As you read this, please pray for a proper understanding of God’s true size and might. Let Isaiah’s vision of God (Isa. 6:1-7) un-box your view of God. God is holy. He is sacred, set apart, and unlike all else. Holiness isn’t just an attribute of God; it is the essence of who God is. It’s impossible to define holiness without God and God without holiness. His holiness has many facets: His ways are pure, His works are powerful, and His words are our promise.
Isaiah recorded that his vision came the year King Uzziah died. After 52 years of stability, Israel would undergo a political upheaval. But even though Isaiah’s king was dead, God was still alive; Israel’s throne was empty, but God was still seated on His. He is seated on His throne: He is settled, confident, and in control. His throne is lofty and exalted. God is not just the ‘man upstairs’ or the ‘big guy.’ He is hallowed; He is holy. “We cannot embrace His nearness to the point of forgetting His transcendence.”
God’s train filling the temple symbolizes His authority over all creation. Of all the things that could have been said, the fiery angels sang “Holy, holy, holy!” back and forth. God’s anger caused a rumbling and an earthquake in the heavenly realm. If the walls and posts tremble before God, shouldn’t we? The prophet’s response was one of repentance: ‘I am ruined, I deserve judgment.’ When He saw God as He really was, he saw himself as he really was. So God sent an angel to purify his sinfulness – thus creating holiness in the prophet. His confession led to his cleansing.
God is Unique in Purity
There is none like Him (Exo. 15:11); there is none that even comes close to Him (Isa. 45:5; 1 Sam. 2:2). Every other being / thing is tainted and falls so much shorter than God. David and Moses rightly propose that God is so pure that nothing could even compare to Him. Many have tried to measure their own purity only to discover that it falls woefully short of God’s holiness (Isa. 64:6).
God’s Power is Above All
God, on His worst day (if it were possible), would still be greater than man of his best day. The combined knowledge of all men does come near to God’s wisdom. The authority of all kingdoms throughout the ages does not compare with God’s rule. The sum of all strength and might of every man and all of man’s creations does not even challenge God’s power. God is not threatened by human element – nor is He concerned about Satanic powers. Lucifer was created by God and, even though he rebelled from Heaven, will always be subject to God’s ultimate authority.
God’s Promises are Unchangeable
He cannot lie, nor can He change. It doesn’t matter what you do – He does not change (Ps. 89:30-37). His promises to His people are unconditional. He cannot be swayed by a lobbyist or tainted with an agenda. He continues to work His purposes and nothing can stop Him (but who would want to?).
Holiness is what makes God different, unique, and above all else, yet He calls us to be like Him: pure, powerful, and full of promise.
What God’s Holiness Requires:
God calls us to holiness (1 Thess. 4:7; Lev. 11:44). We have dwelt content in impurity and justified our sins for too long. God calls us out of our comfort zone (Ex. 19:6; Deut. 7:6). In the Old Testament, God’s sanctified (to make holy, to set apart) certain places as “Holy Ground” – the tabernacle, the temple, anywhere His presence would rest. But in the New Testament, His presence rests in His people. We are His holy ground (Eph. 2:21).
Through salvation (by grace and faith), we are positioned as holy in Christ (1 Cor. 6:11) but that doesn’t mean that we will always live holy lives. God calls upon us to grow in holiness as we progress in sanctification (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1). We will never serve God fully without holiness (Rom. 12:1-2; Isa. 6:8). Like Isaiah, be overcome by God’s holiness, then be aware and be cleansed of your sin. Lastly, as you pursue holiness (Hebrews 12:14), be encouraged because God desires your holiness more than you do!
Holy, Holy, Holy by John Piper