Holiness in a Preverse Society

Of all the attributes of God I believe Holiness is the one that most overwhelms me. Take a moment to consider this question. How would you define the Holiness of God? The late Presbyterian theologian Charles Hodge said: “The holiness of God is not to be conceived of as one attribute among others. It is rather a general term representing the conception of God’s consummate perfection and total glory. It is His infinite moral perfection crowning His infinite intelligence and power.

When we think of God’s holiness, we think of His utter separation from sin because everything in the creation is effected and influence by sin. In other words God is exalted above His creation (set apart – transcendent).  Holiness means that God is separate from all moral sin and evil (light, no darkness). You cannot cast a shadow on the holiness of God. Think of looking and looking and scrutinizing a person and finding no fault but only better and better…and even more better in character.

A Difficult Reality

The implications of holiness mean that God is infinite in moral excellence and purity. God never approves of sin, He hates sin, He never encourages sin, and He is not to be blamed for sin. Not only is this a reality that’s difficult for me to understand. It’s a reality that makes it difficult for me to endure the disparaging comments, commentaries, and opinions as contemporary culture seeks to speak on behalf God.

The Holiness of God is so overpowering that apart from Jesus Christ we as mortal finite beings will never see Him, let alone be able to explain Him or speak for Him. In John 1:18 Jesus says, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” In I Timothy 6:16 Paul writes, “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.”

Habakkuk the prophet wrote, “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil. You cannot look on wickedness.” Job 34:10 says, “Far be it from God to do wickedness, to do wrong.” In Revelation 15:4 it says, “You alone are holy.”

An Unpredictable Solution

So how are we – mere mortals – living in a culture harden by sin, a world lacking emotion on moral issues, while giving less than intellectual assent to the Truth supposed to live a life of holiness as outlined by the Apostle Peter? “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: Be holy, because I am holy” (I Peter 1:15, 16).

I want to take you to a point in history. A time that most of us are familiar with. To a point where holiness and ungodliness met for the first time in recorded history. A moment in time that was as unpredictable to the Old Testaments Saints as it was unexpected to the New Testament Disciples. I believe that the clearest, the most visible, yet understandable expression of the holiness of God seen in the boldest way is the life of Christ. The Incarnation – The Crucifixion – The Resurrection

The Resolution

So here’s the question for the hour: is it possible to live a life of holiness in a perverse world or are we doomed to moral failure and decay? We cannot evade God’s standard of holiness as penned by the Apostle Peter. Sooner or later we must all come to the point where we admit that there is nothing in us or about us that pleases God.  But we can live a life of holiness in an unholy world when we trust Jesus Christ, not only as Savior, but for the grace and strength to persevere in a perverse society.

Psalms 89:7, 8: “A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him?  O LORD God of hosts, who is like Thee, O mighty LORD?  Thy faithfulness also surrounds Thee.” Never – ever – ever take the Life of Jesus for granted. He makes intimacy with this holy, flawless, perfect being possible. “If you have seen me,” Jesus said, “you have seen the Father.”

Till we can sit down together I remain faithfully yours,

Glenn T. Horne