Worshiping God Through The Alphabet - H
Back in the mid-70’s gauchos were very popular for girls and women. On a shopping trip (an activity I have never been fond of) my mom wanted to buy me a pair of these ultra-wide legged short pants. I didn’t like the look but Mom made me try some on. I was staunch in my resistance to having a pair and Mom relented.
The fact that I didn’t care a whit about the most fashionable items (gauchos and others) for a girl’s wardrobe set me apart from most young ladies my age. I really didn’t care.
But on other issues I wanted to be like other girls. I didn’t want to be unique.
God, in His holiness, is calling us to be unique. Unique like Him.
God is Unique, Set Apart, Holy
According to The New Living Translation Study Bible, when the Bible calls the one true God “holy,” it is expressing that He is unique...
Holiness is the fundamental descriptor of who God is. It is not merely one of his many attributes; it is the key to his very being. Calling God “the Holy One” speaks to the transcendence of his nature, in sharp contrast to the finite creation, whose creatures are bound by time and space. God speaks of himself as “I AM WHO I AM” (Exod 3:14), defining himself by himself. God is the Wholly Other, the One who is completely self-sufficient and distinct from the created order.
In every installment of this series we’ve actually been defining ways He is holy. Let’s hone in today on this key that will give us insight into who God is.
Holy, Holy, Holy
I’m not sure when I learned that God is holy, but it seems like I have known that part of God’s character longer than any other – except perhaps love.
Did you learn it as I did in a hymn?
Holy, holy, holyLord God AlmightyAll thy works shall praise thy nameIn earth and sky and sea
It definitely wasn’t until many years later that I learned that this hymn was written to express God’s holiness in terms of all three persons of the Godhead.
God, the Father
God described Himself as holy as He instructed the Israelites in His plan for their holiness.
For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. .. 45 For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’” Leviticus 11:44-45
Over and over in Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, God gives instruction and the stated purpose is consistent - so Israel would be holy. But not just set apart in any way. Set apart to be like God. Set apart to represent God to the nations.
God, the Son
When Gabriel came to Mary to announce she would be the mother of the Messiah, he stated clearly that He would be the Son of God and would be holy.
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35 (NLT)
This makes sense, doesn’t it? Being the Son of God and one with God (John 17:22), we can know that Jesus Christ is also Holy.
What always amazes me is that even the demons recognized Him as the “Holy One” when they encountered Him.
”Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Mark 1:24
As we read the New Testament, we can see that the apostles referred to Christ as holy repeatedly as they evangelized their world.
God, the Holy Spirit
As the “Spirit of the Lord,” the Holy Spirit also bears the descriptions and character of God the Father and God the Son.
Jesus promised that He would send a helper for us and that He would always be with us. These promises and many others are fulfilled in the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. In the New Testament, we can find great teaching on the role of the Holy Spirit for believers.
Each person of the Trinity and, thus, the One True God, is holy.
Not only does the well-loved hymn quoted above tell us about the holiness of the Trinity, but as we sing it, we are proclaiming the same refrain as the cherubim in God’s throne room recorded in Isaiah 6:3:
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory
And in Revelation 4:8:
And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”
The whole earth is full of His glory! He is, was and will be! Who can compete with that? No one!
God’s People, Places and Things
A quick search in your electronic Bible will reveal that many things God set apart for His special use were also considered holy. Click here for a partial list and related scripture references.
God still sets apart those who belong to Him. When scripture refers to saints, it distinguishes those who are holy - set apart for God.
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people [or saints] who are his rich and glorious inheritance. Ephesians 1:18 (emphasis added)
The Impact of God’s Holiness On Us
God’s holiness is what makes grace so amazing. He is so far above and beyond anything or anyone else. Any effort we make in our flesh only proves that we cannot be set apart in the way He desires unless we appropriate His power for it.
According to the New Living Translation Study Bible Notes,
It is common to describe God’s holiness in terms of his separation from sin and his wrath against it, but holiness embraces all of God’s character, including his mercy.
Praise God, who is unique and distinct from every human and other worshiped idol. He is the only one worthy of being called holy. That is not even a word that other religions attribute to their leaders.
And thanks be to God that through His mercy and grace, He made the way for us to be seen as holy in His eyes – through Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Set Apart From the World
I still don’t like gauchos on me (although they are not nearly as popular as they used to be). In fact, I’m still not a fashion hound seeking to look like other women. I don’t mind being viewed as separate for my own comfort.
But as I grow in my relationship with the Lord, I have an increasing desire to be set apart in every way that pleases Him, no matter the discomfort that might result.
Jesus told His followers (those set apart through faith in Him) that there would be persecution and hate - even from our own families. What a paradox that to have the joy of walking with the Lord, we will face challenges, including hatred.
What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. Luke 6:22 (NLT)
Instead of being shocked or offended when we are considered an outcast, Jesus told us it is a blessing to be viewed as set apart. It means we look like Him!
Not Separated From Christ
Yet being set apart BY Him and FOR Him doesn’t mean being set apart FROM Him. Paul makes this clear in Romans 8:38-29 that once we are in Christ, we cannot be separated FROM Him. Good news, indeed!
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
Holy Father, you would not be the great God I long to know better without your holiness. How we praise you for your holiness that is unchanging.
We praise you for your holiness that would keep us away but ultimately draws us Near. Our sinfulness would result in destruction, but you are slow to anger and abounding in love.
Thank you for not withdrawing from obstinate people who want to love you more but mess up much in the journey. Thank you for pursuing us to make us holy through Christ’s sacrifice and victory over death
We praise You for Your provision to make us holy in Your sight. Give us an increasing desire to be set apart and differentiated from the world, trusting in the joy you give.