Have you ever contemplated the Holiness of God? If you have I am sure you have asked yourself, “What does ‘holiness’ mean?” There are a few really good working definitions floating around out there. However, Sinclair Ferguson begins his definition not from man’s perspective, but from God’s. Here is a bit of what Ferguson has to say about the Holiness of God:
What then is God’s holiness? What do we mean when we say, ‘Holy Father’ and ‘Holy Son’ and ‘Holy Spirit’ and ‘Holy Trinity’?
We mean the perfectly pure devotion of each of these three persons to the other two. We mean the attribute in the Trinity that corresponds to the ancient words that describe marriage: ‘forsaking all other, and cleaving only unto thee’ – absolute, permanent, exclusive, pure irreversible, and fully expressed devotion.
When we grasp that this is true in the Trinitarian fellowship of God’s being it will help us understand several things about holiness.
First, that it is not something mechanical, or formal, or legal, or even performance-based. It is personal. In a sense ‘holiness’ is a way of describing love. To say that ‘God is love’ and that ‘God is holy’ ultimately is to point to the same reality. Holiness is the intensity of the love that flows within the very being of God, among and between each of the three persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is the sheer intensity of that devotion that causes seraphim (whose holiness is perfect but creaturely) to veil their faces.