lives, we need to hate sin as much as God does” I believe we are from this. We have become a culture that has the mind set that it’s ok to sin because we all do it. Someone sin’s…. it’s ok, we all sin. We must strive to be people who when we sin it makes us sick. We should strive to be at a place where the action of a sin has us repenting on the spot.

    To be honest with you, I have noclue of God’s holiness. I’m searching, but I have to be honest and say I’m nowhere close to even slightly understanding what God is all about.

    • cycleguy says:

      You are right joseph. We are far from it. our culture has accepted way too easily what God says is wrong. Keep searching and you will not be disappointed. Thanks for the comment…and honesty.

  8. Mercy says:

    Wow, it’s funny that the verse you mentioned in the third way of responding to God’s holiness was what I meditated on yesterday before I slept and this morning when I woke up.
    When I think of holiness, I think of purity, something whiter than snow, I think of a light brighter than the sun.

    • cycleguy says:

      The way God works sometimes amazes me (and it shouldn’t). what great verses to meditate on. Purity is good description/definition for holiness. Thanks Mercy.

  9. Larry Hughes says:

    Well I can’t say that I am trully at a pinacle of Holiness with God because I do sin I guess and I do get caught when He is letting me ramble in past History memories.

    Never fails but one of my former transgressions does pop up and I say a prayer asking God’s forgiveness. I think He does forgive me as such.

    I will certainly experience God’s Holiness in a short time soon.

    • cycleguy says:

      I believe the only one at the pinnacle of holiness is Jesus Himself, Larry. As long as we live in this flesh we will sin. What I am excited about is His forgiveness. Thanks for your comment.

  10. tom says:

    God’s holiness always overwhelms me. To think we are called to be holy is also overwhelming and takes us to grace. We come face to face with HIS holiness and Spirit as we realize our total inability to be holy on our own strength.

    • cycleguy says:

      Your last line is so true Tom! I become aware of my inability each time I come into His presence. So good to hear from you. Thanks.