Yesterday we spent time dealing with some inital questions about holiness. We discussed some of the reasons why Christians often fail to have victory when holiness is a promised birthright. One of the things that we didn’t do was explain just exactly what holiness is and why it’s so important.
The Measuring Rod
Go all the way back to the beginning of time and you’ll find an angel craving God’s position so badly that he was condemned to hell. Skip ahead a bit and the scene changes to a woman being tempted by a snake beside a fruit tree. The temptation was not a mouth-watering fruit; it was the desire to “be like God.” These are the first two sins recorded in the Bible, both driven by the intense desire to be in the place of God.
Sin found it’s roots in trying to sidestep God, which makes perfect sense because God is the measure of all holiness. Jerry Bridges defines holiness as “nothing less than conformity to the character of God.” Living an unholy life then is the ultimate coup d’état, the prime statement of protest against God Himself.
1 John 1:5 tells us that “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” His nature is the very definition of holiness. Until we begin to understand just who God is and how holy He is, we can’t really grasp how grotesque a violation sin is.
The God That Does Not Wink
The significance of this might not have hit you yet, so I’ll do the honors of swinging the bat. In Habakkuk 1:13, the prophet Habakkuk said that “[God’s] eyes are too pure to look on evil; [He] cannot tolerate wrong.” This perfect God who is the measure of holiness cannot tolerate wrong. Because He is the standard by which holiness is measured, any violation of that standard would be antithetical to His person.
The size of the violation does not matter. It may be a lie, it may be pride and it may be raping a child–each of these constitutes a breach of God’s holiness and thereby put us at odds with Him. Because God Himself is endless and boundless, His hatred of sin is also endless and boundless. The sooner we understand that our sin is an affront to who God is, the sooner we can experience holiness in our lives.
The God That Weeps
The idea is troubling; unholy living is a violation of God’s character. But understanding the ramifications behind the idea is even more troubling. Psalms 66:18 warms that cherishing sin in our hearts will turn away God’s ear. This violation isn’t just a judge banging a gavel and doling out judgement; it’s a groom weeping for his bride’s impurity. There is a relationship at work here, and every sin is a sorrow pang in the heart of our Saviour.