Most Important & Least Studied Doctrine
THE HOLINESS OF GOD
Perhaps one of the most important doctrines of God and yet one of theCourtesy: carm.org newsletter
least studied, is the holiness of God. God is holy (Isaiah 6:3; Rev. 4:8). Holiness is purity, incorruptibility, absolute truth, perfection in
character and morality, etc. This is something only God possesses and it is part of His divine nature. Since God's nature does not change, His holiness does not change. Since God is infinite, His holiness is infinite. God's perfect holiness requires nothing less than itself. It is the reflection of pure character, the measure of all truth, the standard of what is good and right. The holiness of God cannot be transferred to another. It is something that belongs to God and to God alone.
If we understand God's holiness, we can then understand why He must punish the sinner. The reason someone is a sinner is because he breaks the Law of God. The Law of God is a reflection of God's character and since God is holy in character, the Law is also holy. We can then see that the reason it is wrong to lie and steal (Exodus 20) is not because God arbitrarily decided it was wrong. Far from it. The reason it is wrong is because these things are contrary to God's holy character. In other words, God simply cannot lie or steal. It is absolutely impossible for Him. Therefore, anyone who breaks God's holy law, will suffer the consequences of breaking the Law. There is no Law that is not a Law without a punishment. But thanks be to God that He sent His son to bear our sins in His body so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).
Therefore, because of the work of Christ on the cross and our identification with Him, God says, "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy," (1 Pet. 1:14-16). This command to be holy is a difficult task. Take your thought life, for example. Is it free from impurity? Is it incorruptible? Is it perfect in moral character? Or how about your words. Are they pure and perfect in moral character? Are your motives always and without exception perfect, pure, and true? The only one who could ever say yes to these questions is Jesus Himself.
But don't worry. Even though in one very real sense we cannot be perfect in holiness as God requires of us, in another sense we can -- by the
imputation of Christ's righteousness. Imputation means to reckon to or to credit to another account. In other words, the righteousness of Jesus is
credited to our account when we are born again. Holiness requires moral
purity and sinlessness, something we cannot attain on our own. But, with
Christ, with being IN Christ, we are imputed with His righteousness.
Therefore, because of what Christ has done and because of our faith in Him, the righteousness of Christ that is given to us, by faith. That is why it says in Romans 5:1 that we are justified by faith and Eph. 2:8 says we are saved by faith.
Glory be to God who has not only provided us with the standard of holy
perfection, but has also provided us a way to achieve it by our adopting, by our receiving the righteousness of God the Son who died on our behalf. We are so closely identified with Jesus that it is said of us that we have died with Christ. Col. 3:1-4 is important here: "If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."
Because of the great work of Christ and because we are identified with Him in His crucifixion, we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to righteousness (Rom. 6:2). We are to let our minds dwell on holy things. We are to speak truth and never lie. We are never to steal. We are to be holy because God is holy. What God requires of us, He makes a way for us