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God's Holiness

by Gil Rugh

When we think of God, we often focus on His great love. It is amazing to consider God’s overwhelming love toward us, a love without measure that will endure throughout eternity.

And yet, there is another aspect of God’s character that is just as great—His holiness. Holy means “set apart,” and it is the essence of who God is. He is completely unique and set apart from sin.

God’s holiness was revealed to the prophet Isaiah in a unique way. Isaiah received a vision in which he “saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple” (Is. 6:1). As God’s beauty and majesty were displayed, the seraphim called out, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory” (v. 3).

Peter’s first letter was written to Gentile Christians scattered throughout the world. Although they were suffering, Peter encouraged them: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet. 1:14–16).

Peter was quoting from Leviticus 11:44; 19:2; and 20:7. God’s demand and requirement for His people, Israel, in the Old Testament was that they be holy as He is holy. The requirement is the same for us today. The God who is perfectly holy will produce His character in the lives of those He calls to Himself. Therefore, our lives are to increasingly reflect His holiness. The holiness He requires is only possible because of Christ’s great work of redemption on the cross and the Holy Spirit’s continued work in believers’ lives.