In this mini-series of blog posts we are taking a look at the Gospel, also known as the good news, that is given to us by God in His Word. We are beginning, “In the beginning…” which is the place where all presentations of truth must begin. This beginning is God Himself (Gen. 1:1). God is the author of the Gospel, and He has recorded this salvific message in His infallible Word.
As we seek to understand the Gospel, we are first taking a look at who the Author of this Gospel is. In our study, we are doing this by answering the three questions posed in the last article. They are, “Who is God” “What is God like?” and “How am I supposed to respond toward Him?” These three questions set the stage for the Gospel. This week we will seek to answer the second question:
What is God like?
God is Holy……
“And one called out to the other and said, Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.” (Isaiah 6:3). In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah was given a vision of God on His heavenly throne. Being ushered before the throne of God, he hears the Seraphim crying out in three-fold unison, “Holy, holy, holy!” The place where God is most clearly manifested, where His presence is overbearing and glory so majestic…that is a holy place. Who is holy like our God? No one! (1 Sam. 2:2). He is to be feared, worshipped and honoured above all other gods (Ps. 96:4).
The three-fold cry of the Seraphim is for emphasis, as they declare the absolute supreme holiness of God (Rev. 4:8). God’s holiness is one of countless, all-encompassing attributes (Rev. 15:4). He is often described as, “The Holy One” or “The Holy One of Israel”. Yes, God is loving, just, true, saving, kind, forgiving, and merciful, but He is holy above all else. Each and every one God’s other attributes leads back to His holiness. He loves, with a holy love, He is just to punish sin because it’s presence would mar his holiness, He forgives and redeems so that we may become holy and dwell with Him. His holiness permeates who He is in essence (Ex. 15:11), heaven is a holy place (Rev. 21:27), the saints are called to be holy as He is (1 Pet. 1:15-16), God swears by His holiness (Ps. 89:35), the saints sing of His holiness (Ps. 30:4), the beauty of God is His beauty of holiness (Ps. 110:3). Speaking on the topic of holiness, Stephen Charnock writes,
“God is often styled Holy than Almighty, and set forth by this part of His dignity more than by any other. This is more fixed on as an epithet to His name than any other. You never find it expressed “His mighty name” or “His wise name,” but His great name, and most of all, His holy name. This is the greatest title of honour; in this latter doth the majesty and venerableness of His name appear.” (1)
God is Just……
Not only is our great God holy above all else, He is also supremely just. Deuteronomy 32:4 states, “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all his ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.” Justice as we can see is equated with faithfulness and a right judgment. God makes all His decisions with perfect righteousness and holiness. It is the holiness of God that heavily affects and gives great reason for Him to be just. The question about God’s justice is posed in Job 8:3, “Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert what is right?” The answer: May it never be! God is not one to pervert His counsel, He is perfectly just.
Now, as stated above, the justice of God flows out of His holiness. And this is because as a just God, He must punish sin (Ex. 32:34). Habakkuk 1:13 says of God, “Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, and You can not look on wickedness with favour…” God’s justice will destroy the wicked, and those who sin and break His Law are forever excluded from His presence (Rev. 22:15) (Ps. 101).
Sin is an affront to Holy God, a direct attack on His pure character, therefore it must be punished. And in God’s justice, He will unleash His wrath and punish the wicked for all their sinful deeds (Rom. 3:23). God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against the sin of mankind (Rom. 1:18), and His justice is displayed in His punishment of it (Ps.96:13; Is. 13:11)
So we see both the supreme holiness and empowering justice of our God. And between these two attributes this is such a small glimpse of the whole character of God. His holiness permeates all that He is, and because of this He is just and will punish anything and everything that is contrary to Him. God’s holiness is displayed in many ways, and as we continue to look at God we are getting a sense of being separate from Him. We are not holy, and we are sinful, therefore we must expect what we deserve: justice and judgment. But that is where the Gospel comes in and that is what we will begin to unfold in the following days as we answer the question…..”How am I to respond towards Him?”