Three of the most well-known attributes of God are love, grace and mercy. The three attributes that are not well known are wrath, justice and holiness. The one attribute of God that is emphasized in the Bible more than any other is the holiness of God. Holy is the only attribute of God that is repeated three times in succession in Isaiah 6:3 and in Revelation 4:8. In these two verses, we read: “holy, holy, holy.” You will not find anywhere in the Bible love, love, love, grace, grace, grace, mercy, mercy, mercy, justice, justice, justice, and so on.
In Isaiah 6:3, “holy” translates the Hebrew adjective “kadosh.” In Revelation 4:8, “holy” translates the Greek adjective “hagios.” Both “kadosh” and “hagios” mean “separate,” “set apart,” “different,” “distinct.” God is holy because He is different from all other beings. The Bible is holy because it is different from all other books.
The temple was holy because it was different from all other buildings. Believers are chosen (Ephesians 1:4), called (1 Thessalonians 4:7), and commanded to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). Believers are to be different and set apart for God’s use and service (Read Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
God is perfect in all of His attributes. He is not more of one attribute than He is of another. Moreover, the attributes of God are never in conflict; and one attribute of God does not cancel another. For example, love does not cancel wrath and justice. If love could cancel justice and wrath, the cross would not have been necessary.
One reason the holiness of God is emphasized more than any other attribute of God is because everything about God is holy. According to Psalm 145:17, “The LORD is righteous in all His ways and holy in all His works.” According to 1 Samuel 2:2, “There is none holy as the Triune God.” God’s nature is holy (Leviticus 11:44; Psalm 99:3, 5, 9). God’s name is holy (Psalm 103:1; 105:3; 106:47; 111:9; 145:21; Luke 1:49). God’s dwelling place is holy (Deuteronomy 26:15; 2 Chronicles 30:27; Isaiah 57:15). God’s throne is holy (Psalm 47:8). God’s city is holy (Nehemiah 11:1; Matthew 4:5; 27:53; Revelation 21:2, 10; 22:19). God’s temple is holy (Habakkuk 2:20). God’s love is a holy love; God’s grace is a holy grace; God’s mercy is a holy mercy; God’s wrath is a holy wrath; God’s justice is a holy justice, and so on.
Another reason the holiness of God is emphasized more than any other attribute of God is because the knowledge of the holiness of God is understanding (Proverbs 9:10). There are many things about God we will not understand until and unless we understand that God is holy, holy, holy. We will not understand Isaiah 64:6, which says that we are all as an unclean thing and all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in the eyes of God unless we understand that God is holy, holy, holy. We will not understand the need to be saved from the wrath to come unless we understand that God is holy, holy, holy. If we do not understand that God is holy, holy, holy, we will not understand the cry of Jesus on the cross: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus was quoting Psalm 22:1. The twenty-second Psalm gives a prophetic picture of the crucifixion of Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed intensely for the cup to be removed because He saw in the cup substitutionary suffering. Second, Jesus saw sins being placed upon Him, and Jesus had never experienced sins: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5–6). “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Third, Jesus saw the separation that would take place while He was paying the penalty for our sins on the Cross. Jesus knew that He would be forsaken when sins were placed upon Him. Psalm 22:1 asked the question, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” The Psalmist answered his question in Psalm 22:3, “Because you are holy.”
According to Habakkuk 1:13, God cannot look favorably upon sin because He is holy. God has provided a way for us to be saved from His wrath and to enter His holy presence through Jesus Christ: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1–2). “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:8–9). “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:1–4). “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15–16).
If you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, why not receive Him right now?
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12, NKJV). “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9–10)