The Holiness of God

Speakpeacealways (a great blog, check it out) asked “Weelll… there are sooooo many questions one could ponder on, but the one that has been occupying my mind has been how to define/explain the holiness of God to someone who’s wondering if God exists and if He does, what kind of a person He is… hope that’s an interesting enough question.”

I believe holy basically means set apart (with strong religious connotations). It also has strong connotations of purity. So, I don’t think holiness is one aspect of God’s nature, but a way of describing His whole nature as different. Therefore, I think I would best reply by showing what sets God fundamentally apart from all else.

Truth is set apart from all lies. Likewise God is set apart from all false gods. All people belong to the truth, and the truth belongs to all people; likewise God is necessary for and works upon all people: God is universal, where lies and false gods are relevant only in the minds they live in.
God is perfect, and therefore set apart from all that is imperfect. By what standard is God perfect? By His own, which may be cheating, but since He created everything, only His standard will ever work for us, or anything else.
God is absolute. By this I mean that all He does, He does without half measures. He is not reserved, and does not have finite desires being subdued within Himself at any time. In this sense, He is pure, and apart from all things of half-measures.
God is set apart from us because He cannot be grasped. I mean this in two senses. Firstly, like truth, we cannot control God to our own ends. Secondly, He is beyond our knowledge.

that ye may be in strength to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, to know also the love of the Christ that is exceeding the knowledge, that ye may be filled—to all the fulness of God
Ephesians 3:18-19

God is infinite, and God is mysterious, and is beyond our knowledge. Yet, we may know Him, and even ‘be filled–to all the fulness of God’. This brings us back round to God’s universal nature, accessible to all. He is both ungraspable and universal.

He is also set apart by His actions, particularly His work in Jesus, God the Son.

And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

One thing that sets the Christian God apart from other gods is His willingness to be among us, despite being so far above us.

who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God, but did empty himself, the form of a servant having taken, in the likeness of men having been made, and in fashion having been found as a man, he humbled himself, having become obedient unto death—death even of a cross
Philippians 2:6-8

Here is a God that is humble, setting Him apart from gods and men.
We have a God who chose to die, and death upon a cross. And this of all things was His means of salvation. A God who is without sin, yet descends to Earth and dies for sinners.
Why did Jesus die? Because ‘God is love’. God is apart from us because He is absolute love, and all things good and meaningful have their source in the absolute love that is God.

in this we have known the love, because he for us his life did lay down, and we ought for the brethren the lives to lay down
1John 3:16

The crucifixion was the perfect expression of God’s love. Love in comfort means far less than love in torture, and while God may have loved us from power,He decided to do so better from weakness.

God’s holiness is all His own, and yet we may share in it (His sharing also sets Him apart).

and we—we have known and believed the love, that God hath in us; God is love, and he who is remaining in the love, in God he doth remain, and God in him.
1John 4:16

God’s people are set apart by their conduct, their humility, their courage, their hope, their faith, and especially their love. As God is holy, so are they.
If you’re seeking to see God’s holiness in action, they are probably your fastest option.

God bless you.

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