When you hear the words “God is Holy” what does that mean to you? Probably the most common idea that people have is that God is morally pure. He is that, and a facet of his holiness does have to do with his moral purity, but, that is not the primary meaning.
That God is “Holy” is that he is separate from all others. There is none like him. That God is Holy speaks to the whole of his character and his attributes. He is apart from all other beings. When you consider his attributes (omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, etc. it becomes clear quickly that the God of the Bible alone can be described with those words and their meanings. That God is Holy is that there is none like him…period.
Perhaps the best word picture of God’s holiness in all of the Bible is found in Isaiah 6.
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. (Isaiah 6:1-4)
Kings and kingdoms rise and fall as did King Uzziah but God’s place of authority and grandeur is unmatched and unequaled. As one wise man once said, “In 50 years not one person who now rules a country or is a head of state will be in power”. Yet God is eternally enthroned and what king can even be compared to him? Not one.
“The whole earth is full of his glory!” How wonderful and majestic is this God and how marvelous are his ways! God is separate from all others because he is God! It is his very essence and uniqueness that sets him far apart and above every human.
God is so removed from we his lowly creatures, who can know him? Who can come into his presence and address him? You can, and I can.
We just celebrated Christmas and we sang the song “O Come Emmanuel” (God with us) God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son to live in a body of flesh, to live a life of purity and righteousness, and to take upon himself our sins, and upon the cross to die by blood shed to free us from sin(s) and death forever.
By the worth and work of Jesus Christ our Lord we can now call this Holy God, Father. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). We were (past tense) reconciled to God by the death of Jesus (Romans 5:10).
Just as God is “set apart, or separate” from his creatures, those who are now in Christ are called to be set apart (1 Peter 1:13-16) as well for His glory. That God loved us so should compel us to separate ourselves for his purposes.