Holiness and Love – A Poem
The other day I saw this quote (on Facebook, I think) by Walter J. Chantry: “The Bible as a whole speaks more of God’s holiness than of His love.”
At first I didn’t think much of it, but this quote kept coming back to me. It just didn’t seem quite right.
Then I wondered if this quote was perhaps supported by the number of times the word “holy” or “holiness” appears in the Bible versus the number of times “love” appears in the Bible. So I decided to check that theory with a word search at Biblegateway.com. What I found was that there are 555 verses that include either the word “holy” or “holiness,” and 698 verses that include the word “love.” So much for that theory.
The more I pondered this quote, I realized what was wrong with it. It suggests that God’s holiness and His love are somehow separate. But I believe it is God’s infinite love that makes Him holy, and His infinite holiness that is expressed as His love.
When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied that it was to love the Lord our God. And that the second greatest command was to love our neighbors as ourselves. Elsewhere in scripture we are called to be holy just as our Father in heaven is holy. It seems to me that love and holiness go hand-in-hand — we cannot have one without the other.
Of course, this whole thought process culminated in a poem.
Holiness and Love
Your holiness upon the cross
I can scarcely bear to see
Revealing love of greatest worth
that sets the captives free
Without such love, no holiness
forever could there be
If not for Your great holiness
You would have no love for me
This is my offering of the day for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night #50. Head over and check out some other great poetry.
Good thinking, and great poem. It seems to me that quotes like the one that started all that are designed to create more fear than love. But I agree with you that God’s holiness and love can really not be separated. I also agree with Rosemary’s comment. Powerful ending!
Jeff, Thanks. It is true that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, by which I mean that having an awe and reverence for Him, not being terrified. I do think that sometimes people try to use the latter meaning of fear to get people to believe. Peace, Linda
This one brought the tears, Linda. Really beautiful and so Him. You had me smiling at how it all culminated in a poem! God bless you!
Deb, What a sweet comment! You are always such an encouragement to me. It does seem that so many of my thoughts culminate in poems these days. 🙂 Our God is so good! Peace, Linda
“If not for Your great holiness
You would have no love for me”
Whew. Strong ending.
Rosemary, Thank you for pointing this out. Even though I wrote the poem, it wasn’t until you pointed out the power in this closing stanza that it really hit me. Thanks for making me re-read it. 🙂 Peace, Linda
I agree! You hit this one out of the park, Linda!
Thanks! Peace, Linda
yep..def. think that they are connected and can’t be separated…i felt the same..
And what an awesome truth that is! 🙂 Peace, Linda
i tend to agree that in many ways they go hand in hand…and i think you find that in your last stanza….
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
To be holy, whole. To be wholly, complete in our Lord for ever. There will be a day when I will come face to face with my Lord and be complete. Thanks for such a beautiful poem. Your Bro. in Christ Richard:)
Richard, I love that verse! Sometimes during prayer I think I see clearly, I can feel Him so close, but I know that vision pales by comparison to how we will see Him in all His glory some day. What a wonderful day that will be, when we fully comprehend His love and holiness. Peace, Linda