Sunday, January 28, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
We need to understand that the 3 persons of the Trinity are Holy. Let us look at what Dr. John Gill says on the subject :
" This must be understood not of one person in the Deity, to the exclusion of the rest; as not of the Spirit, though he is peculiarly called the "Holy Ghost", and the Holy Spirit, yet not to the exclusion of the Father and Son; so not of the Father, to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit; for as they are the one God, who is a Spirit, they partake of the same common and undivided nature, and all the perfections of it, and of this with the rest. Hence we read of the holy Elohim, or divine Persons, in the plural number; and of the Holy Ones, the Holy Father, the Holy Son, and the Holy Spirit, (Josh. 24:19; Prov. 30:5; Dan. 4:17). And no doubt respect is had to the holiness of the three divine persons, by the seraphim, when they said, "holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts!" (Isa. 6:3) and by the four beasts, or living creatures, continually employed in the same divine service, celebrating the perfections of God in much the same language, saying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty!" (Rev. 4:8). As there is no doubt made of the Deity of the Father, there can be none of his holiness: our Lord addresses him under the relation of "Father", and under the epithet of "Holy Father", (John 17:11) and all that has been said of the holiness of God belongs to him; of which there can be no question made: and it is as true of the Son as of the Father; for as the Father is the holy Father, he must be the holy Son, since he is of the same nature, and is "the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person"; and as the Father is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, so is the Son; as the Father loves righteousness and hates iniquity, this is expressly said of the Son, (Heb. 1:8, 9) he is eminently called "the Holy One of God", (Ps. 16:10) and "the Holy One of Israel", more than thirty times in the prophecy of Isaiah; and particularly is so called along with the titles of Redeemer and Husband, which are peculiar to the second Person, the Son of God, the Redeemer of his people, and the Husband of his church, (Isa. 47:4, 54:5) yea, he is called the "most holy", who was anointed with the Holy Ghost above his fellows, and "having the Spirit without measure", (Dan. 9:24) the title of holy he takes to himself when addressing the church, which is an emblem of the purest state of the church militant on earth, the church of Philadelphia; "These things saith he that is holy" (Rev. 3:7). Nay, the devil himself gives it to him; "I know thee, who thou art, the Holy One of God" (Luke 4:34). Besides, Christ is not only holy in his human nature, even perfectly so, and sanctified and set apart to his office as Mediator, by his Father; for which office holiness is a necessary requisite and qualification; but he is the Fountain of holiness to his church and people; they are sanctified in him and by him; he is made sanctification to them, and all the holiness, or holy graces that are in them, are all from him, (John 1:14, 16) which could not be, if he was not holy, and even holiness itself. And as for the blessed Spirit, the third Person in the Deity, the epithet of "holy" is commonly given to him, as before observed; and very truly, since he is of the same nature with the Father and the Son; and so he is holy by nature and essence, and as appears by his graces, operations, and influences; and by his being grieved, speaking after the manner of men, with the sins and impurities of men; the reason of which is, because they are so contrary to his pure and holy nature, that he cannot bear them, but expresses his dislike and displeasure at them (Eph. 4:29, 30).
