Do you have to understand holy?

Santa Claus Does it really matter what you think about God?
If you picture him as a nice, loving Santa Claus icon,
isn’t that good enough?

Um, no.

How we understand the person and character of God the Father affects every aspect of our lives.

It affects far more than what we normally call the “religious” aspects of our lives.

God isn’t just some convenient deity that you bring out in a crisis, then forget about afterwards. He is the God that deserves all your attention, in all parts of your life, all the time.

R. C. Sproul writes in The Holiness of God that,

The one concept, the central idea I kept meeting in Scripture, was the idea that God is holy. The word was foreign to me.

Today I am still absorbed with the question of the holiness of God. I am convinced that it is one of the most important ideas that a Christian can ever grapple with.

It is basic to our whole understanding of God and of Christianity.

Whoa. Those are some serious statements.

Sproul points to the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer to show the emphasis Jesus himself places on God’s holiness:

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed [make holy] be your name.”
Matthew 6:9

Jesus immediately established that the first request to the Father be that he’s regarded as holy. Everything else follows behind. 

Is this what you establish as a first priority in your prayers? Regarding God as holy?

Unfortunately, not many of us do.

And if not, we would be wise to change it.

Because if we want God to reign over every part of our lives in his holiness, and if we want to obey his command that we be holy because he is holy, we need to seriously grapple with what his holiness means.

God is inescapable. There is no place we can hide from Him. Not  only does He penetrate every aspect of our lives, but He penetrates  it in his majestic holiness.

Therefore we must seek to understand what the holy is.

We dare not seek to avoid it.

There can be no worship, no spiritual growth, no true obedience without it. It defines our goal as Christians.

He’s got my attention. I’m in. How about you?

But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:15-16

* * * The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

How much do you understand about God’s holiness?

We’re meeting at Challies today to talk about Chapter 1, The Holy Grail.

Next week:
Chapter 2: Holy, Holy, Holy



Becky said...

Lisa, again I am here, pondering with you. Isn't this opening chapter incredible?

That last quote you brought up: "God is inescapable. There is no place we can hide from Him. Not only does He penetrate every aspect of our lives, but He penetrates it in his majestic holiness."

That, O just that, if we would not forget this,then we would certainly "dare not seek to avoid it"!

May we see Him as He is!

Let us extol His name together!

Kevin Sorensen said...

What a great start to a great book. Thanks for your insights here to, Lisa. I look forward to checking out as many of the posts of other readers as time allows.

I was recently going over the truth of God's "all seeing eye" with our youth group. You could tell that many of them were getting very restless with this idea that God could see into their very minds, that there was no where they could flee or go that could escape that holy gaze. Then, before they all fled the room and never came back, I quickly showed them in Scripture the grace that saves us from the undoing glance of holiness. Jesus Christ not only saves us, but makes us long for that gaze of God, not fear it.

Here's looking forward to more blessings through the reading.

findingthemotherlode said...

Hi Lisa,

I've enjoyed your comments on Challies (The Bruised Reed)and am eager to see what stirs in everyone's hearts and minds with this excellent book. It's my third read, and just only gets better.
So, from time to time, expect me to pop in to comment here, too.

Your post does justice to Sproul's wonderful first chapter, The Holy Grail, by highlighting his essential points. I've been drinking in the reality of what it means to pray "Hallowed be Your Name..." for over a year now.

"God's kingdom will never come where His Name is not considered holy." (p. 13)

Amen. He is all deserving.

Mrs. David Hankins said...

Looking forward to reading along with you and Challies!

I, too, was very blessed by Sproul's comments on the Lord's Prayer. How often is my first petition that God's name be holy (or anything close to that). I'm afraid it's not often enough. :/

I look forward to growing in my understanding of God's holiness with you!


Lisa notes... said...

I really enjoyed this opening chapter, too. Makes me hungry to keep going. So glad you’re reading along. I always learn a lot from your take on the classics we read together.

I remember singing “There’s an all-seeing eye watching you” when I was growing up. And being terrified by it. Ha. We had an older, stern lady who would sit a few rows behind the teens and give us that “evil eye” and unfortunately I correlated the song with her.

I like your perspective much better. Grace takes away the “undoing glance of holiness” and replaces it with a longing for his gaze. Beautifully said.

Lisa notes... said...

3 readings? Good for you. I’ll look forward to your seasoned comments.

I like what you wrote at Challies:
“He speaks of God’s manifest Presence, the clean fear of the Lord and how it arrested him.”

Your phrase “the clean fear of the Lord” struck me as unusual; I like it and will think more about it.

Your last sentence was also thought-provoking:
“Man reaching up to God is mere religion, but God reaching down to man is salvation.”

Amen. Please keep stirring our thoughts.

Lisa notes... said...

Elizabeth (Mrs. David),
You make a good point in the post on your blog. God’s kingdom will and has come, regardless of what WE think about it. Perhaps Sproul is referring to his kingdom not coming in US personally if we have no regard for who he is? Thanks for making me think about this. I’ll look forward to more of your discerning thoughts.

Kara said...

I LOVE your summary, Lisa! You hit all the points that really resonated with me. This is going to be a great book and discussion! Here are (hurried and late) thoughts on the first chapter:


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