God is HOLY!

Who is God?  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  54:21
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Turn in your Bibles to Ps. 99:1-9
I have my work cut out for me today, I get to try to explain through the help of scripture, The Holiness of God.
An impossible task to say the least. The word “holy” appears in the NKJV 669 time from Gen. - Rev. But what makes this topical description of God so challenging is because it is almost impossible to get the full scope of what Holy means. (And you see what I mean here shortly)
Who is God?
God is Personal - (Last weeks message)

He is holy God (Exodus 3:5; Leviticus 11:44).

But not just holy, He is Holy, Holy, Holy.
A good synonym for holiness is ‘otherness’, which means:
God is wholly ‘other’ (Exodus 9:14).
There is nothing beside God that is quite like him (Exodus 15:11 “11 “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?”
God is without any sin, fault or defect (Deuteronomy 32:4).
He hates sin (Exodus 20:1–17; Psalm 7:11 “11 God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.”
He is incapable of error (2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 18:30 “30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.”
This is why man needs a substitute (Habakkuk 1:13).
The sacrificial system was introduced to show not only God’s mercy but also the seriousness of sin (Hebrews 10:1ff.).
The substitute must be without spot or blemish (Exodus 12:5; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22).
This is why his people are to be holy (1 Peter 1:16 “16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.””
Conversion leads to holiness (Ephesians 4:22 “22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,”
Sanctification (the process of being made holy) is required of each of us (1 Thessalonians 4:3 “3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality;”
Now that we have an introductory overview of the holiness of God lets zoom in just a little bit more and focus on Ps. 99:1-3 but we will read down to v. 9.
Psalm 99:1–9 NKJV
1 The Lord reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved! 2 The Lord is great in Zion, And He is high above all the peoples. 3 Let them praise Your great and awesome name— He is holy. 4 The King’s strength also loves justice; You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. 5 Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His footstool— He is holy. 6 Moses and Aaron were among His priests, And Samuel was among those who called upon His name; They called upon the Lord, and He answered them. 7 He spoke to them in the cloudy pillar; They kept His testimonies and the ordinance He gave them. 8 You answered them, O Lord our God; You were to them God-Who-Forgives, Though You took vengeance on their deeds. 9 Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy.
Psalm 99 is about the holiness of God. It is about his kingly reign also, since it begins with the words “the LORD reigns” (it is the third psalm to do so; the others are Psalms 93 and 97), and it is the next to last in the series of eight royal psalms, beginning with Psalm 93 and ending with Psalm 100.
But mainly Psalm 99 is about God’s holiness, because it is almost impossible to miss this emphasis because the point is made three times in the psalm: in verse 3 (“he is holy”), in verse 5 (“he is holy”), and in verse 9 (“the LORD our God is holy”).
It is also hard to miss the importance of holiness as an attribute of God in the Bible.
To begin with, the Bible calls God holy more than anything else, more than sovereign, more than just, more than merciful or loving.
In fact “holy” is the only characterization of God that is repeated three times for emphasis, like this: “Holy, holy, holy” (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8).
Since the ancients did not have our ways of emphasizing something in print, either by capitalizing or printing in boldface or color, they achieved their emphasis by repetition.
Jesus did it when he prefaced many of his sayings by “verily, verily” or “truly, truly.”
It was a device for calling special attention to what followed. But if saying something twice gives it emphasis, how about if the idea is repeated three times, as “holy” is? Obviously this makes it of extreme importance.
As we read the Bible we discover that God alone is holy:
Revelation 15:4 NKJV
4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.”
God is said to be majestic in his holiness, which is the precise theme of Psalm 99.
Exodus 15:11 NKJV
11 “Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?
This attribute of God is celebrated before his throne - day and night by the seraphim. Isaiah heard them sing:
Isaiah 6:3 NKJV
3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”
So did John in Revelation:
Revelation 4:8 NKJV
8 The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”
God’s people are called on to join these praises. For example,
Psalm 30:4 NKJV
4 Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
Psalm 99 is best outlined by the three parts ending with the words “he (or ‘the LORD our God’) is holy.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon saw this and called Psalm 99 “The Holy, Holy, Holy Psalm.”
J. J. Stewart Perowne wrote rightly, “In this psalm not only the righteous sway of the King, but his awful holiness forms the subject of praise.”
“His awful holiness!” That is a good phrase of Perowne’s, because it is exactly what the first stanza is intended to impress on the worshiper.
It begins by picturing the Lord sitting on his throne in heaven, much like an earthly monarch might receive visitors to his court while sitting on an earthly throne.
But this is no ordinary throne room and no ordinary throne. This is heavenly Zion, and God is enthroned not between some brass ornaments but between the awe-inspiring figures of the cherubim. Before this “holy, holy, holy” God the nations might well “tremble” and the earth “shake” (v. 1).
Visions similar to this are found elsewhere in Scripture, in Psalm 18 and Ezekiel 1 and 10, for instance.
The best known of these is in Isaiah 6.
Isaiah says that he received this vision “in the year that King Uzziah died.” Uzziah was a good king who had reigned for fifty-two years.
So his passing must have been a great blow to the people and have ushered in a time of anxiety about the future. (Queen Elizabeth II passing Thursday Sept, 8)
What would happen to them now that this good king was gone? It was at this fateful time that God gave Isaiah a peek into heaven, which was a way of assuring Isaiah and others that although the earthly king was gone, the heavenly King was still reigning on His throne.
Isaiah says that he saw
the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke (6:1–4).
This is close to what the psalmist describes in his vision of the Lord in verses 1–3.
The important idea in each of these visions is holiness, of course.
But holiness is not an easy concept to understand or define.
In fact, it is impossible to define it adequately. The most common mistake we make is to think of it primarily in terms of human righteousness.
That is, we think of it as moral perfection, purity, or right conduct.
Holiness involves this element, but it is far more than this.
At its root, “holy” is not an ethical concept at all.
Rather it is the very nature of God and what distinguishes him from all else. It is what sets God apart from his creation. It concerns transcendence.
We see this root meaning of holy in the meaning of the words saint and sanctify, which are nearly identical to it.
The words Holy and Saint both have to do with separation. In the biblical sense, a saint is not a person who has achieved a certain level of goodness (as most people think), but rather one who has been “set apart” by God.
That is why all Christians are saints. They are the “called-out ones” who form God’s church. Similarly, “to sanctify” something is to set it apart for God’s service.
Holiness, then, is the characteristic of God that sets him apart from his creation. It has at least three contributing elements.

