1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. Throughout scripture there is a call for God’s people to pursue a lifestyle of holiness. Peter tells us why this is so important – God is holy. What does it mean when the Bible tells us that God is holy?
The word ‘holy’ means: “to separate or to set apart.” To say that God is holy is to say that He is set apart from everything that is in the universe.
God is uniquely holy. Hannah prayed: “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2). We sometimes hear the word ‘awesome’ used to describe a lot of things; yet the Bible tells us that only God is truly awesome. We read from the book of Psalms: “Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.” (Ps 33:8) To stand in awe of God is to be overwhelmed by His glory and greatness. Consider Isaiah’s reaction when he saw the Lord.
Isaiah 6:1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
Isaiah was overwhelmed by the glory of God. So was John the Apostle. “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead…” (Revelation 1:17)
To say that God is holy is to say that He is supreme in power. It is also to say that He is supreme in purity. John used the analogy of light to describe the holiness of God. “…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) God is perfectly pure. There is no trace of evil in His character or being. Because God is holy in nature, He cannot tolerate sin. Habakkuk the prophet declared: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and You cannot tolerate wrongdoing.” (Hab 1:13 CSB)
God is Holy. Therefore, to suggest a kind of Christianity that does not call for an active pursuit of holiness is misrepresent the nature of God. John wrote that anyone who claims to have fellowship with God while deliberately living in sin is a liar. (see 1 John 1:6) We read from the book of Psalms – “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” (Ps 66:18) God will not listen to the prayer of someone who willfully walks in sin.
1 Peter 1:16 …Be ye holy; for I am holy. How can we be as holy as God? In and of ourselves – we can’t. No one can match up to the greatness of God. “All have sinned and come short of His glory.” (Romans 3:23) Only through our faith in the sacrifice of Christ can we be made right with God and a relationship with Him who is holy.
Revelation 1:5 …Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.