Have you ever had a moment of clarity about what drives another human being? That moment where it was as if you just saw straight into their soul. I had a moment like that recently, not with another person but with God.
In my pursuit to be the best follower of Christ I can be, I have started meditating on the attributes of God. One of the attributes I have been reflecting on which drove this revelation was God’s attribute of Holiness. In looking at this topic I found a passage in Exodus 15:11 Moses and Miriam are singing a song of praise to God and acknowledge the majesty of his Holiness.
In my experience holiness wasn’t something majestic, it was scary. Until I began to understand it.
Today, we will be looking at Holiness as an attribute of God, and it’s impact on two other aspects of God, his grace, and his love. Understanding how holiness impacts, grace and love will help you find holiness more majestic too.
The Holiness of God
To start, we need to determine what holiness is? Key ideas that sit behind it are, purity, righteousness, but also the idea of being separate, or as we might say “a cut above the rest.”
It’s into these two ideas that I want us to delve.
Firstly, if God is pure, right, without blemish then one of his desires is to remain pure. For if anything was to corrupt that then at that moment the holiness of God would be lost.
The closest I can describe it is like this. Imagine an entirely white house, now someone walking through it drops the smallest splash of red paint, getting it on the floor, immediately the purity of the whiteness gets ruined.
God’s holiness is the same; any sin would destroy that purity in a moment.
The understanding of holiness feeds straight into our second idea; God is a cut above the rest, and so he must remain for his holiness to stay intact, the humbling reality is that we are tainted, sinful and aren’t allowed in God’s presence.
Which is why we now must turn to his grace.
God’s Grace in Light of Holiness
God’s Holiness shines a light on our sinful behaviours and shows us the true depth of it. That it corrupts the very depths of who we are. It impacts not just our actions, but our motives.
It is because of this that Holiness is a key component in our understanding of our need for grace. That without grace, we could never measure up, that even when our actions are seemingly in line our motivations may not be. Our very best in light of God’s holiness falls short. Isaiah 64:6 summarises this idea perfectly “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”
Secondly, holiness also shows us how great God’s grace is, that it has already been extended to the depths of who we are, to the widest aspects of the pain we have caused, the sins we have committed against others.
These two things together help us see God’s grace clearly for what it is. God’s grace is what we so desperately need, which so comprehensively covers us.
God’s Love Magnified by Holiness
God’s holiness has shown us our deep need for God’s grace, and the depths that this grace covers.
When we then look at God’s love through the lens of holiness it grows. We realise that the height of God’s holiness, multiplied by the depth his grace has been extended then equals the length his love went for us.
In some societies today certain people are segregated from others, whether it was apartheid, or things like leprosy. This is driven by repulsion, the thought that one human being is better than another. We find it disgusting to think that some people believe that. Rather, we are inspired by those who driven by love bridge the gap, break down the walls and treat everyone with love and respect. Especially, when they go to incredible lengths to do so.
Yet if anyone could believe that they were better than others it would be God, he is a cut above the rest of us, he has every right to remove himself from us and our sin. Yet his love is what drove God to extend grace. Love is what drove God to bridge the chasm between us. Him sending Jesus to die on the cross for us, what the ultimate act of breaking down walls, of bridging the gap and showing everyone the love that he has for them.
God’s holiness accurately understood increases our experience of his love for us.
God’s holiness means that he is pure, separate from everything else in creation and our sin kept us far from him. Stopping us from ever having a relationship with him based on our merit. Grace was God’s solution to that problem, removing the stain of sin from our lives, but it was his love for us, that removed the chasm between him and us.
Understanding his holiness only causes his grace to be greater, his love to be deeper and our appreciation fuller.
God’s holiness is becoming increasingly majestic to me and I hope in light of this it may become more majestic to you too.
My encouragement to you is to reflect on God’s holiness regularly in your life so that you can understand his grace and his love more deeply.