The Holiness of God is one of the many attributes that constitute the overall Essence of God. The attributes of God present a theme so vast and complex and so beyond the range of finite faculties that our attempt to classify them is only approximate as to accuracy or completeness. In addition, the attributes of God are so interrelated and interdependent that the exact placing of some of them is difficult if not wholly impossible.
L. S. Chafer states, “Though wholly inadequate, man’s conception of God is measured by those characteristics which he attributes to God. The Bible presents a revelation which, though limited by the restrictions that language must ever impose, is of a Person, and this revelation attributes to Him those exalted qualities which are His. These qualities thus attributed are properly styled attributes. To declare His Person and the sum total of His attributes, would constitute a final definition of God which man might never hope to form. God is not specifically defined in any one assertion, but His existence and attributes are assumed and do appear only as the text in various places and in manifold terms sets forth what He is and what He does. A true Biblical definition of God will be secured only as an induction of all the Scripture is secured (cf. Gen. 1:1; Job 11:7-9; 36:26; 37:5, 23; Ps. 77:19; 92:5; 97:2; 145:3; 147:5; Prov. 25:2; Isa. 40:28; Jer. 10:10- 16; Matt. 11:27; Rom. 11:33,34; etc.). ” (L. S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1)
An attribute is a property which is intrinsic to its subject. Thus in describing God, we typically define the Essence of God by 10 main attributes including God’s, Sovereignty, Righteousness, Justice, Love, Eternal Life, Omniscience, Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Immutability, and Veracity. These 10 are certainly not exclusive in making up the Essence of God. There are other attributes that we will mention in this study. Those attributes are typically made up by a combination of the 10 listed above.
God, out of necessity, is defined for us in the Bible in terms and expressions which belong to human life and experience. He is presented to us in anthropomorphic, (physical characteristics of man ascribed to God) and anthropopathic, (mental characteristics of man ascribed to God), terms.
The Westminster Confession of Faith is one of the most comprehensive or Biblical definitions of God formed by man outside of the scriptures. It reads,
I. THERE is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal most just and terrible in his judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.
II, God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory in, by, unto, and upon them: he is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom, are all things; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, and upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest; his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience, he is pleased to require of them.
III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. (Westminster Confession of Faith, Chap. II )
II. The Personality of God:
To have a comprehensive understanding of God we also need to understand an anthropopathic characteristic of God and that is, He has a personality.
Personality means, “The part of a person that makes them behave in a particular way.”
Personality has its component parts, namely, intellect, sensibility, and will. Therefore, God’s personality includes His attribute of Omniscience, but also demands that He have Sensibility and Will. These are not characteristics of God’s attributes, they attributes themselves.
Sensibility is, “the ability to experience deep emotions.” Will is, “the ability to make decisions, choices.”
In the past we have understood God’s Omniscience and Will so here we will focus on His Sensibility. God’s divine, moral sensibility includes the attributes of:
b. Justice, (including Righteousness)
Both in philosophical and theological usage, the designation “sensibility” includes the higher forms of feeling. The fact that in God the emotions of love and patience, and the attributes of holiness, justice, goodness, mercy, and faithfulness exist, goes far to indicate the true quality of God.
Many theologians try to remove the warm and sentient nature which the Scriptures define for us over and over again. Sensibility in God is as well defined as are the other essentials of personality; intelligence and will.
The sensibility of God includes His rational Being. For example, in the universe He has expressed His ultimate desire, and of that universe, in its original form, He said, “It was very good.” Having contemplated the beautiful in creation, none can doubt the aesthetic nature in God.
God is not just pure thought, but He is also absolute intuition and absolute sensibility. He not only grasps reality in His absolute thought, but He sees it in His absolute intuition, and enjoys it in His absolute sensibility.
III. The Holiness of God:
Ex 15:11, “Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders?”
Isa 6:3, “And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.”
As stated above His sensibility is comprised of His, Holiness, Justice, Love, Goodness, and Truth. We will now understand the Holiness of God in relation to His sensibility.
Holiness is typically defined negatively and in relation to a relative, and not absolute standard. So holiness in the Bible means separation from all that is common or unclean.
In respect to God, holiness means not only that He is separate from all that is unclean and evil but also that He is positively pure and thus distinct from all others.
