When we think of the word holy, we often conjure up images of an untouchable, pure individual who can do no wrong. Of course, this isn’t what the word truly reflects or means.
In my upcoming book Stop Bringing People to Church, I touch on God’s holiness:
The word holy is a term that means “separate from.” Another way to look at it is He is “other than” everything else in existence. He is so far separate from everything that the angels in heaven reiterate this over and over. There is none like Him neither will there ever be. God is the epitome and personification of holiness. This separation also includes sin. There is no sin in Him and therefore He’s the personification of everything that is good. Without God, we would not only cease to exist, but even if it were possible, there would be nothing good in the world.
As God is separate from everything in existence to where He can’t be tainted by it and is far different from it, His people, when they reflect this same separateness from the world glorify Him.
In his book The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer explains the utter awesomeness of God’s holiness:
Neither the writer nor the reader of these words is qualified to appreciate the holiness of God. Quite literally a new channel must be cut through the desert of our minds to allow the sweet waters of truth that will heal our great sickness to flow in. We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like the divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable. The natural man is blind to it. He may fear God’s power and admire His wisdom, but His holiness He cannot even imagine.
It is this that the Christian is called to in every facet of our lives.
But like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living. (1 Peter 1:15)
That means in thought, worldview, and actions. We are not trying to get the world to like us. We’re representing what God expects, accepts, and who He is. This is not a popularity contest. This is a divine mandate to which everyone who calls themselves a Christian is obligated to uphold for the express purpose of glorifying God and being a witness to and against the world. By this a watching world will get a glimpse into the infinite holiness of the Almighty God. What an awesome privilege and responsibility.by