Lately I find that it is God’s holiness that comforts me. This is odd because for so long it was His holiness that scared me. After all I couldn’t be farther from holy, much less ever come close to a holy God. Until I began to understand the Gospel of God’s Kingdom in Jesus, and that it is God’s holiness that stands at the center of every Divine move He makes for His glory and our good.
Now the deep and beautiful reality that God is so completely “other” than any created (or imaginable) thing in heaven or on earth both astonishes and humbles me. You could say it settles me.
When I am filled with fear, His holiness comforts me. There is no fear-mongering found in Him (1 John 4:16). I am loved. He is holy.
When I doubt, His holiness comforts me. There is no deceit in Him, for His promises are sure (Hebrews 6:18). I am secure. He is holy.
When I am restless, His holiness comforts me. There is a firm foundation established in Jesus Christ, upon which I have been placed (1 Corinthians 3:11). I am safe. He is holy.
When I am in distress, His holiness comforts me. There is justice and it serves as His throne’s foundation (Psalm 89:14). I am heard. He is holy.
When I sin, yes, even then His holiness comforts me. There is mercy and grace promised to me in Jesus Christ (1 John 2:1-2; Hebrews 4:14-16). In Him and Him alone is my righteousness and salvation (2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:20-26). On the cross Jesus said it was finished (John 19:30). His performance is my perfection (Ephesians 1:3-8). I trust Him. I am God’s child. He is holy.
Holy–when there is fear, doubt, restlessness, distress, sin–I cry holy, holy, holy!
I praise and thank God in Jesus Christ that He is holy. And I praise and thank God that in Jesus Christ there is tender mercy, abounding grace, and faithful love for a wretch like me.
So I sing with all the saints, “Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty. God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!” Thank you, my Lord and my King. Thank you.
“Lord, your testimonies are completely reliable; holiness is the beauty of Your house for all the days to cme.” (Psalm 93:5 HCSB)
Question (feel free to respond in the comments section): How does God’s holiness comfort you? How could His holiness comfort you?
Holiness, or “otherness”, is that He is different than all the negatives or failure we experience? In other words, He is something completely different than the brokenness or failures we experience in this created mess, but His greatness is everlasting while all the other goods in this life are temporal?
Good way to flesh out God’s holiness. Stuff to chew on for sure.
this does exactly what a blog post about God should do. It reminds us of an essential aspect of God’s character, supports the claim with more than just personal feeling or experience, gives us personal experience to connect it to our own lives, and encourages us to orient ourselves to recieve more knowledge and experience of God’s love and work in our lives. It’s something I don’t think we talk about enough, maybe because it can be hard to find the joy in it, but the simple fact that so holy, so powerful, so perfect a God would even deign to talk to us is arguably the first thing to be said in communicating the greatest news of all.
We could thank Him for choosing to make us.
We could thank Him for making us the top of the food chain.
We could thank Him for ever speaking to us.
We could thank Him for commissioning multiple prophetic oracles and other stories that have become the Bible.
We could thank Him for countless prayers have been heard and answered.
We could thank Him for Jesus, and the countless blessings that entails.
Can we even truly understand, especially with our knack for narcissism, that He didn’t have to do any of this?
What if the sun CHOSE to shine? Would we be grateful?
What if the rain CHOSE to fall? Would we be grateful?
What if the plants we eat CHOSE to grow? Would we be grateful?
What if the heat waves of Texas CHOSE to end, the mortal wounds CHOSE to heal, the stillborn body CHOSE to breathe?
And yet all of this, every single thing, was wrought of a choice. A choice made by a God who is love.
What if our minds, our hearts, and our lives could actually do justice to the idea, “God, thank You for everything”?
Maybe we should try to find that out.
When I reflect on the “holiness” of God, I am drawn again and again to two passages of Scripture: Isaiah 6 and Luke 5. Both Isaiah and Peter experience the same rush of feelings and thoughts in that they are terrified to be in presence of the Lord (tremendum), but yet they are drawn to the fascination of that holiness at the same time (fascinans). It’s in that tension and turmoil that the mystery is exposed — being in the presence of the “holy” Lord is both terrifying and fascinating. It both repels and attracts.
Like Isaiah and Peter, we are drawn to the “otherness” of God, but when we come face to face with it, we are repelled once again due to our own sinfulness. In one moment, we’re saying, “send me, Lord” and in the next, we’ve turned away, hidden our faces and cried, “get away from me, Lord. For I am a sinful man.” And God’s response is the same every time. For Isaiah, it was a coal that touched his lips that cleansed him of his sin. For Peter, it was Jesus commissioning him to be a “fisher of men” and calling him into discipleship.
And that to me is the most amazing thing about this “holy” and magnificent God — that He is so holy and perfect and other that we can’t even be in his presence in our current sinful state — that even despite that, he sent someone to “bridge the gap”, to reconcile and restore, to allow us to be able to say, “here am I. Send me.” and be confident in that proclamation that we are indeed sent by the Holy to call others into relationship with Him. Amazing love… how can it be?