Many people speak of God as some man in the sky rather than the eternal Being and Creator of the universe. By definition, God is beyond the universe as the Creator of the heavens and the earth. The cause of the universe must be transcendent of everything and thus metaphysical and supernatural. This uniqueness separating God from all creation and existence is God’s holiness.
God is the Source of all goodness so His nature is pure, right, loving, and just. The biblical prophet Isaiah reflected that God shows Himself holy in righteousness (Isa 5:16). Because of God’s holiness, the biblical Psalmist called for exaltation and worship of God (Ps 99:9; cf. 1 Chr 16:29). According to the Song of Moses, God’s majesty displays in His holiness (Exod 15:11).
God has called all believers to “be holy for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:16; cf. Lev 11:44–45; 19:2). According to 1 Peter 1:14–16, God is the standard of holiness in righteousness. To live holy lives is to live in the likeness of God. Peter urged Christians not to conform to passions of lust but Christians must become holy in all conduct and behavior. This is why obedience to God is essential. Peter further revealed that Christ ransomed Christians by His blood as He is without spot or blemish (1 Pet 1:18–19). Despite sins, everyone can pursue a holy and righteous life with God through Jesus Christ.
Hannah professed in her prayer, “There is none holy like the LORD: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God” (1 Sam 2:2). God is totally set apart from all evil. The Hebrew for holy is godesh meaning “apartness” or “sacred.” The root idea of holiness is separation by a unique nature. That distinction of holiness is a divine quality as God is righteous unlike any other (Isa 5:16). Holiness is godliness.
Holiness is one of the greatest moral attributes of God by which believers commune with God. God has divine attributes that are so great than people cannot fully posses them. These include God being almighty and all-knowing. However, humanity can share in God’s holiness and must be holy to be saved (Heb 12:10). Holiness is both transcendent in God and yet morally necessary for humanity made in His image.
As one scholar noted, God’s holiness is comparable to the rooms of the tabernacle. The first room of the tabernacle is the “holy place” dedicated for priests to serve God daily. However, the veil separated the priests from the most holy place (Exod 26:33). The most holy place was separate from humanity’s sin as the most holy place contained God’s commandments within the Ark of the Covenant. God’s separation from sin demonstrates His complete righteousness. David expressed, “And who shall stand in His holy place?” (Ps 24:3).
The writer of Hebrews revealed, :For without the holiness, no one will see the Lord” (12:14b). The holy nature of God demands a people who are holy, consecrated, pure, and set apart from the defiling acts of the world (1 Pet 2:5, 9; cf. Exod 19:4–6; Josh 24:19–20).
Thank God that He has made the faithful holy, because people cannot make themselves holy. The apostle Paul revealed, “He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him” (Col 1:22). Paul also declared, “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God” (2 Cor 7:1).