What Is Meant by God Is Holy? Part I

The word Holy means set apart. Other synonyms include consecrated, sacred, sanctified, hallowed and purified. God is pure goodness and perfect divine love. He is set apart from evil. God is the source of pure divine love. Evil is the lack of love. When we sin, we are withholding our love from God and/or from our neighbors. “Our flesh is self-willed and self-centered. We do not fully comprehend that love is an action, which requires the sacrifice of self. Our love often becomes distorted by our self-interests and desires. It is not always the pure sacrificial love that is of God. We want to be loved, but we do not fully comprehend that divine love has nothing to do with receiving love or how we feel. Divine love is an act of pure giving and expecting nothing in return” (from A Journey Toward Perfection, 2016). Because God is Holy and the source of love, He has set apart and separated Himself from us. He cannot be in the presence of sinfulness. Only when we are perfected by Christ can we stand in the presence of God. Only when our hearts are purified and made holy will we be able to live with God in eternity.
God’s Holiness is best described by how it affects us. His Holiness creates in us an incredible awe! His pure divine love is overwhelming to us. It can be seen as a radiant pure white light, brighter than anything we know. Moses saw God in the burning bush. “And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God” (Exodus 3:6). In scripture, fear of God is generally equated with a sense of awe. Later, when Moses returned from being with God on Mt. Sinai, “the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him…When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face” (Exodus 34:30-33). His face became so bright from being in the presence of the Lord, the people could not look upon him, unless he veiled his face. Paul saw the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. “Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground” (Acts 9:3-4). He was blinded by the bright glory of the Lord. Christ’s transfiguration also depicts the radiant glory of His Holiness:

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white…suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear” (Matthew 17:1-6).

Many Biblical accounts describe people falling to their knees in the presence of God, When I (John) saw him (Christ), I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living one” (Revelation 1:17-18).  John even fell to his knees in the presence of a Holy angel, “Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant’” (Revelation 19:10). Perfect goodness brings us to our knees and is so bright it can blind us.   
God’s pure goodness and divine love also create in us a revelation of our own imperfections or sinfulness. This is why so many turn away from God. They do not want to be confronted by their own sinfulness, their own lack of love. When Isaiah saw God, sitting on His throne, he declared, “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Job proclaimed, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 45:5-6). God’s Holiness, His pure divine love, reminds us that our hearts are not pure. All sin is rooted in a lack of love for God and for others. Even denying God is rooted in pride, a refusal to love God and to acknowledge our own sinfulness. Christ said that all of God’s commandments can be fulfilled by simply loving God and loving others. Yet our selfishness and pride often prevent us from loving perfectly, which is a pure act of giving, without consideration of our own self-interests.   

©  2017 Helen Kamenos  All rights reserved



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