“I am the Lord, your holy God”.
Isa 43:15 GNB
Today some people think of God as a “chummy chappy”. He forgives easily, so it doesn’t matter what you get up to. Others regard him as a celestial traffic cop, hiding behind every bush along life’s way, ready and quick to hand out a ticket to any who step out of line. Yet others deem him to be a sort of soup kitchen “dolloper-outer” of blessings. They go around asking, “What blessings have you had today?” We have an amazingly imaginative facility for creating warped ideas and pictures of God.
For the people of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, he is a holy God. The root meaning of holiness is “different, apart from, separate” and it includes the sense of awesomeness, height, and transcendence. It includes the idea of moral purity. Even in far away Babylon the prophet Isaiah, endeavouring to comfort the people of Israel, does not domesticate God, or make him easy, soft or pliable. He was as holy in Babylon as he had been in Jerusalem. Holiness was the supreme quality that distinguished the Israelites’ God from all other deities.
The New Testament holds to that holiness whilst still stressing God’s love. It was in holy love that Jesus Christ came. And he came to impart God’s holiness to his people. He came to spread it too. One Christian leader, John Wesley, said his mission was “to spread scriptural holiness throughout the land”. That should always be every Christian’s aim and purpose. To be a holy Christian you need constantly to be renewed in Jesus and repeatedly to be cleansed from sin. You need to be filled with love – the holy love of Christ, pure, outgoing, and humble.
Lord, help me to recapture this sense of your holiness.