The Holiness Of God
By Arthur W. Pink
Only God Is Holy
“Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy” (Rev. 15:4). He only is independently, infinitely, immutably holy. In Scripture He is frequently styled “The Holy One”: He is so because the sum of all moral excellency is found in Him. He is absolute Purity, unsullied even by the shadow of sin. “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Holiness is the very excellency of the divine nature: the great God is “glorious in holiness” (Ex. 15:11). Therefore do we read, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Hab. 1:13). As God’s power is the opposite of the native weakness of the creature, as His wisdom is in complete contrast from the least defect of understanding or folly, so His holiness is the very antithesis of all moral blemish or defilement. Of old God appointed singers in Israel “that should praise the beauty of holiness” (2 Chr. 20:21). “Power is God’s hand or arm, omniscience His eye, mercy His bowels, eternity His duration, but holiness is His beauty” (S. Charnock). It is this, supremely, which renders Him lovely to those who are delivered from sin’s dominion.
A chief emphasis is placed upon this perfection of God: “God is oftener styled Holy than Almighty, and set forth by this part of His dignity more than by any other. This is more fixed on as an epithet to His name than any other. You never find it expressed ‘His mighty name’ or ‘His wise name,’ but His great name, and most of all His holy name. This is the greatest title of honor; in this latter doth the majesty and venerableness of His name appear” (S. Charnock).
This perfection, as none other, is solemnly celebrated before the throne of heaven, the seraphim crying, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts” (Isa. 6:3). God Himself singles out this perfection, “Once have I sworn by My holiness” (Psa. 89:35). God swears by His “holiness” because that is a fuller expression of Himself than any thing else. Therefore we are exhorted, “Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness” (Psa. 30:4). “This may be said to be a transcendental attribute, that, as it were, runs through the rest, and casts luster upon them. It is an attribute of attributes” (J. Howe, 1670). Thus we read: “the beauty of the Lord” (Psa. 27:4), which is none other than “the beauties of holiness” (Psa. 110:3).
“As it seems to challenge an excellency above all His other perfections, so it is the glory of all the rest: as it is the glory of the Godhead, so it is the glory of every perfection in the Godhead; as His power is the strength of them, so His holiness is the beauty of them; as all would be weak without almightiness to back them, so all would be uncomely without holiness to adorn them. Should this be sullied, all the rest would lose their honor; as at the same instant the sun should lose its light, it would lose its heat, its strength, its generative and quickening virtue. As sincerity is the luster of every grace in a Christian, so is purity the splendor of every attribute in the Godhead. His justice is a holy justice, His wisdom a holy wisdom, His power a ‘holy arm’ (Psa. 98:1), His truth or promise a ‘holy promise’ (Psa. 105:42). His name, which signifies all His attributes in conjunction, is ‘holy’ (Psa. 103:1)” (S. Charnock).
The Manifestation of God’s Holiness
God’s holiness is manifested in His works. “The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works” (Psa. 145:17). Nothing but that which is excellent can proceed from Him. Holiness is the rule of all His actions. At the beginning He pronounced all that He made “very good” (Gen. 1:31), which He could not have done had there been anything imperfect or unholy in them. Man was made “upright” (Eccl. 7:29), in the image and likeness of his Creator. The angels that fell were created holy, for we are told that they “kept not their first estate [habitation]” (Jude 6). Of Satan it is written, “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou was created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezek. 28:15).
[SOURCE: Herald of His Coming]