People often talk about how God is love, which He is. This is an important part of God’s character. But there is another characteristic of God that people focus on less often, and that I want to focus on today. God is Holy.
The American Heritage Dictionary online defines the word holy as: “Regarded with or worthy of worship or veneration; revered; Regarded as deserving special respect or reverence.” This definition as applied to God is revealed in Heaven. There is a never-ending song that the angels in Heaven sing:
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory. Isaiah 6:3.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come. Revelation 4:8.
I like both of these passages because of the triple “holy” that reminds me of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And I like the image of the angels never ceasing to magnify God’s holiness.
Regarding the word holy, my Holman Illustrated Pocket Bible Dictionary says:
God’s people are to be holy because God is holy. In this sense, God’s holiness is the complete perfection of His attributes such as power and goodness. God’s holiness is a humbling and even terrifying thing when revealed to weak and sinful men (e.g., Isa. 6:5; Luke 5:8; Rev. 1:17).
Wow! Not only is God holy, but we are called to be holy. How can that possibly be? We are but sinners saved by Grace? The key is that our holiness is not our own. In the New testament, believers are called saints, which means “holy ones.” But we are holy only because we are clothed in the holiness of Christ Jesus. Our holiness is a gift just as our salvation is. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17.