In the next post, we will examine how the holiness of God the Father is displayed.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Dr. Gill was "a master in Israel". Let him speak about the Lord's holiness. He said that GOD ONLY is essentially, originally, underivatively, perfectly, and immutably HOLY:
"Holiness is an essential attribute of God; it is his nature and essence; it is himself; he is holiness itself; "he swears by himself, because he can swear by no greater"; and he will not swear by any less, and yet he swears by his holiness, (Heb. 6:13; Ps. 89:35; Amos 4:2, 6:8) which places put and compared together show that the holiness of God is himself; and it has been thought to be not so much a particular and distinct attribute of itself, as the lustre, glory, and harmony of all the rest; and is what is called "the beauty of the Lord", (Ps. 27:4) as it is the beauty of the good angels, and of regenerate men; and, indeed, what is wisdom or knowledge, without holiness, but craft and cunning? or what is power, without it, but tyranny, oppression, and cruelty? but God is "glorious in holiness", (Ex. 15:11) this dives a lustre to all his perfections, and is the glory of them; and therefore none of them are or can be exercised in a wrong manner, or to any bad purpose. And as it is his nature and essence, it is infinite and unbounded; it cannot be greater than it is, and can neither be increased nor diminished; when, therefore, men are exhorted to "sanctify" the Lord, and are directed to pray that his "name" may be "hallowed", or sanctified, (Isa. 8:13; Matthew 6:9) the meaning is not as if he was to be, or could be made more holy than he is; but that his holiness be declared, manifested, and celebrated more and more; it is so perfect that nothing can be added to it. And as it is his nature and essence, it is immutable and invariable; the holiness of a creature is changeable, as the holiness of angels and men; which has appeared by the apostasy of the one, and the fall of the other; and the holiness of saints, though its principle is the same, the acts and exercises are variable. But God is always the same holy Being, without any variableness, or shadow of turning. He is originally holy, he is so in and of himself, and of no other; there is none prior and superior to him, from whom he could derive or receive any holiness; as his Being is of himself, so is his holiness, which is himself: the holiness of angels and men is not of themselves, but of God; he is the fountain of holiness to all rational creatures that partake of it; it is peculiar to him, yea, only in him; Hannah says, in her song, "There is none holy as the Lord", (1 Sam. 2:2). In another song yet to be sung, the song of Moses and of the Lamb, it is said, "Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy" (Rev. 15:4). The holiness of creatures is but a shadow of holiness, in comparison of the holiness of God; the holy angels are chargeable with folly in his sight, and they cover their faces with their wings, while they celebrate the perfection of God's holiness; as conscious to themselves, that theirs will not bear to be compared with his (Job 4:17,18; Isa. 6:2, 3). " Taken from "A body of doctrinal divinity", book 1, chap. 20, "Of the holiness of God".
Could we say it better? This great theologian truly honours the Lord's holiness! May our gracious Lord gives us a more exalted view of His unsearchable, unspeakable and unbounded holiness!
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
But the LORD gave us the Scriptures and revealed many things to us about His holiness. I think that it is our duty to study these things and go the higher that we can.
One of the first things we must know about God's holiness is that it is ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE.
The holiness of God have two (2) aspects: His moral purity and His transcendence.
HIS MORAL PURITY
Moral purity implies absolute separation from that which is sinful. To be holy is to be righteous, moral and pure. There is NO ONE LIKE GOD IN HIS MORAL PURITY.
"There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God." 1 Samuel 2: 2
"To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One." Isaiah 40: 25
"Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest." Revelation 15: 4
"Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?" Habakkuk 1: 13
The holiness of God is the very antithesis of all moral blemish or defilement.
HIS ABSOLUTE TRANSCENDENCE
God is also separated from that which assumes a lower form of existence. He is absolutely different from the angelic and human form of existence.
"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Isaiah 57:15
Vincent Cheung makes this interesting remark: "Some people wish to stress the possibility of having genuine fellowship with God, and therefore favour his immanence in a way that denies his transcendence. Detecting this distorsion, others who desire to maintain a high view of God overcompensate by denying his immanence. However, divine transcendence does not preclude divine immanence, and divine immanence does not diminish divine transcendence. These two qualities of God are true and consistent with other divine attributes. Our passage says that God is indeed "high and lofty", and no one is like Him, but by his own will, He is also close to those whom he has chosen, and who will humble themselves before Him.
A right understanding of divine holiness should cause us to worship and fear God:
"Exalt ye the LORD our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy." Psalm 99: 5
The holy God is inherently worthy of worship and extreme reverence; it is a serious sin to deny Him of proper worship."
Let us know the LORD better so that our worship will be acceptable to His sight and will exalt His holy person!
Friday, January 12, 2007
Let us begin by the shallowness of society. The Holy Bible tells us that "in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away".