An analogy may helpful here. What does it mean to be healthy? It is the absence of illness, but also a positive infusion of energy.
Therefore, holiness is the absence of evil and the presence of positive right. In God, His holiness is a purity of being and nature as well as of will and act.
Holiness is the attribute by which God wanted to be especially known in Old Testament times, Lev 11:44; Josh 24:19; Psa 99:1-9; Isa 6:2-3; 40:25; Hab 1:12-13.
In the New Testament it appears in direct statements such as, John 17:11; 1 Peter 1:15. It also appears in ascriptions of praise, Rev 4:8.
The Creator is holy in Himself, quite apart from all evil, Psa 22:3, as we see His holiness in the figure of God being light, James 1:17; 1 John 1:5.
Jesus Christ is said to be Holy in, Psa 16:10; Mark 1:24; Luke 1:35; 4:34; John 6:69; Acts 2:27; 13:35; Heb. 7:26; 1 Peter 1:15.
The absolute, innate holiness of God means that sinners have to be separated from Him unless a way can be found to make them holy. And that way has been provided in the merits of Jesus Christ.
A proper view of the holiness of God should make the believer sensitive to his own sin, Isa 6:3, 5; Luke 5:8.
The holiness of God becomes the standard for the believer’s life and conduct, 1 John 1:7.
a. This should put to an end the often useless discussions over what is permitted and what is not in the Christian life. Proper conduct can be tested by the simple question, is it holy?
b. This is the believer’s standard. While he does not always measure up to it, he must never compromise it.
The holiness of God is intrinsic, uncreated, and untarnishable; it is observable in every divine attitude and action. It embraces not only His devotion to that which is good, but is also the very basis and force of His hatred of that which is evil.
Thus there is in Divine holiness the capacity for reaction toward others which is both positive and negative.
The following Scriptures declare the holiness of God: Ex 3:5; Lev 19:2; 1 Sam 2:2; Job 15:15; Psa 22:3; 47:8; 111:9; Isa 6:3; 57:15; Rev 6:10; 15:4.
IV. Attributes of God that make up His Sensibility and inter-work with His Holiness:
1 John 4:8b-9, “For God is love. 9By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
God is Holy; therefore, the love of God possesses perfect integrity, which includes incorruptible justice and immutable righteousness. In God, love is the perfection of holiness and all that that concept implies. Love in God is seeking the highest good and glory of His perfect attributes.
God’s attribute of love does not operate apart from His other attributes including holiness and justice. Because God is holy and unchangeable, divine love cannot be compromised by sins, human good, evil; including Christian degeneracy, dead works or any function of the sin nature. This means that Divine love cannot be corrupted by any creature failure, nor can Divine holiness. God is not tainted by our sins.
Holiness, because of its definition of separation, dictates that there shall be no leniency toward evil on the part of God. Therefore, Holiness condemns sin, while the love of God seeks to save the sinner. Yet, love cannot overpower holiness and save those who reject Christ and die in their sins.
Because God is holy, His love can only function in perfect virtue, honor, and integrity. 1 John 4:16-21
Therefore, God can convey impersonal love to all fallen angels and homo sapiens under real spiritual death while always maintaining absolutely His Holiness.
Rom 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died as a substitute for us.”
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Since God is holy, He is perfect in His justice and in His righteousness. Justice is perfection of judgment on the part of God, Job 34:12; Isa 30:18; 49:4; Luke 18:7; 2 Thes 1:6-7.
Deut 32:4, “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.
Justice is what is done on the Divine side for lost men through Christ’s sacrifice, Rom 3:26; 1 Peter 3:18.
Rom 3:26, “For the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Justice demands a penalty for sin, the Eternal Lake of Fire. Jesus Christ was crucified and thereby paid the penalty for sin. As a result, when a sinner fully believes upon the perfect work of Christ on the Cross that penalty is removed from the sinner. As such, the penalty of sin, the Eternal Lake of Fire, will never again fall upon the sinner who believes, and he instead shall be saved eternally.
In God’s relationship with man, love is not the issue; the Cross set‑up the issue. Our first contact with the essence of God is with His justice, not His love. Where creatures are concerned, God always places His integrity and His holiness before His love.
Salvation is made possible in perfect justice, such justice that is in harmony with infinite holiness. Therefore, Justice and Holiness work in harmony to perfectly provide salvation for the sinner.