1. Majesty

Majesty means “dignity,” “authority of sovereign power,” “stateliness,” or “grandeur.” It is the characteristic of strong rulers and of God, who is ruler over all. Majesty links holiness to sovereignty, which is why in Psalm 99 the stanza that begins with a statement about God’s rule (“The LORD reigns”) ends with a reference to his holiness (“he is holy”).

2. Wrath

Wrath is part of holiness, because it is the natural and proper stance of the holy God against all that opposes him.
It means that God takes the business of being God so seriously that he will permit no one else to usurp his place.
When Satan tried to do it he was judged (and will yet be judged). When men and women refuse to take the place God has given them, they will suffer the outpouring of God’s righteous wrath also.

3. Righteousness

This is the matter mentioned earlier. It is involved in holiness not because it is the term by which holiness may best be understood but because it is what the holy God wills in moral areas. What is right? What is moral? We can answer that not by appealing to some abstract, independent moral standard, but by appealing to the character and will of God himself. The right is what God is and reveals to us. The law of God reflects His holiness.
But here is our problem.
He is holy good and you are not. So now, what does a holy good God do with someone like you?
That is the great theological and philosophical problem in the scriptures. God is holy good and that is terrifying.
You see a hardened criminal working for some crime organization who hears that the judge he is going to be standing before is corrupt is full of joy. The most terrifying thing you could tell that criminal is that the judge is not corrupt he is good. It will fill him with terror.
We should be terrified that God is good (holy)? Because we are not. God’s goodness demands justice. That is why God just can’t simply look the other way and forgive you without justice being paid.
When Isaiah had his encounter with the holy God, he reacted in terror, saying, “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty” (Isa. 6:5
Isaiah 6:5 NKJV
5 So I said: “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 my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.”
Similarly, when God revealed himself to Habakkuk, the prophet described the experience by saying, “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled” (Hab. 3:16
Habakkuk 3:16 NKJV
16 When I heard, my body trembled; My lips quivered at the voice; Rottenness entered my bones; And I trembled in myself, That I might rest in the day of trouble. When he comes up to the people, He will invade them with his troops.
Job said, “I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6
Job 42:6 NKJV
6 Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”
Peter caught only a brief glimpse of Jesus’ holiness, but he cried out, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8
Luke 5:8 NKJV
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
These encounters show that the experience of confronting the holy is awe inspiring, even life threatening, which is exactly what the psalmist is indicating in Ps.99:1–3.
Our responds to Holy God is to fear and tremble which brings us to our knees in wholly worship
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