God’s Holiness Reviewed

The twenty-first century church speaks of God’s attribute of love with a high degree of frequency. A person can hardly go a single day without someone, either within the church or outside the church, speaking of or relating to God’s love. Some theologians consider love to be an essential attribute of God.[1] Reminders exist in both print and from the pulpits of this time in history how Christians are to remember the biblical commands to love God, love each other, and love their enemies. Unbelievers and liberal leaning Christians use the reality of God’s command to love as part of their methodology in an attempt to advance their agendas.

God does not have just one attribute. Even though one does not hear of them with the frequency of God’s love, God has many different characteristics. God’s attributes include omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, immutability, goodness, simplicity, and holiness to mention only a few. Jonathan Edwards considered God’s holiness one of his most dear attributes:

The holiness of God has always appeared to me the most lovely of all His attributes. The doctrines of God’s absolute sovereignty, and free grace, in showing mercy to whom he would show mercy; and man’s absolute dependence on the operation of God’s Holy Spirit, have very much appeared to me as sweet and glorious doctrines.[2]

The Old Testament often spoke of God’s attribute of holiness. Rarely does an article appear concerning God’s holiness, and even less does one hear a sermon coming from the pulpits of the twenty-first century church on God’s holiness. Augustus Hopkins Strong insisted, “Not all God’s acts are acts of love, but all are acts of holiness.”[3] This author proposes the question, “What does one mean when they speak of God’s holiness and is God holy since people rarely talk about it?”

[1] Millard Erikson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), p. 305.

[2] Jonathan Edwards, “Personal Narrative,” in Letters and Personal Writings, ed. George S. Glaghorn, vol. 16 of The Works of Jonathan Edwards (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), p. 793.

[3] Augustus Hopkins Strong, Systematic Theology (Philadelphia: American Baptist Publication Society, 1907), p. 275.

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