The Holiness of God

Pastor Tom Ascol, beginning a short series on the character of God, teaches on “The Holiness of God.” This message centers on the attribute Andrew Fuller identified as the “fundamental principle in religion.” God’s holiness is more than just one attribute among many; it is His glory, giving luster and beauty to all His other perfections. Holiness is essential to His very existence and a subject of angelic preoccupation.

God’s Word defines God’s holiness. Revelation 15:1 – 4 tells us it is a distinctive of God, that is, He alone is Holy. He is separate, of a different sort in that regard. Further, He is unpolluted, spotless and free from evil. His perfect conformity to His own character illustrates His moral purity. Moreover, God reveals His holiness through His works. After all, the whole of His Creation was “very good,” and the particular creation of humankind was set apart from the rest of creation as man was morally pure and alone made in the image and likeness of his Creator.

God’s holiness has been revealed in His exercise of judgment, for example, when the Ark of the Covenant was mishandled, when the sons of Aaron offered “strange fire,” and in the judgment of fallen angels. Other examples are provided as a result of Korah’s rebellion, Ananias and Sapphira’s lie, and the flood of Noah’s time. These occasional instances of God showing His holiness pale in comparison to the Law given to Israel. The sacrifices, three command to “be holy, for I am holy,” the Law as God’s express will for life all spoke directly and continuously to His holiness. Finally, Hell itself is a testimony to God’s holiness.

The greatest example of God’s holiness is wrapped up in all that the Son of God was and did. His Incarnation, the recognition by his disciples of their sinfulness and His sinlessness, His daily life, and the atonement attained on the Cross are especially indicative of God’s holiness. What took place on the Cross provided a way, the only way, for sinful man to be accounted as sinless and therefore worthy of eternal life and the escape from eternal damnation. Only because the sin of men was purposely taken by the Son at the Father’s orchestration, could God’s utter holiness accept men who have trusted in the Son. God holiness is so great that He would not spare His own Son when Jesus Christ stood in the place of sinners. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a holy Gospel.

When we think of God’s holiness we do well to consider these thoughts:

  1. What does a holy God think of our sin?
  2. What do I deserve as a result of that sin?
  3. His plan for overcoming man’s sin reveals a provision for so great a salvation that we ought to resolve to turn away from our sin with a revitalized determination.
  4. God’s holiness and God’s implementation of the plan of salvation also reveal a love of infinite depth.

All of this is available in turning in repentance and faith to the One who gave Himself for us.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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