3. Holiness

Holiness (Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology, Victor Books, 1986,) p. 37.

  1. Meaning. a. Usually defined negatively and in relation to a relative, not absolute standard, holiness in the Bible means separation from all that is common or unclean. In respect to God, holiness means not only that He is separate from all that is unclean and evil but also that He is positively pure and thus distinct from all others.
  2. b. An analogy may help in understanding this concept. What does it mean to be healthy? It is the absence of illness, but also a positive infusion of energy. Holiness is the absence of evil and the presence of positive right. In God, His holiness is a purity of being and nature as well as of will and act.
  3. Scripture. Holiness is the attribute by which God wanted to be especially known in Old Testament times (Lev. 11:44; Josh. 24:19; Ps. 99:3, 5, 9; Isa. 40:25; Hab. 1:12). In the New Testament is appears in direct statements (John 17:11; 1 Pet. 1:5), in ascriptions of praise (Rev. 4:8), and in the figure of God being light (1 John 1:5).
  4. Application. The absolute, innate holiness of God means that sinners have to be separated from Him unless a way can be found to constitute them holy. And that way has been provided in the merits of Jesus Christ.

A proper view of the holiness of God should make the believer sensitive to his own sin (Isa. 6:3, 5; Luke 5:8).

The holiness of God becomes the standard for the believer’s life and conduct (1 John 1:7). This should put to an end the often useless discussions over what is permitted and what is not in the Christian life. Proper conduct can be tested by the simple question, Is it holy? This is the believer’s standard. While he does not always measure up to it, he must never compromise it.

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