October 19, 2009

The Holiness of God Challenges Our Conduct

The Holiness of God Challenges Our Conduct

Lev 19:1-2 (KJV)
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
{2} Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel,
and say unto them,
Ye shall be holy:
for I the LORD your God am holy.

1 Pet 2:9-10 (KJV)
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
an holy nation, a peculiar people{God's own possession};
that ye should show forth the praises of Him
who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

(Exo 15:11 KJV)
Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods?
who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?

The Holiness of God is a characteristic unique to God's nature which becomes the goal for human moral character. The understanding of what it means to be "holy" is important for an understanding of God, of worship, and of the people of God in the Bible.

(Lev 20:7-8 KJV)
Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.
{8} And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them:
I am the LORD which sanctify you.

(Lev 20:26 KJV)
And ye shall be holy unto me:
for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people,
that ye should be mine.

Holiness has four distinct meanings:

This applies to places where God is present, like the Temple and the tabernacle, and to things and persons related to those holy places or to God Himself. For example, Moses at the Burning bush:

Exo 3:4-6 (KJV)
And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see,
God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses.
And he said, Here am I.
{5} And he said, Draw not nigh hither{Heb=do not approach here}:
put off thy shoes from off thy feet,
for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
{6} Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
And Moses hid his face;
for he was afraid to look upon God.

In the case of God primarily this evokes adoration and reverence."

(Psa 29:1-4 KJV) A Psalm of David.
Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
{2} Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name;
worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
{3} The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth:
the LORD is upon many waters. {4} The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

(Psa 47:6-8 KJV)
Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.
{7} For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.
{8} God reigneth over the heathen:
God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.

(Isa 57:15 KJV)
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy;
I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

This also can apply to believers or godly people. We are not holy in our of ourselves, but God imparts His holiness to us as we repent, submit ourselves to Christ, and He fills us with His Holy Spirit.

(Psa 97:9-12 KJV)
For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods.
{10} Ye that love the LORD, hate evil:
he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
{11} Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.
{12} Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous;
and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

1 Pet 1:15-16 (KJV)
But as he which hath called you is holy,
so be ye holy in all manner of conversation{Grk=behavior};
{16} Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

This is clearly the application to God and is the primary meaning of "holy."

(Psa 96:2-10 KJV)
Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; show forth his salvation from day to day.
{3} Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
{4} For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.
{5} For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
{6} Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
{7} Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
{8} Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.
{9} O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
{10} Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth:
the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved:
he shall judge the people righteously.

Rev 4:8-11 (KJV)
And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him;
and they were full of eyes within:
and they rest not day and night, saying,
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
{9} And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne,
who liveth for ever and ever,
{10} The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne,
and worship him that liveth for ever and ever,
and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
{11} Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power:
for thou hast created all things,
and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

This speaks of God, but also of places or things or persons which have been set apart by God's presence. A saint is a holy person. To be sanctified is to be made holy.

Exo 19:18-23 (KJV)
And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke,
because the LORD descended upon it in fire:
and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace,
and the whole mount quaked greatly.
{19} And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long,
and waxed louder and louder,
Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
{20} And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount:
and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount;
and Moses went up.
{21} And the LORD said unto Moses,
Go down, charge the people,
lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze{Heb=stare},
and many of them perish.
{22} And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD,
sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them.

{23} And Moses said unto the LORD,
The people cannot come up to mount Sinai:
for thou chargedst us, saying,
Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.
{24} And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down,
and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee:
but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD,
lest he break forth upon them.....

Exo 20:18-20 (KJV)
And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings,
and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking:
and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
{19} And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear:
but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
{20} And Moses said unto the people,
Fear not: for God is come to prove you,
and that his fear may be before your faces,
that ye sin not.

God is holy.
In the Bible, fire is the symbol of holy power. Jealousy, wrath, remoteness, cleanliness, glory, and majesty are related to it. He is unsearchable, incomprehensible, incomparable, great, wonderful, and exalted. His name is Holy.
It is a unique and inscrutible characteristic of God that He is both Holy and set apart and yet humble and willing to have a relationship with us, all at the same time. This is most confusing to those who have not studied the Bible enough or focussed on the attributes of God. We seem to have the tendency to focus on either His Holiness or His Humbleness, while ignoring the other. Or on His Wrath or on His Mercy, while finding it difficult to integrate both characteristics at the same time. But God is all these things and more, all at the same time. We need to pray for wisdom to understand all this. Perhaps this is why Jesus made a point of this statement:

Mat 11:28-29 (KJV)
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
{29} Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart:
and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

And this one also:

John 14:9(KJV)
.... he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;

And also when God says:

Isa 1:18 (KJV)
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:
though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

The Holiness of God co-exists with His nature as a personal God who desires to have a personal relationship with man. Holiness tends toward separation and uniqueness. Personhood determines relations and close communion. Holiness inspires awe and fear. Personhood inspires love and the wish to be near. Both are expressed in the Bible as necessary ways to think of and experience God. Both are necessary if one is to avoid shallow, one-sided thinking about God. Neither holiness nor personhood alone can do justice to the Biblical revelation of Who God is. Both taken together help us more accurtely understand and experience God. As Jesus says in Revelation:

Rev 3:18-22 (KJV)
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire,
that thou mayest be rich;
and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed,
and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear;
and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
{19} As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:
be zealous therefore, and repent.
{20} Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
if any man hear my voice, and open the door,
I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
{21} To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne,
even as I also overcame,
and am set down with my Father in his throne.
{22} He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

God Bless you as you meditate on these things.
In Christ...brother bob...<><
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