The Trinity – Holiness

HOLINESS is a moral attribute of the Godhead, or more properly is an attribute of love: 11:44-45; Is. 6:3; I Pe. 1:15-16; Re. 4:8.

The primary idea of the Hebrew word rendered “holy” is that of cutting off or separation, and thus properly means worthy of veneration or reverend. The New Testament Greek equivalent has a similar meaning. Holiness in God is a dynamic state of being, rather than a static (or fixed) something somewhere in the Divine nature. It is a descriptive term of the character of God which is established by right moral action and of moral beings who are voluntarily fulfilling Their moral obligation, or are conforming to their moral light or perception of truth. Holiness is an evaluation that is due to virtuous moral beings. It is a tribute of praise and veneration because a moral being has chosen to be virtuous when such an one might have chosen otherwise.

Holiness does not do anything, therefore, and consequently is not properly a moral attribute, but attaches an atmosphere of sanctity to the whole character and actions of the Godhead because They have chosen to be guided by intelligence and benevolence in all Their actions—without the least taint of arbitrariness, partiality, or self- assertiveness. Holiness is not something one has, but something one is. “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (Le. 11:44; I Pe. 1:16) is plainly a description of God’s manner of living, with a strong admonition to man to follow in the ways of his Creator.

  1. “God is love,” or is living in a state of good-will, or true benevolence (I Jn. 4:8).
  2. “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all” (I Jn. 1:5). “He Himself is in the light” (1:7), or is subjecting Himself to the perfect scrutiny of His own absolute intelligence and is, therefore, perfect in all conduct. The Lord Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (Jn. 8:12), by which He meant that His manner of living was the world’s standard. He could say, “Which one of you convicts Me of sin?” (Jn. 8:46), and thus was “separated from sinners” and was called “holy” (He. 7:26). He affirmed that this walk in “the light” is true life (Jn. 8:12). See “Light” outline on page
  3. Therefore, the Godhead are holy in the absolute sense and are worthy of the veneration and worship of all. “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come,” is the continual ovation in heaven (Re. 4:8).

Source: Gordon Olson, The Truth Shall Make You Free, The Truth About The Nature and Character of God; p 34 (Illinois, Bible Research Fellowship Inc., 1980)

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