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From the Fall 2008 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

The Holiness of God

by Art Lindsley, Ph.D.
C.S. Lewis Institute Senior Fellow

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The Loss of the Holy

  As our culture loses a sense of God’s holiness, we lose a sense that anything is holy. When we lose a vision of the beauty of His holiness, then there is an ugliness that creeps from the inside out, touching our relationships, churches, workplaces, buildings and ways of life. In the Old Testament there were holy places and holy spaces. The ground around the burning bush was holy (Ex. 3:5). The temple was holy (Isa. 64:11; Jon. 2:4; Hab. 2:20). There are holy utensils (I Chron. 9:29), garments (Ex. 29:21; Lev. 16:4), foods (I Sam. 21:4; Neh. 7:65), oil (Ex. 30:25, 31; Num. 35:13; Ezek. 42:13). The holiness of God sets apart concrete things as holy. Though we are not bound by the ceremonial law (fulfilled in Christ), we are to now set apart all aspects of our lives as holy unto the Lord. There is for us a holy meal (the Lord’s supper), holy baptism, holy hands (I Tim. 2:8), and a holy calling (II Tim. 1:9). We are now to be holy in body and spirit (I Cor. 7:34) and to offer our bodies as a holy sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). We are to be ones described in Scripture as “saints” (literally “holy ones”) (I Cor. 1:2). And as the body of Christ, we are to be a holy nation (I Peter 2:9) in the world. In other words, every aspect of our lives is to be dedicated as holy unto the Lord. There is a passage in Zechariah 14:20-21 that prophesies this extension of the holy from particular objects to all of life. These final two verses of Zechariah say, “ In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses ‘HOLY TO THE LORD’ and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the bowls before the altar. And every cooking pot in Jerusalem and in Judah will be holy to the Lord of hosts…” The “bowls before the altar” (vs. 20) might be considered holy utensils because of their proximity to the holy altar. But there will come a time in the future, Zechariah prophesies, where every cooking pot in the Lord’s house will be holy (not just those by the altar). In fact, in that day every cooking pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy (not just those in the Lord’s house). This holiness will be so pervasive that even the smallest object such as bells on a horse’s neck will be inscribed as “HOLY TO THE LORD.” To truly regard every good created thing as holy requires a renewed vision of the beauty of God’s holiness. Without this perspective, one area after the other will be stripped of the words, “Holy to the Lord.”
  Today, as never before, we need holy marriages, holy families, holy houses, holy hospitality, holy friends, holy vocations, etc. But these can only come as we gain a vision of God and his holiness that captivates us and transforms our vision from the inside out to all areas of life. Let us then devote ourselves fully to seeking to know God’s holiness and to becoming individually and corporately what we were created to be—holy people worshiping a Holy God.

Art Lindsley is a Senior Fellow with the C.S. Lewis Institute, where he has served since 1987. He and his wife, Connie, and their two boys, Trey and Jonathan, make their home in Arlington, Virginia.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.
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