I am presently 60 years old. I can testify that we have seen much change in the general morality of society. When I was young, there was almost no divorce but it has now attain the rate of 50%. Young women having babies without being married was rare and those who were having abortions were shameful but now they parade in streets and have their sin paid by the government. Homosexuals had a very low profile socially and now they have gay pride parades. Drugs were almost absent and now drugs are rampant and even pre-teen kids are victims. Schools were places where children were in security and in a moral environment but now they live in a violent and depraved environment. We could go on and on with examples of how the society have lost most of its moral standards. Many people today negate the idea of sin. Why is that so? Simply because they have rejected the Bible and its truth. They have voluntarily lost the sense of the holiness of God and of His infinitely high standards of living and morality.
Seeing such phenomena in the society without God is not surprising. But now we begin to see a parallel in the evangelical world. The Scriptures says that people will profess to believe but they will not act accordingly: "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof". Don't we see today many people affirming they believe in God but they act as if they were pagans?
In an article entitled "Is the acknowledgement of God's holiness essential?", Dr. David Wells says: "The loss of the traditional vision of God as holy is now manifested in the evangelical world. It is the key to understanding why sin and grace have become such empty words. What depth of meaning can these terms have except in relation to the holiness of God? Divorced from the holiness of God, grace is merely empty rhetoric, pious window dressing for the modern technique by which sinners work out their own salvation. Divorce from the holiness of God, our gospel becomes indistinguishable from any of a host of alternative self-help doctrines. Divorced from the holiness of God, our public morality is reduced to little more than an accumulation of trade-offs between private interests. Divorced from the holiness of God, our worship becomes mere entertainment. The holiness of God is the very cornerstone of Christian faith, for it is the foundation of reality. Sin is the defiance of God's holiness, the Cross is the outworking and victory of God's holiness, and faith is the recognition of God's holiness. Knowing that God is holy is therefore THE KEY to knowing life as it truly is, knowing why he came, and knowing how life will end."
Let us go back to our Bibles and put our great, holy and sovereign LORD on the throne (not only as our saviour but also as our master)! This is the only way society and the evangelical world will bring back a holy and healthy morality. This is also the only way by which we will avoid self-deceit and hell.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Monday, January 08, 2007
Friday, January 05, 2007
This little quote teaches us two things:
1) we will never know everything there is to know about GOD (the limitation will remain even after the resurrection of believers);
2) we can learn about HIS HOLINESS through the words of Scripture.
Let us suppose a man with very great mental abilities. Let us also suppose that he is a christian and that he decides to pass his whole life studying the Bible about GOD'S holiness. The more he studies, the more he sees the unspeakable profoundness of the Word of GOD. Let us also suppose that he is faithful and that he does that diligently all his life. Will he know all that it is humanly possible to know about the LORD'S holiness? Absolutely not! Because no one can exhaust all the riches of GOD'S Word! Well, will you say, if that is true, it is not very encouraging to study this doctrine. This attitude is also wrong! We must study this teaching simply because GOD commands us to do it. So our knowledge and understanding will be in direct proportion of our efforts. Our LORD said: "Thou shalt love the LORD thy GOD with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." (Matthew 22: 37) How can we love someone that we do not know? The more we know about HIM, the more we love HIM.
Lesson number 1: it our responsibility to study and learn the more we can about GOD and about HIS HOLINESS in particular. And we can not do that without efforts and time. We have a great tendency to laziness!
The other day, I was discussing about the matter of holiness with two other christians and I told them: "I would be curious to ask the average christian to write all he knows about GOD'S holiness just from the top of his mind? How many pages could he produce?" And how many pages could I produce? This little question puts us in face of our responsibility: we must study the Scriptures! How many theology books have you read and studied since you are a christian? If we are ignorant, it is by our own fault. There is never been a time in history where good books are available at very good prices! For example, I had Steven Charnock's book "The existence and attributes of God" (1140 pages) for $9.99! By the way, Charnock has written 100 pages on the attribute of holiness. And even if we do not have any money, there is a lot of good books that you can read free on the internet. We have no excuses!
If we cannot fully understand GOD's holiness in a whole life of study and that eternity will not be sufficient to extensively grasp this same holiness, do we begin to see how great GOD's holiness is? And don't forget, holiness is only one of HIS attributes!...
Dear readers, the greatness of OUR LORD is wonderful! "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." Romans 11: 33-36 These are my favorite verses. They are so profound!...