Our God is an awesome God and He reigns from heaven above. Here are the words to a great hymn:
- Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
- In light inaccessible, hid from our eyes,
- Most blessed most glorious, the Ancient of Days
- Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise
I love those words! There is no one like God. He is perfect, infinite and sovereign over all the details of life. Yet, He also allows situations, though they are in His control, they seem like they are out of our control. That causes foolish responses and actions.
What happens when people do not understand God’s holiness? There are many things that people do today, because they do not understand or honor God’s holiness. Let me give you six.
First, people complain. God is holy and He seeks a people who are just like Him. Peter wrote,
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:15-16)
God’s process of helping us become like Him, pure, separate from the world and totally dependent on Him, causes many people to complain, because of the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2:16). If we really understood that God was holy, we would humbly accept every circumstance of life and never complain.
Second, they hold onto things. The holiness of God means that He is separate from all things in the world. In fact, everything in the world is going to one day burn up and be destroyed (2 Pet. 3:10). One day, we will leave everything behind, except for what we hide in our soul. There will be no U-Haul trucks in heaven! If we truly understood the holiness of God, we would let go of things.
Thirdly, they pursue the abilities of the flesh. The Olympics are going on, so people are excited about the talents of world-class athletes. I personally honor them for their self-discipline, grueling workouts to get to their level of competition and the focus to keep their eyes on the goal. However, when they, and all the other athletes of the world, are in their rocking chairs, the competition will be just a faint memory and not matter for eternity. Paul wrote, “…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:13-14) If we understood the holiness of God, we’d pursue those things which will last forever.
Fourthly, they fail to find contentment in Him. It is so easy with the opulence, luxury and ease of life, for most people, that people expect heaven on earth. This is not our home. The Christian’s home is in heaven. Paul wrote, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 3:20) If we grasped the holiness of God, we would find all of our contentment in Jesus.
Fifthly, they question suffering and evil. One of the most often asked questions is, “Why, God? Why is there suffering and evil?” We, the church, have emphasized the love of God so often, to the exclusion of the holiness of God, that people forget that while God is loving, He is also holy. There is a reason for suffering and evil and a holy God is both aware of it, able to deal with it and has the answer why it continues. He is infinite and we are finite. The psalmist wrote, “Why should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity at my heels surrounds me?” (Ps. 49:5) The fact that people cannot understand it, does not mean God doesn’t understand or is not able to resolve it. Those who embrace the holiness of God will trust God in the suffering and evil.
And sixthly, they rebel against God. They want their will instead of Gods. They misunderstand how Jesus humbly submitted to the holiness of God and said, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42 NKJ) Jesus knew He was separated to the Father and that while He had desires, He knew God’s holiness was more important than His personal desires. If we incorporate the holiness of God in our lives, we will be mindful of His will and live lives that are holy, separate from the world and that are attractive to those around us!