Rom 3:23-24, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.”
Rom 5:8-9, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
The point of contact in the attributes of God is the justice of God, Prov 29:26, for the unbeliever in salvation, Mat 12:18-21 (Isa 42:1-4), and toward the spiritual believer in Divine blessing, Mat 6:33, and toward the carnal believer in Divine discipline, Heb 12:4-11.
Psa 89:14, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You.”
Psa 50:6, “And the heavens declare His righteousness, for God Himself is judge.”
The Greek word for righteousness is dikaiosunh, (DIKAIOSUNE). It becomes an absolute term when applied to God. With respect to character, God is transparently holy and righteous in all His acts. God’s righteousness is ever absolute and perfect to infinity: 1 John 1:5, “In Him there is no darkness at all.”
God’s righteousness is seen in two ways:
a. He is a righteous Person, James 1:17.
b. He is righteous in all His ways, Rom 3:25-26.
Though related to holiness and justice, righteousness is nevertheless a distinct attribute of God. Holiness relates to God’s separateness and righteousness to His justice. Since God’s Righteousness works so closely together with His Justice and Holiness, we must understand His righteousness in order to understand His sensibility.
God is all powerful, (omnipotent), therefore He is infinitely able to do all things. Yet, He can only do those things which are within the range of His just and holy character. As such, He will not make right wrong, nor will He act foolishly. He will not abuse His power, nor compromise His justice and holiness.
Righteousness in God means that all that He does is perfect and absolutely right/correct. God never makes a wrong or unrighteous decision. All of God’s judgments are righteous as well as being holy in nature, (i.e., they are without sin and evil), Rev 16:5-7.
Rev 16:5-7, “And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; 6for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.” 7And I heard the altar saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments”.”
Righteousness is the principle of Divine integrity, while justice is the function of Divine integrity. Therefore, what the righteousness of God demands His justice satisfies.
God’s righteousness is the guardian of God’s justice. Justice guards the rest of the essence of God including His holiness. Therefore, God’s holiness is absolutely maintained by His righteousness in all that He thinks and does.
When His righteousness combines with His love it results in grace.
When God makes a decision, says something, or performs an act, it is harmonized with His righteousness and justice and therefore is absolutely holy in character and nature.
That is why God is able to condemn sin and the sinner, and provide salvation to the believer while maintaining His absolute holiness, Rom 3:21-26.
God’s sensibility is always perfect righteousness and holiness. He can hate the sinner and love the believer, Mal 1:2-3; Rom 9:13, while at the same time express His love to all sinners, John 3:16.
Another example of God’s sensibility that is protected by His integrity and holiness is His Happiness / Joy, or as we call it His +H. Therefore, +H is an attribute that is part of the essence of God. Psa 16:11; John 15:11; Rom 14:17; Gal 5:22-23; Heb 12:2.
Psa 16:11, “You will make known to me the path of life. In Your presence is fullness of happiness. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
John 15:11, “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
God the Father demonstrated His happiness when He sent His Son to the Cross for the benefit of the entire world. There we see happiness and righteousness working together, Isa 53:10.
Isa 53:10, “But the LORD was pleased, (+H), to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering.”
God’s +H is derived from His perfect attributes that make up His sensibility including His righteousness. That is why God’s happiness is never based on the unhappiness of others.
True happiness cannot be separated from true integrity; the righteousness and justice of God. In the happiness of God the principle of integrity is the issue.
God’s perfect happiness includes the following characteristics.
a. Tranquility in every circumstance of life, Rom 8:28.
b. Contentment in every circumstance of life.
c. Capacity for life, love, and happiness.
d. The stimulus factor in giving life meaning, purpose, and definition.
In summary, God’s righteousness is the principle of Divine integrity, and the guardian of His justice which guards the rest of His Essence, including His holiness. Therefore, God’s holiness is absolutely maintained by His righteousness in all that He thinks and does whether it be based on His love or His happiness.
Goodness; may be defined as God’s benevolent concern for His creatures, Mat 5:45; Acts 14:17.
This attribute, if contemplated as that which is within God, is akin to His holiness; if contemplated as that which proceeds from God, is akin to love.
