“For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.’”
God defines Himself as “the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy”. The word “holy” carries the idea of separated, set apart, and cut off.
God is completely holy and in a class by Himself. He is set apart from humanity and all creation because He is the Creator and He alone is eternal, all-powerful, and all-knowing.
He is separate and cut off from everything sinful and evil. He is good and pure in everything He is and does. There is no trace of sin in Him and He cannot tolerate evil in His presence.
Have you ever caught a glimpse of God’s holiness as He works in your life or during a time of praise, worship, or prayer? If so, you know that it can impact us human beings in a significant way.
Isaiah 6:1-8 is an excellent example. The prophet Isaiah describes his vision of God’s holiness and shows us what happens when a sinful human being has an encounter with the holy God.
“…I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
And one called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.’ And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
Then I said, ‘Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’
Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.’
Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then I said ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
Isaiah had a vision of the holiness of God, and what was his response? He suddenly became painfully aware of his own sinfulness and his need for God. “I am ruined because my lips are unclean!” he cried.
Before his encounter with God, Isaiah may have compared his righteousness or goodness to that of others, and concluded he wasn’t that bad. When he was confronted with God’s holy standard of measurement, Isaiah’s eyes were opened and he saw his true spiritual condition: unclean. He was unfit to stand in the presence of a holy God. Unfit to spend eternity with Him in heaven.
Isaiah’s heartfelt confession of sin caused the Holy One to act on his behalf and graciously remove his sin. This act of grace transformed Isaiah and his relationship with God. He willingly answered God’s call to service.
Isaiah received forgiveness of sins and his life was transformed. He responded to God’s holiness with confession of sin and repentance. If we respond as he did, God will graciously cleanse and forgive us as well.
Look again at Isaiah 57:15. “…I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
God desires relationship with us. But we must admit we need forgiveness and desire the relationship with Him. We must be willing to turn from our sin and accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. We must allow God’s Holy Spirit to work in us and transform our character to be like Christ’s.
Living a holy life that pleases God is how the world will know there is a holy God. Our changed behavior through the grace of God demonstrates His holiness. We now can have confidence to stand before our holy God, Jesus Christ, on the day He returns.
What Do You Think?
How would your life change if you had a personal encounter with God’s holiness?
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