If we do not see God as holy perhaps it is because we do not perceive our own wretchedness. Perhaps the cloths we wear, the people we know and our own ability to achieve great things have brought us to the brink of spiritual bankruptcy.
Or perhaps we have suffered greatly. Perhaps our lives have been filled with such misery that we now see ourselves as deserving the New Life in Christ. Neither wealth nor poverty can purchase an audience with the holy. We could no more intrude on His holy presence than we could dance barefoot on the surface of the sun.
When God is called holy means “separate,” and in this case it means that God is in every way “other.” Not like us, not of us, completely, distinctly “other.” This understanding is critical to the Christian life. For that matter—it is essential to the non-Christian’s hope. Should we draw near God without this mind set, wearing only those things we have earned by wealth our suffering, we might hear what Moses heard:
“‘Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground’” (Exod. 3:5). If the ground itself became sacred and beyond Moses, how much more the God who paused there.
He is the source of, and the goal of, all things. He is the, “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…” Phil 4:8 These radiate from Him, return to Him and are judged by Him.
Purity, perfection, holiness, these are my hopeful desires. Yet they are His inherent possessions. For me, these qualities are as out of reach as they are (through Him) in view. It is God’s holiness which at once convinces me I am unworthy and restores my failing spirit by Grace.
It is His holiness which brings home my need and His love—His perfect love which renders me worthy to walk on holy ground and still further—into His holy presence.
Daily I see Him as even more holy. So I see myself as even more sinful. Then, thankfully, I see grace as even more amazing. And I do indeed stand in awe.
Exod. 3:5, Deut. 7:6, 1Sam. 2:2, Isa. 5:16, John 6:69, Rom. 12:1, Eph. 1:4, 1Ths. 4:7, Hebr. 10:19, Hebr. 12:14, 1Pet. 1:15-16, 1Pet. 2:5