The infinite goodness of God is an attribute of His being which characterizes His nature and is itself the source of all in the universe that is good.
Ex 18:9, “Jethro rejoiced over all the goodness (TOBAH) which the LORD had done to Israel, in delivering them from the hand of the Egyptians.”
Ex 33:19, “And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion”.”
The specific terms employed in setting forth the goodness of God are:
a) Benevolence, (kind intention, good pleasure – EUDOKIA; kindness – CHRESTOTES), which is goodness in its generic sense as embracing all His creatures and securing their welfare. Eph 1:5, 9; Phil 2:13; Titus 3:4
b) Mercy, which is God’s goodness exercised in behalf of the need of His creatures. Mercy is everything that God has done for the sinner, Rom 11:30. God’s mercy alone goes out to every living creature, not His active grace.
Rom 11:30, “For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience.”
c) Grace, which is God’s free action in behalf of those who are meritless, which freedom to act has been secured through the death of Christ. It is that in God which acts freely to save because all the demands of holiness have been satisfied. It is all that God does for the believer, Isa 30:18; Eph 2:8-9.
Isa 30:18, “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him.”
d) Love, as noted above it is that in God which existed before He would care to exercise mercy or grace.
The terms, mercy, grace, and love are too often confused. They appear in the limited context of Eph 2:4-5.
Eph 2:4-5, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ, (by grace you have been saved).”
Sinners are not actually saved by mercy but by grace. Mercy only provides a Savior and draws the sinner to God, whereas love is God’s motivation to save the sinner by providing a Savior.
All combined it represents God’s goodness towards man which is also called His lovingkindness, 2 Sam 2:6; Psa 118:1-29; 136:1-26.
2 Sam 2:6, “Now may the LORD show lovingkindness (CHESED) and truth to you; and I also will show this goodness (TOBAH) to you, because you have done this thing.
Psa 118:1-4; “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good (TOB); for His lovingkindness (CHESED) is everlasting. 2Oh let Israel say, “His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 3Oh let the house of Aaron say, “His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 4Oh let those who fear the LORD say, “His lovingkindness is everlasting.””
To live the spiritual life we too must be full of the goodness, (AGATHOSUNE), of God and exercises it daily, Rom 15:14; Gal 5:22; Eph 5:9; 6:7; Phil 2:13; 2 Thes 1:11; Philemon 1:14
2 Thes 1:11-12, “To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness (AGATHOSUNE) and the work of faith with power, 12so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
5. Truth, (Veracity):
John 18:37-38. “Jesus answered (Pontius Pilate), “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 38Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”
Pilate in asking that universal question revealed his own and the world’s ignorance of who God is. The truth was standing right in front of him yet he did not know the truth and therefore did not see the truth standing in front of him, just as the world does not know nor see the truth that is God.
Psa 89:14, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You.”
God is absolute Truth or as we also call it Veracity.
Truth is defined as, “Conformity to knowledge, fact, actuality, or logic; fidelity to an original or standard; reality and actuality. It is a statement proven to be or accepted as true. It is sincerity; integrity; honesty. Truth is most commonly used to mean correspondence with facts or with what actually occurred”.
Veracity is defined as, “Habitual adherence to the truth; conformity to truth or fact; accuracy; precision. Veracity implies factual accuracy and honesty, principally with respect to spoken or written expression.”
These definitions in fact describe the character and nature of the person of God in His being, thoughts, will and acts.
That is why He is called “the God of truth” in Psa 31:5; Isa 65:16.
Isa 65:16, “Because he who is blessed in the earth will be blessed by the God of truth; and he who swears in the earth will swear by the God of truth.”
Psa 31:5, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth.”
In His veracity, it is impossible for God to lie. He not only advances and confirms that which is true, but in faithfulness abides by His promises, and executes every threat or warning He has made.
To reveal Himself to mankind and angles, God can only do so in terms of truth. Therefore, Bible doctrine is absolute truth and perfectly reveals the holiness of God.
In relation to mankind, apart from the element of truth in God there would be no certainty at all in this life, and we would wander on in comfortless perplexity not knowing where we came from or where we are going. For those who reject God, that is the state in which they live.
Though men deceive, the veracity of God can never be questioned in the slightest degree.
