Holy, Holy, Holy

What Is God’s Holiness?

Who among the gods is like you, O Lord? Who is like you—majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?

Exodus 15:11

Holiness is God’s infinite glory manifested to the world through his sinlessness of character, purity of intention, and righteousness of person. God is right, acts right, and does right. God’s holiness opposes wrong and his love reaches out to the wrongdoer. God’s holiness opposes sin for sin turns the world upside down, inside out, and wrong side up. Sin brings destruction, pain, and suffering to all. It denigrates God’s majesty and exalts humankind’s pride and rebellion. God’s holiness stands against sin’s evil, and therefore, gives God glory. God is beautiful for he cares about rampant injustice, ugly selfishness, and our self-inflicted pain.

It is his glory and beauty. Holiness is the honour of the creature; sanctification and honour are linked together (1 Thess. iv. 4); much more is it the honour of God; it is the image of God in the creature (Epn. iv. 24). When we take the picture of a man, we draw the most beautiful part, the face, which is a member of the greatest excellency. When God would be drawn to the life, as much as can be, in the spirit of his creatures, he is drawn in this attribute, as being the most beautiful perfection of God, and most valuable with him. Power is his hand and arm; omniscience, his eye; mercy, his bowels; eternity, his duration; his holiness is his beauty (2 Chron. xx. 21);—’ should praise the beauty of holiness.’ In Ps. xxvii. 4, David desires ‘to behold the beauty of the Lord, and inquire in his holy temple;’ that is, the holiness of God manifested in his hatred of sin in the daily sacrifices. Holiness was the beauty of the temple (Isa. xlvi. 11); holy and beautiful house are joined together; much more the beauty of God that dwelt in the sanctuary. This renders him lovely to all his innocent creatures, though formidable to the guilty ones. . . . And the angels’ song intimate it to be his glory (Isa. vi. 3); ‘The whole earth is full of thy glory;’ that is, of his holiness in his laws, and in his judgments against sin, that being the attribute applauded by them before.

Stephen Charnock, “The Atributes and Existence of God,” Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol. One.



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