5 Things You May Be Missing about God’s Holiness

5 Things You May Be Missing about God’s Holiness

Believers often stand and declare that God is holy; the Bible calls Him holy, and the angels declare it to be true. Sin separates people from God because He is holy. His holiness is an awesome, all-encompassing thing that seems to be beyond mortal comprehension. The Bible does give s glimpses into holiness, and our relationship to it. Sin is the opposite of holiness, and through it, each person severs their ability to have a relationship with the Lord.

When examining God’s character, His holiness is one of the key elements to comprehend. When in the full presence of God’s holiness, the prophet Isaiah had a strong reaction:

“And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’” (Isaiah 6:5).

Despite his relationship with God as a prophet, when confronted with the majesty of God on His throne, Isaiah fell under deep conviction. This life on earth is full of opportunities to recognize our sins before facing God on His throne. Because of our sin, we cannot be in His holy presence for eternity without the intercession of the blood of Jesus Christ. If someone does not confront their sin in light of who God really is, they may not recognize why they need to repent, put their faith in Jesus Christ, and pursue a relationship with the Lord.

Here then, are five things to know about God’s holiness.

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Two sets of shoes on either side of a red line on the pavement

1. God Is Holy, or Set Apart, from Everything Else That Exists

God created everything. Nothing pre-dated Him and nothing will come after Him. All living beings – even spiritual beings like the angels – owe their lives to Him and His love and willingness to create. There is no one like God.

He is also untouched by sin, unlike everything in creation which has been tainted by the influence of the evil that the original sin let into the world.

God’s holiness also manifests as perfection, totally good and righteous, perfectly loving. His ability to love and forgive is so great, that parts of it are even mysterious to the angels.

“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? (Exodus 15:11).

“Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! (Psalm 96:9).  

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isaiah 57:15).

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Man holding up an infinity symbol

2. God’s Holiness Is Eternal

Unlike all other beings, God existed outside of time, and in perfect unity with Himself. He never grew into His holiness or went on a journey to discover holiness; He always has been and will be holy.

Angels exist in the presence of His holiness, but they are not equal to it. People were created to be in His presence, but lost the right and the ability to be before it. When Jesus said He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, He spoke to His eternal nature, which has been constant and unchanging.

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.  And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’” (Isaiah 6:1-3).

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

“And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’” (Revelation 4:8).

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Scale in a judge's office, justice

3. God’s Holiness Gives Him the Right to Judge Sin

The sentiment that no one has the right to judge another person is very common, but the Bible makes it clear that God has every right to judge. Without laws that society agrees upon, it is hard for a sinner to honestly sit in judgment over another sinner.

But God has never sinned, even when He took on flesh and lived a life on earth. Even to the cross, God the Son lived without blame or sin. He can truly empathize with the human struggle against the power of sin and temptation, but He also knows what it means to overcome it. Jesus lived a holy life, because He is holy, and will one day sit rightfully on a throne of judgment.

“God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day” (Psalm 7:11).

“For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us” (Isaiah 33:22).

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).

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Arms held up in an X

4. God’s Holiness Means He Cannot Accept or Tolerate Sin

If a judge allowed an unrepentant murderer to walk free in society over and over again, he would be deemed an incompetent or immoral judge. God must deal with the issue of sin, or He would not be God. He rules the universe and it obeys His commands.

Even rebellious people owe each breath to His loving, generous, long-suffering nature. Because He is holy, He cannot open His kingdom to those who love their sin, who refuse to repent of their sin, who cannot put their faith in Him.

“The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers” (Psalm 5:5).

“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19).

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

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Man kneeling in submission

5. God’s Holiness Is Accessible to Us after We Get Saved

Once someone confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God the Father raised Him from the dead, they are saved. The Holy Spirit then seals them into eternal life. Faith is credited to the believer as righteousness, since no one is righteous of their own ability. Where God once saw sin, He now sees the blood of Jesus.

Because of the path of salvation, one day, the people who put their faith in Jesus will be able to walk alongside God again, holy, in a manner like Him.

“In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness’” (Jeremiah 23:6).

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9).

Picturing God sitting on His throne in all His power and righteousness, surrounded by the angels who must cover their face in His holy presence, preparing to judge the world, is a humbling and awe-inspiring image. However, without the security of a relationship with Him through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it is also the end of all hope for eternal life.

As long as there is breath in one’s body though, there is time to start that saving relationship that will allow you to one day stand before God, confident you sins are forgiven and that you will spend eternity in perfect harmony with your Creator.

To be saved from the consequences of sin and from the Day of Judgment, all someone has to do is repent of their sins, believe that Jesus died for their sins and rose from the dead, and they are offered the gift of eternal life. Believe in the name of Jesus, and God’s holiness is no longer something to inspire fear and trembling, but love and confidence.


Blackaby, Henry. Holiness God’s Plan for Fullness of Life. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003.

Murray, Andrew. Holy In Christ Thoughts on the Calling of God’s Children to be Holy as He is Holy. London: James Nisbet & Co., 1888.

Sproul, R.C. The Holiness of God. Carol Stream: Tyndale, 1985.

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Bethany Verrett is a freelance writer who uses her passion for God, reading, and writing to glorify God. She and her husband have lived all over the country serving their Lord and Savior in ministry. She has a blog on graceandgrowing.com.