Text: Genesis 2:3; Isaiah 6:1-5 | Listen to Message
Our culture doesn’t think much about holiness – and they don’t think much of it, either. Holiness is associated with someone who’s “holier than thou.” It means religious piety. It means a lengthy list of rules and the No Fun Zone. Few are striving for personal holiness; perhaps fewer still are truly in awe of God’s holiness.
Yet holiness is part of what makes God God. And without holiness, God would be neither worthy nor trustworthy.
Holy: God is infinitely pure in all his perfections and works, wholly set apart from everything sinful.
Key Verses: Genesis 2:3; Exodus 15:11; Psalm 15:1; Psalm 96:9; John 6:66-69; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 1:5; Revelation 15:4
One of the key implications of God’s holiness is that sin doesn’t survive in his presence. As darkness is automatically overcome by light, sin is automatically overcome by the holy presence of God.
Furthermore, a holy God cannot tolerate anything that’s wrecking the health of his Creation. Whether our sins look filthy or desirable, whether they’re repulsive or attractive, whether they produce short-term pain or pleasure, they all lead to death. So God, by his nature, is opposed to them.
This is all bad news for sinners. If God is wholly set apart from and wholly opposed to sin, where does that leave us? We can’t be where he is “just as we are.” Either we’re separated from God’s presence or we need to become holy. But how?
And this is where the Good News of the Gospel pours in. No, we can’t purify ourselves. We can’t wash ourselves clean. But God has provided a means of sanctification through the life and death of his Son. In Jesus, holy God became a holy man, who died a sinner’s death to bring us back to God. By grace, he exchanges our sin and filth for his holiness. By faith in him, we are made holy.
So how do we respond to a God who is holy – and wholly set apart from all sin?
1. Live in awe of God.
Everyone in the Bible who caught even a glimpse of God’s holiness fell on their face in fear. God’s holiness is an awesome and awe-inspiring thing. If you don’t feel this reverence, this wonder, meditate on the reality that the holy God has made a way for sinners to be made holy so that we might live with him forever.
2. Live set apart from and to.
Some people have seemingly turned Christianity into a long list of “don’ts.” And yes, we’re called to be set apart from all sin, including the idols that we love. But what about all the things we get to be set apart to? What about all the things we gain in Christ? What about putting on pure acts of kindness to others, pure ways of viewing ourselves, and pure ways of waiting on the Lord? God has set us apart, and we want to walk in light of that reality.
3. Live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
As you seek to live a holy life, don’t fool yourself into thinking your power comes through the multiplication of rules, strategies, and principles. Your power comes through the Person of the Trinity who lives within you: the Holy Spirit. Since sin cannot inhabit the same place as God, invite him in – especially into the places where you struggle most. Let him do the work of pushing back the darkness with his light.