The Inconceivable Holiness of God

Inconceivable!” Yes, I just quoted one of the greatest movies of all time: The Princess Bride. Throughout the movie, Vizzini repetitively uses the word ‘inconceivable’ in a variety of contexts. Finally, Inigo Montoya confronts Vizzini saying, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” This reminds me of the attributes of God. How often do we use words for God even though we do not fully comprehend their meaning? We say them so nonchalantly; like we have been taught that these are the correct words to say. The attributes of God aren’t meant to be used loosely. They are meant to be spoken with true awe and reverence. One such attribute is God’s Holiness.

Throughout the Bible, we are told multiple times that God is holy. But what does it mean to be holy? Do you honestly know its definition? If you don’t know its meaning, how can you confidently declare this attribute Godly? In order to understand holiness, we must look at the root of the word. Merriam-Webster defines holy as “exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness, or divine.”

Now we can begin to look at holiness in a Biblical context.

Psalm 99:9 (ESV) tells us, “Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy!” And Isaiah 6:3 (ESV) adds, “And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’” These verses are shouting out exaltation. The Lord our God is holy. He is deserving of all devotion because he is perfect in goodness and righteousness. Out of all the attributes of God, holy is the only one mentioned three times in a row: Holy, Holy, Holy. This repetition is put there to draw our attention. It sets it apart, narrowing in on the importance of the holiness of God.

Pastor, theologian and author of The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul stated, “The idea of holiness is so central to biblical teaching that it is said of God, “Holy is his name” (Luke 1:49). His name is holy because He is holy. He is not always treated with holy reverence. His name is tramped through the dirt of this world. It functions as a curse word, a platform for the obscene. That the world has little respect for God is vividly seen by the way the world regards His name. No honor. No reverence. No awe before Him.”

We see this time and time again in Scripture as well. God would directly reveal Himself to His people. He displayed His holiness through Jesus Christ and became ridiculed and despised for it. Let us no longer continue in that cycle. Let us seek to acknowledge and praise God’s holiness. Only by learning and studying His attributes are we able to begin knowing God.  His great attributes far surpass our conceptualization. Holy, Holy, Holy is His name.

Bekah Mead