Truth in God is surety that what He has disclosed is according to the nature of things and that His disclosures may be depended upon with complete certainty. This certainty characterizes every revelation from God by whatever means.
The setting forth of God’s truth is in the Bible. It, being the Word of God, is true in all its parts. There is a vast array of truth, themes, and subjects about which man could not know by himself. The Bible supplies this dependable information.
Psa 12:6, “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.”
God is declared to be a covenant-keeping God. Some of His covenants contain only promises and some contain promises and warnings. He is faithful to every word He has said.
Num 23:19, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
Heb 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
The faithfulness of God is the unfailing source of comfort and assurance to those who are right with Him, or partakers of His covenants of promise.
It was a word of great meaning when Christ said in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
Truth is what will judge the believer at the Bema Seat Judgment.
Truth is what will judge the unbeliever at the Great White Throne Judgment.
Ps 96:13, “For the Lord is coming to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with His Truth.”
John 12:48, “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.”
Heb 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
In the O.T. the basic Hebrew word for Truth is EMETH. EMETH means stability, certainty and trustworthiness. It means that which produces faithfulness, stability and security, therefore truth is firmness, security and integrity of mind.
If you lack faithfulness, stability and security it is usually because you lack Truth, (i.e., Bible Doctrine in your soul).
Many ask how do I know if I’m learning Truth or receiving Truth? Well, Truth will cause you to be stable, certain and sure.
The most popular Greek word for Truth is ALETHEIA = integrity of character. Joseph Thayer says it is that which frees the mind from pretending, deceitfulness and hypocrisy.
Pro 23:23, “Buy truth, and do not sell it, also buy wisdom and instruction and understanding.” (i.e., Bible Doctrine)
Truth is something we must be taught. It does not come naturally.
Psa 25:5 “Lead me in Your Truth and teach me: for You are the God of my deliverance.”
John 8:31-32, “If you continue in My Word then are you My disciples indeed. And you will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free.”
Truth must be taught! This is why fathers are told in Isa 38:19 to make Truth known to their children, and in Mat 22:16 our Lord taught the way of God in Truth.
Truth is something that must be taught. This is why the apostle Paul tells us that God’s will for all mankind is to “be saved and then to come to the knowledge of the Truth.”
God desires truth to be within us, 2 Cor 11:10, “As the truth of Christ is in me….”
Without Truth it is impossible to worship God properly, John 4:23-24, “Worship in spirit and truth.”
This is why if a pastor really loves and worships the Lord he will, 2 Tim 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. “
And He will feed the flock of God. John 21:15-17, “If you love Me, feed My sheep, … lambs…” Feed them what? Truth
Truth is that which the Lord brought with Him when He came down from heaven.
John 1:17, “For the law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
John 18:37, “… for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.”
It is only as He brings us to a knowledge of the Truth that He can deliver us completely from our three enemies; ourselves (OSN), the cosmic system, and Satan.
The whole purpose of the Gospel and the object of salvation is to bring us to the Truth about God.
There are many teaching dogmatically in our country today and around the world that there is no moral truth. The following quote was taken from a book entitled “Why I Am A Christian” edited by Norman Geisler and Paul Hoffman. The quote contains an exchange between a high school teacher and her student that addresses the absurdity that there is no moral truth. The teacher is a proponent that there is no moral truth whereas her student Elizabeth believes there is moral truth….
The teacher instructs her class, “Welcome, students. This is the first day of class and so I want to lay down some ground rules. First, since no one has the truth about morality, you should be open-minded to the opinions of your fellow students.” The teacher recognizes the raised hand of Elizabeth, who asks, “If nobody has the truth, isn’t that a good reason for me not to listen to my fellow students? After all, if nobody has the truth, why should I waste my time listening to other people and their opinions? What’s the point? Only if somebody has the truth does it make sense to be open-minded. Don’t you agree?”
The teacher replied, “This should prove to be an interesting semester.” Another student blurts out, “Ain’t that the truth,” provoking the class to laughter.
Psa 40:11, “You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.”
Psa 91:4, “He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His truth is a shield and bulwark.”
Bulwark is the Hebrew word SOCHERAH (so-kay-raw’), used only here in the entire O.T. It is something surrounding the believer. Truth protects us and surrounds us.
