God is Holy; God is Love
Can God be both Holy and loving?
Do idols belong in the temple of God? We are the temple of the living God, as God himself says, ‘I will live with these people and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ The Lord also says, ‘Leave them and stay away! Don’t touch anything that isn’t clean. Then I will welcome you and be your Father. You will be my sons and my daughters, as surely as I am God, the All-Powerful.’
Many say God’s holiness makes him judgmental, demanding a very high moral standard. Others say if God is loving, then he won’t condemn anyone but all will go to Heaven. Are God’s holiness and love opposite extremes?
“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.” (1 John 1:5).
Holiness (pictured here as light) is God’s nature. It unifies all his other characteristics. He is perfectly good, perfectly righteous, perfectly merciful, perfectly faithful, etc. All of his actions are determined by this purity that sets him apart from all others. “By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified.” (Leviticus 10:3)
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty. The whole earth is filled with his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)
It is in the presence of God’s pure, holy light that we become aware of our sin. Isaiah said, “I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips...” (Isaiah 6:5) Even our good deeds are filthy compared to the purity of God’s holiness. (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:23) God does not judge sin out of cruelty: “...His eyes are too pure to look on evil or tolerate wrongdoing.” (Habakkuk 1:13) Yet, the holy mercy and love of God provided a way for Isaiah to be purified (Isaiah 6:6-7) and he does the same for us.
God’s Holy Love
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8).
Selfish motives and wrong thinking limit human love. Real love doesn’t tolerate selfish, hurtful behavior. God is pure love! (1John 4:10,16; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7) He desires holiness for his children: He wants us to be completely set apart for Him. What parent does not wish for a “perfect” life for their child? We lack the understanding and power to give that, but God does not. God wants to give us a new life, free from sin. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
God’s holiness does not limit or oppose his love; it defines it! “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:18) Are you experiencing this perfect, holy love?
Pray this week:
God, please help me experience the reality of your Holiness and understand my need for your Perfect Love. Please purify me.
How can I, a constant sinner, be accepted by a Holy, perfect God?