The spiritual and moral cesspool into which our society has sunk today can be traced back to the loss of the holiness of God and the horridness of sin which separates us from Him. The loss of a sense of the vileness and the destructiveness of sin is the result of the loss of the Holy. The Wisdom Writer wisely wrote, “Knowledge of the Holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). We need to rediscover the Holy. When we do we will see our sin for what it is, and then we discover the power of grace found in the cross enables us to be something we could not otherwise be or do.
The Christian faith must uphold the holiness of God above all else. Everything begins and ends in our Christian faith with God’s holiness. When one looks at the Lord’s Prayer God’s holiness is the foundation on which the model prayer given to us by Christ’s rests – “Hallowed (holy) be thy name” (Matthew 6:9). Holiness means that God the Creator is the standard of moral reality and it is not man who determines the standard. Holiness is God’s moral perfection. Holiness is God’s transcendence above man’s finiteness. Holiness is God’s self-sustaining moral purity. Holiness is God’s unchanging purity. Holiness is not an attribute of God but the essence of who He is, of His being.
Bruce Goettsche says of God’s holiness, “He does what is right and never does what is wrong. God is unstained by, and uncompromising with sin. God does not ‘bend a little’ when it comes to wrong-doing. God always acts in a righteous manner because His nature is holiness.”
The love of God proceeds from His holiness. R.C. Sproul writes, “The Word holy calls attention to all that God is. It reminds us that His love is holy-love…” We must not exalt the love of God to the exclusion of His holiness, for behind His love there is His holiness. Holiness is the essence of God’s character. Love not issuing forth from holiness only becomes sentimentality that has no foundation in moral stability. God created the world to function within the atmosphere of his moral order as a reflection of his morally holy character.
Holiness has vanished from many Christian circles today and as a result the door has been opened to a love that has no moral order, boundaries, absolutes or foundation. We include in our Christian vocabulary words like “love, grace, forgiveness, sin, faith” – yet those words have no depth of meaning expect as they rest upon the foundation of the holiness of God. His holiness must be the bedrock of the Christian faith. P.T. Forsyth says of God’s holiness, “Love is but its outgoing, sin is but its defiance, grace is but its action on sin, the cross is but its victory, faith is but its worship.”
It was more than love that sent Christ to the Cross, it was his holy-love. Christ came to reveal that sin was an offense to the holiness of God’s character. Sin is defiance of God’s holiness. Sin was and is an affront to the holy Father. The cross was first about Christ returning to God holy and perfect obedience which the Father required from His creation and his creatures, yet which humanity couldn’t and can’t comply with. Christ first honored the holiness of God in His life of perfect obedience. He first confessed the holiness of God in His living before He took upon Himself our judgment for our not being able to comply with God’s holy demands. God created man to live in moral order as a reflection of His moral character, but man failed miserably. Christ’s holy-love meets the holy demands of God for us, and then He took upon Himself the judgment of our sin for not being able to meet those holy demands. Because God is holy only a holiness of like kind could be acceptable to and satisfy Him. Holiness must be satisfied by holiness. God in His holy-love provided for humanity perfect holiness in Christ’s life and perfect satisfaction of judgment upon the offense of sin as Christ hung upon the Cross. In the cross of Christ God’s holiness judges and redeems
God desires moral order for creation because He is holy and He Himself is the standard of all moral reality. His moral principles given to humanity are not principles outside of Himself but are the expression of His moral nature which is unchanging. To violate God’s moral principles is to violate His holiness and offend His Personhood. God acts in accordance with the character of His being and our acts of disobedience are acts against His holy character. God acts in holiness and accordance with his moral nature, yet sinful man acts in opposition to God’s holiness which opposes sin. For God to overlook or ignore sin or change His mind about sin would be to violate His own holy nature. Holiness which does not judge sin and does not act in judgment against the violation of His moral nature is no true holiness.
Man’s active defiance today in the face of the Holy Father is the result of him losing a sense of the Holy which has resulted in a loss of the blackness of sin; thus the woes we are experiencing in society. It is not the cross that needs banishing from society, as many are trying to do today, but the need of society is to knell before the holy-love of God found in the Christ of the cross—the answer and hope of humanity.