My daughter often asks if she looks pretty, but when I said “yes,” she would say that of course I would say that because I am her dad. I am supposed to say that (though I beg to differ that that is the only reason). We often think of God’s love this way. We think “Of course, He has to love us since He is our heavenly father. Christians have emphasized His love too much in our messages but not enough about His holiness. His love does not carry as much weight if we do not consider His holiness.
Christians have been telling the world that “God so loved the world…” so the world takes it for granted that is what He is supposed to do. In the face of suffering, skeptics protested “If God exists and He is all-loving, why does He let suffering happen?” We have not been telling them what is the significance of God’s love. The significance of God’s love stands out when we consider His holiness.
God’s holiness means He is set apart and highly revered by His subjects. Holy means freedom from all evil. Since He is holy, and we are full of sins. What He is supposed to do is despise us, judge us harshly, and punish all of us. Loving us is not what a holy being is supposed to do. What we deserve is to receive punishment, not goodness. It is a fallacy to think that we do not deserve pain and suffering.
These verses tell us about the holiness of God:
And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” – Isaiah 6:3
And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.” – Revelation 4:8
Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You cannot look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up Those more righteous than they? – Habakkuk 1:13
“There is no one holy like the Lord, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God. – 1 Samuel 2:2
“Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For all the nations will come and worship before You, For Your righteous acts have been revealed.” – Revelation 15:4
The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men. – Psalm 11:4
‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. – Leviticus 19:2
…and many more.
In understanding His holiness, we understand His love is magnanimous. In understanding His holiness, we are grateful for His love and the salvation that was borne out of His love. In understanding His holiness and how we have been renewed by His love, we strive to put on the new self and pursue righteousness and holiness to be like God (Ephesians 4:21-24).