Thursday, June 21, 2012

What Happens When We Remember That God is Holy?

God is wholly other and completely outside of ourselves. He is “Most High” (Acts 7:48). In David Wells’ book The Courage to Be Protestant, he outlines what happens when we remember again how wholly transcendent God's holiness is.

God’s holiness has essential implications for Christian belief:
First, it means that there is a moral law. If God were not holy, this would not be the case, humans would not have a reflection of the law on their consciences, and we would not know the difference between good and bad, between right and wrong.

Second, God’s holiness means that there is sin. If God is holy, his holiness has a standard. Because the law is that standard, and we break it every day, we trespass against God’s holiness. Wells says, “Sin brings not only shame but also guilt when we understand it in relation to God’s holiness” (128).

Third, God’s holiness demands proper satisfaction. This means that because of God’s holiness, there is a cross. If we have trespassed against God’s holiness, that same holiness demands restitution. Christ’s death is meaningless unless we understand it in relation to God’s holiness. Wells says:

“Without the holiness of God, then, there is no cross. Without the cross there is no gospel. Without the gospel there is no Christianity” (129).

Fourth, God’s holiness means that there is a conquest. That is, God is dealing and will ultimately deal with all the evil in the world. The church should not shy away from God’s judgment, because in his judgment we have hope that all wrongs will be righted!

Fifth, God’s holiness means that there is an obligation for personal holiness on the part of the believer. Christ died to save us from the wrath of God, but he saved us unto something as well, namely, a life of good works.

Without the holiness of God, Christianity becomes an entirely different religion. A religion that is therapeutic, and deals with a God who is merely there to make us comfortable. Without the proper belief in the holiness of God there is no moral law, there isn’t any “culpability” for sin, the cross is rendered utterly meaningless, there would be no ultimate righting of wrongs, and no obligation for us to be anything other than selfish.

God is holy whether we believe it or not, but we are Christians only if we believe that God is holy!

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