(Article for publication week of 2-9-2011 AD)
"And they rest not, day and night, saying, ‘ holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come’ " (Revelation 4:8b).
The God of the Bible is essentially holy. His holiness is His only attribute that is raised to the third degree. Noah Webster, in his original 1828 dictionary defined holiness thusly, “purity or integrity of moral character; freedom from sin; sanctity: applied to the Supreme Being, holiness denotes perfect purity or integrity of moral character, one of His essential attributes.” (The original 1828 dictionary is a most useful tool in study, because Noah Webster was a Christian, and a good theologian, and also because our English language had not been corrupted so much back then.)
This generation of church goers, I fear do not know the God of the Bible. They have conjured up in their minds a god of their own imaginations who is not holy. The false god that most churchgoers worship today lets them go in their sins most comfortably. The false god of modern day so-called Christianity has never commanded “be ye holy, for I am holy.” Modern professing Christians are not holy people, and their false god is such a kind and loving old god that he wouldn’t dare disturb them in their sins. And he sure wouldn’t send anybody to hell, because after all, he is not holy and loves everybody. Like the folks in Romans 1:23, the modern day “church” has taken their engraving tools and carved themselves a god that is in their own image, and he is not holy, and certainly not thrice holy.
But my friends and neighbors and kinfolks, that is not the God of the Bible, for the God of the Bible made man in His image, not the other way around. And the God of the Bible has said to man, His creature, ‘be ye holy, for I am holy.” The God of the Bible is a God to be feared and worshipped, for He is so holy that he will not let anything with the taint of sin into His holy presence. The God of the Bible is certainly a God of love, but He is thrice holy. His holiness is the crown of all His other attributes. His love is perfectly holy. So it is with His sovereignty and His omnipotence and His grace and His justice and all His blessed attributes. God is essentially and immutably holy, holy, holy.
Now I just want you to be honest with God and with yourself. What is your conception of God? You can lie to me, but you can’t lie to God. Do you understand that God is thrice holy? Is your god like yourself, not too holy, or is He so pure that He will not look on iniquity? Do you worship the God of the Bible, or do you worship a god of your own fancy? If your ideas of God are not in accord with His revelation of Himself in His Word, then you do not know the true God. The only true God (John 17:3) is holy, holy, holy.