“For this is what the
high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy, ‘I live in
a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in
spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the
contrite.’” (Isaiah 57:15, NIV)
Government agencies are lenient regarding impurities in
our food supply. For example, in peanut
butter there may be thirty or more insect fragments and one or more rodent
hairs per 100 grams. Shocking, isn’t it?
It’s even more
shocking to realize that God has no
leniency whatsoever for moral impurity. That’s the idea behind the divine name
“the holy one.” The Hebrew word holy
means sinless and free from imperfection. God is without error or fault. He
is absolute purity and light. This attribute of holiness sets God apart, and
makes Him distinct from everything else in a fallen world. Try as we might, we
sinful creatures have a hard time comprehending God's blinding holiness, which
is referred to in Scripture as “terrible” or “dreadful” (see
Nehemiah 1:5, Psalm 68:35).
In the same way that an epidemiologist seeks to isolate
those infected with a deadly disease, or a surgeon insists on a germ-free
operating room, God demands that extreme, even harsh measures be taken to
quarantine and eradicate sin.
Consider the consequences of sin in contrast with a holy
• The payment for offending
a holy God? Death. (Romans 6:23)
consequence of getting too close to God's presence? Death. (Exodus 19:12)
Such dire consequences for sin reveal the extent of God's
holiness. Like the north and south ends of a magnet, holiness and sin cannot
coexist; in fact, they violently repulse each other.
Thankfully, Isaiah 57:17 expands the holiness of God to
mean there’s not only an aversion to sin, but also a desire to seek out, save,
and revive the lost. God’s holiness drives Him to seek and find us. In His
perfection, God seeks to restore the world to its original holy and perfect
It is God's purity that will not allow Him to discard us,
though He has reason to. His holiness, rooted in love, compels Him to save. He
sent His one and only Son to turn sinners into saints.
God's holiness means that God hates sin enough to deliver
sinners from it.