The Bible Project
The holiness of God is a powerful force and an interesting study. Read on to learn more about God’s holiness.
Holiness is more than being good and morally upstanding.
When referring to the holiness of God, the holiness definition takes on a much richer meaning. God’s holiness is His defining characteristic. The holiness of God is a term used in the Bible to describe both His goodness and His power. It is completely unique, and utterly all-powerful, radiating out from God like an energy. In fact, God’s holiness is so overwhelming, that it can actually be dangerous to approach.
What is holiness?
God’s holiness is His defining characteristic. The holiness of God is a term used in the Bible to describe both His goodness and His power. It is completely unique, and utterly all-powerful, radiating out from God like an energy. In fact, God’s holiness is so overwhelming, that it can actually be dangerous to approach.
It’s helpful to think of God like the sun. The sun is so bright and powerful that its energy radiates out through the solar system. It’s a good, helpful thing to be within the sun’s energy, but the sun itself is so powerful that it’s dangerous to get too close. In scripture, where we see examples of mortal men approaching the presence of the almighty God, the exact same scenario that this metaphor depicts is played out.
Take, for example, the story of Moses and the burning bush. As Moses approaches the burning bush (which as we know is the presence of God), God tells Moses to take off his shoes because he is on holy ground and warns him not to come any closer.
It’s an intense example of just how overwhelmingly powerful God’s holiness is. Other examples of God’s holiness in the Bible can be found in verses depicting the Holy of Holies, the inner room of the Israelite temple where God Himself resided. Because the Israelites, and especially the priests that worked within the temple, were in such close proximity to God’s holiness, they had to take great care in order to keep themselves pure.
For the Israelites, keeping oneself pure involved not only trying to remain morally pure but also ritually pure as well. The rituals that the Israelites had to follow in order to stay pure were numerous and included things such as staying away from dead animals, certain foods, and certain bodily fluids. While becoming ritually impure was never defined as being sinful, the problem was that the Israelites were not able to exist within such close proximity of God’s holiness if they were ritually impure.
The narrative of God’s holiness doesn’t end there.
Later on in the Bible, we see incredible stories of God’s holiness expanding out from the temple and purifying things that were otherwise impure. Isaiah, for example, has a vision where he enters the temple impure but is purified while he is there by a burning coal – a physical embodiment of God’s holiness. Later on, Ezekiel also has a vision where the holiness of God pours out from the temple like a river, revitalizing and purifying all the land it comes into contact with.
These examples of God’s holiness purifying impure things all lead up to Christ. Christ, who is God’s holiness in human flesh, goes out into the land, healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out demons – all of which are examples of God’s holiness now purifying the things it comes into contact with.
Through all of these examples, we are able to piece together a compelling picture of the holiness of God. God’s holiness is a powerful force that must be treated with the utmost respect. At the same time, God’s holiness is a gift, able to heal a broken and impure world. Best of all, as followers of Christ, a part of God’s holiness now resides in us as well, making it our mission to go out and spread the holiness of God to all the world.