“Mom, she (her sister) said that if I look at God, my eyes will burn out!” exclaimed my daughter.
Just another typical afternoon fulfilling my roles as chauffeur and referee to my three children. Recalling that the girls had recently studied the story of Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-17), I was grateful to have some mental context as I prepared to address the squabble of the moment.
We reviewed Moses’ interaction with God in that passage, but that wasn’t enough. To correct biblical misinterpretation, it was important to address why Moses could not look directly upon God. It was time to talk about God’s holiness and our sinfulness.
As we study God’s Word, we discover that only God is holy; man doesn’t come close in any sense, although God tells us to be holy just as He is holy. The Bible describes the LORD in many ways: loving, just, merciful, compassionate and righteous, but emphasizes His holiness above all else. So, we must ask, “What is holiness, and why is it important in the lives of the people of God?”
God the Father is Holy
“There is none holy like the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2 ESV)
To quote theologian R.C. Sproul from The Holiness of God, “The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, or wrath, wrath, wrath, or justice, justice, justice. It does say that He is holy, holy, holy, the whole earth is full of His glory.”
The Bible teaches that God’s sinless perfection and holiness distinctly separates Him from both angels and humans. Not only does God hate sin, He cannot look upon sin in any form; thus our sins partition us from our Creator the moment we are born (Habakuk 1:13 NIV). 1 Samuel 2:2 says no one is holy like the Lord, thus no one or no thing can ever compete or rival Him on any level at any time. Or, as Natasha Crain writes in Talking With Your Kids about God, “God isn’t just a better version of our human selves; he’s truly in a class of his own.”God isn’t just somewhat holy; He is the only true definition and perfect description of holiness, and that’s a good thing for lost mankind. Because He is not in the least tainted by sin, only He can save us.