The Holiness of God

The Holiness of God

It is said that pious Jews will not read or write the name of God because it is too holy. How far away have we come from this treatment of the name of God in our secular culture? Is this just an “Old Testament thing”? Since we live in what, in our utter blindness, is fancifully believed to be an enlightened age, have we rather arrogantly decided for ourselves that God’s name doesn’t deserve respect any longer?

It is ludicrous to try and separate the impacts of the Old Testament from those of the New Testament. The Old Testament chronicles the involvement of Jesus Christ in God’s plan from before Genesis through Malachi, ultimately foretelling the coming of Jesus Christ as the Messiah in the New Testament, and the New Testament points backward into the Old Testament concerning Jesus Christ.

Respect for God comes from having respect for His Holy Name. God has many titles – Ancient Of Days, Uncreated Creator, Jehovah-Jireh, etc., but He has only one name: Yahweh, which means “To Be”.

God is jealous of His Holy Name. Here are Scriptures mentioning God’s Holy Name:

Leviticus
11:44, 11:45, 19:2, 20:3, 20:7, 21:6 22:2, 22:32

1 Chronicles
16:10, 16:35, 29:16

Psalms
30:4, 33:21, 97:12, 99:3, 103:1, 105:3, 106:47, 111:9, 145:21

Isaiah
29:23, 47:4, 54:5, 57:15

Ezekiel
20:39, 36:20, 36:21, 36:22, 36:23, 39:7, 39:25, 43:7, 43:8

Amos
2:7

Luke
1:49

Acts
4:30

Revelation
15:4

The phrase ‘I am the LORD‘ (where LORD in upper-case translates to Yahweh) occurs 156 times in the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Judges, 1 Kings, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel and Zechariah.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5:8-14)

Our lives as Christians revolve around “The Word”. For people not “in the know”, this may surprise them… they may say, thinking that you mean the Holy Bible, ‘I thought a Christian’s life revolves around Jesus Christ.’ You can tell them that Jesus Christ is The Word… quoting from John 1:1-3 …

Pillar #1: Jesus Christ is ‘The Living Word’

This story did not have a particularly friendly outcome, but is only one of many instances wherein Jesus Christ stood on the inviolate authority of the written Word. The listener must receive the Word and believe it. Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” Then we must leave conviction of hearts to the Holy Spirit.

It is evident from these and other passages of Holy Scripture that our very being and day-to-day welfare utterly depend upon Jesus Christ.

Christ Himself was always in the Word… as written in the Holy Scriptures. During the temptation by the evil one in the desert, Jesus rebuked him with power and authority by the 3 verses of Deuteronomy 8:3, 6:13 and 6:16. At the start of His public ministry, recorded in Luke 4:16-30, Jesus read to His hometown folks from Isaiah 61:1-2, saying …

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

He went further… much further… in Luke 4:21 …

and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Pillar 2: Holy Scripture, Old and New Testament, is ‘The Written Word’ 

In Romans 10:13-15, Paul declares and asks …

for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach if they are not sent? As t is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Working backward from this, it is easy to see what is at the core of the Word-centered life… bringing the Good News to people.

1) Someone must be sent to those who have not heard the Word of God.

2) This messenger must proclaim the Word, or witness to it.

3) The listener must ask God to restore their relationship.

All of this to the fundamental focus Paul echoes in Romans 10:17 …

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. 

Pillar 3: The Evangelical Tradition is based on ‘The Spoken Word’  

It is amazing to me the number of people who do not believe in the Word… Living, Written, Spoken or otherwise. Jesus Christ proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Kingdom of God is not a remote, ‘to-come-some-day-in-the-future’ concept as recorded in Luke 17:20-21:

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

So there are some touch-points:

1. The Word is living… it will speak to, and mold, our hearts on many levels.

2. We must pray for understanding.

3. We must tell others what Jesus Christ has done for us.

What is the Word?
-This topic is vast in scope and complexity.

-The Word was God… from the beginning, God was:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

-The Word of God created the worlds and the heavens:

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Hebrews 11:3)

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. (Psalm 33:6)

-The Word is Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. (Revelation 19:13)

-The Word of God is life:

And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. (Luke 4:4)

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Peter 1:23)

-The Word of God is the voice of God:

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)

-The Word of God is the written word of God, known as the Holy Bible:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

-The Word of God cannot be broken:

If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; (John 10:35)

-The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit of God:

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6:17)

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

-The Word of God is true:

All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. (Psalm 119:160)

-The Word of God is living, and will live forever:

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Peter 1:23)

but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:25)

We have lost sight of the holiness of God – His perfect, all-revealing light on what and who we are: compared to what and who He is.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. (Proverbs 1:7)

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. (Philippians 2:12)

Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. (2 Corinthians 5:11)

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

What these Scriptures call for is a reverent fear of God – a concept utterly foreign to the secular culture in which we live. To put it another way, Jesus Christ is not your “homeboy” or your “best bud”… He is the Eternal Son of the Living God, the spotless Lamb of God who gave His life for the sake of the world. This is a simple but essential concept to grasp, because when we in our sin, wickedness, limited wisdom and understanding in our own minds bring Jesus Christ down to our level, God’s grace really doesn’t seem all that special.

Because God is holy, He has called for His people to be holy as well:

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. (1 Peter 1:14-17)

Jesus has the attributions worthy of His position as the Son of God and the Lamb of God:

Luke 2:4-7:
How Jesus Christ came into the world…

John 13:2-5:
Jesus washes the feet of His Apostles…

“Humility”

John 4:7-26:
The Samaritan Woman: the utter importance of a single soul…

“Compassion”, “Grace” and “Mercy” for the lost

Matthew 21:12-13:
Jesus clears the temple…

The “Holiness” and the “Righteousness” of God will not tolerate sin

God’s holy people must have a loathing of sin, repent of their own sin, and believe in the One that God has sent.

John 10:11-19:
The Good Shepherd…

John 15:13:
Greater love has no one than this…

Matthew 26:39:
Gethsemane…

“Sacrifice”

Because of these attributions of both God and Jesus Christ, and of God’s people, true believers have a special charge…

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:20-21)

… and that can be followed up with Colossians 1:15-17 …

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, Whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities: all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

About On A Journey

It's About Jesus!!
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