Truth protects us and keeps us from deception. This is why the apostle Paul warns us that in the last days Truth will be rejected and deception accepted, 2 Thes 2:10-11; 2 Tim 3:5-8; 4:1-4.
Truth is always accompanied by God’s grace and mercy, Psa 26:3; 85:10-11; John 1:14.
Psa 85:10-11, “Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 11Truth springs from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.”
God’s righteousness loves to see His Truth in action, especially in you!
V. Other Attributes of God in relation to His Holiness.
1 Sam 2:2, “There is no one holy like the LORD, indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.”
Because of God’s Immutability, His holiness is not subject to change.
Psa 102:27, “But You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end.”
Heb 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
James 1:17, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
God’s unchanging holiness requires Him to treat the wicked differently from the righteous. When the righteous become wicked, His treatment of them must change too, but His holiness remains the same.
The concept that, “the sun is not fickle or partial because it melts the wax but hardens the clay” gives us a good analogy. The change is not in the sun but in the objects it shines upon.
The change in God’s treatment of men is described anthropomorphically, as if it were a change in God Himself, but that is not the case, His treatment might change as man changes but God’s Holiness never changes.
While God is immutable, he handles different things in different ways consistent with His immutable integrity. God’s integrity is perfect, therefore, it is not subject to change or improvement. No one can promote the integrity of God and no one can subtract from the integrity of God.
Mal 3:6, “For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.”
Isa 30:15, “For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing.”
Heb 6:17-18, “In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.”
1. The first immutable thing is who and what God is, and what He did for us in eternity past.
2. The second immutable thing is what God says or communicates in time (i.e., Bible Doctrine).
3. Both are interwoven with His Holiness.
God is all powerful, infinitely able to do all things which are the objects of His power within the range of His holy character or essence. Therefore, He will not make right wrong, nor will He act foolishly, Isa 44:24; 2 Cor 4:6; Eph 1:19-21, 3:20; Heb 1:3. He will not abuse His power and compromise His justice.
V. Sanctification and Holiness:
Whether found in the Hebrew of the Old Testament or the Greek of the New Testament, three words arise from the same root, namely, holy, saint, and sanctified.
The Hebrew root word is the noun QODESH – Lã÷Ê and means, “apartness, sacredness, holiness or separateness. Its a sacred place or thing; rarely abstractly sanctity, that is, consecrated, dedicated, or hallowed.”
The Greek word is the verb HAGIAZO – QãéÜæù that means, “to make holy, consecrate, purify, sanctify, or to separate from profane things” It comes from the adjective HAGIOS- Rãéïò, that means , “sacred, holy, most holy thing, or a saint.”
God is eternally sanctified, Mat 6:9. Because of infinite holiness, God Himself, (Father, Son, and Spirit), is eternally sanctified. He is classified as distinct, set apart, and separate from sin. He is altogether holy. He is Himself sanctified, Lev 21:8; John 17:19.
Lev 21:8, “You shall consecrate him (the priest), therefore, for he offers the food of your God; he shall be holy [QADOSH – LBã÷®] to you; for I the LORD, who sanctifies [QADASH – Lãž÷®] you, am holy [QADOSH].”
John 17:19, “For their sakes I sanctify [HAGIAZO] Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified [HAGIAZO] in truth.”
The “saint” is the one made holy by God and is therefore sanctified in Christ.
An unusual text appears in the words: “You shall be holy, for I am holy”, Lev 11:45; 19:2; 1 Peter 1:16.
Therefore Man is plainly required to be like his Creator. This obligation is unusual and constitutes an inherent or intrinsic law, binding on all created beings.
After we are saved and brought into union with Christ a new responsibility is given to us, which is, to walk worthy of our salvation, and this means to be as He was in this world, which was holy.
Positionally you are holy due to your regeneration and the imputation of God’s righteousness from the moment of your salvation, just as Christ was, but experientially you must walk in that holiness which is what we call, Experiential Sanctification.
The holiness of man is subject to a threefold consideration:
a. Positional, Luke 1:70; Acts 20:32; 1 Cor 1:2; 6:11; Eph 4:24; Heb 3:1; 10:10, 14.
1 Cor 1:2, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.”
b. Experiential, Rom 6:1-23.
c. Ultimate, Rom 8:29; Eph 5:27; 1 John 3:1-3.
Eph 5:27, “He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”