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Whose Word do I Trust? Part 2


"Holiness (and goodness) should never be determined by the whims, wishes, and standards of a created thing or even a whole culture. Especially when that culture’s ideas are so easily influenced by deceitful hearts within it, as well as overall mutability, taking different shapes in conformity to its era."

 

Jackie Hill Perry

 

In my last post we introduced the topic of Gods Holiness and how our view of God affects our faith and our capacity to walk that faith out in the world. We talked about how since the Garden of Eden mankind has reached for the fruit largely because we believe a lie about God… making God out to be a liar and elevating the created to be more sure than the creator. Let's continue this topic…

 

If there is one overarching theme in the scriptures other than redemption… it is the picture that it paints of God’s Holiness. Beginning in Genesis when we see the beginnings of Creation... with just a couple of words “Let there be Lightl”, the earth began to form from nothingness and from this point there is near constant mention throughout the scriptures of Gods powerful justice, his incredible holiness and immense power!

 

God is…. He just is...


Absolutely powerful


absolutely just


absolutely in control


absolutely holy


He is anything but common. I confess I have to often made out God to be my buddy… or diminished him to a wise counsellor in my own life. I have made him an afterthought… a quick prayer at the end of the day. As a Christian I've made God a supplement like the vitamins I take.

 

But God…


He is more… even to just say He is more is a gross understatement…

 

So Holy and pure is Yahweh that Isaiah said “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭6‬

 

In the first chapter of Jackie Hill Perry’s book “Holier than thou” we hear her tell the story of the Israelites as they met God in the desert. She speaks of the awe, the fear, the noise, the overwhelming sight of their God - who spoke the world into existence, who they had just seen part the Red Sea and miraculously released them from nearly 400 years of slavery from the Egyptians. There was no doubt in their mind that the God who shook the mountain was present and that they were entirely unworthy to even be present in His presence. The book of Hebrews says this of the mountain meeting:

 

“For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. . . . Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” . . . But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God . . . Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12: 18–19, 21–22, 28–29)”

 

We can see that Isreal saw with their eyes what we as Christians what we accept through Faith. Saying that God is Holy is the same thing as saying God is God. He just IS. In his book, released in 1884 entitled “The Existence and Attributes of God”, Stephen Charnock writes this:

 

“God is good, as he is God; and therefore good by himself, and from himself, not by participation from another; he made everything good, but none made him good; since his goodness was not received from another, he is good by his own nature. He could not receive it from the things he created, they are later than he; since they received all from him, they could bestow nothing on him; and no God preceded him, in whose inheritance and treasures of goodness, he could be a successor; he is absolutely his own goodness, he needed none to make him good; but all things needed him, to be good by him.”

 

God is uncreated, as He always has been. He is Holy because it is who He is. He is… as recorded by His own words “The way the truth and the life”, for without Him there is no light, no life, no truth. Apart from God there is only darkness. God is the one who according to Isaiah 57 “dwells in perpetuity”.


What am I to do with this understanding? When I begin to understand how Holy God is, His divine power, his love and His Holiness... what should my response be?


R.C. Sproul says this:

 

“If you don’t delight in the fact that your Father is holy, holy, holy, then you are spiritually dead. You may be in a church. You may go to a Christian school. But if there is no delight in your soul for the holiness of God, you don’t know God. You don’t love God. You’re out of touch with God. You’re asleep to his character.”

 

I have been asleep to Gods character. I have taken the Holy and treated it as common. I have reached for the forbidden fruits… like Adam and Eve I believed the lie of the created over the truth of the creator. God, who knows every flaw and failure I have ever made and will make... and yet still chooses through Christ to call me His own as I accept His payment for my sins.

 

This is incredible...


That Christ, the fullness of God… came to earth in Human form. He took on all of my frailty, my sin nature and yet lived in absolute purity and holiness… in the same human flesh and with the same temptations I have faced. Dispite that He lived in absolute perfection and then received the consequences of my sin... all of our sin... He laid down His life and rose again. Christ gave me what I could not achieve on my own merits - a new life - a reset life and a secured future in the presence of His light!

 

I have only one response that is appropriate… Worship! No... not merely a song... I mean what Romans 12 talks about.


”And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.“

 

This is worship through a life that is submitted to aligning with Christ, a life that values truth and rejects lies. This worship life seeks to be transformed and transfigured by the same power that redeemed and resurrected Christ every day in an act of worship!

 

“Stand by; for I am holier than you!" What a parody on holiness! Jesus the Holy One is the humble One: the holiest will ever be the humblest. There is none holy but God: we have as much of holiness as we have of God.” - Andrew Murray


What I've realized as I have studied Gods Holiness, His character and His Nature is that my behaviour in this present world is largely based on what I believe about God. Those times when I have sinned I believed the serpent over the God who created me. I believed the slick sales man instead of the engineer who designed me. The sin started not when I chose to sin... but when I chose to believe the lie of the created over the truth of the creator.


I would strongly encourage everyone to begin a study on Gods Holiness. One book that has deeply impacted me recently is Jackie Hill Perry's "Holier than Thou". It reads like poetry but it will challenge you to dig deep into scripture and to seek to understand Gods character and purity.

 

 

 

 

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