Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Attributes of God--Holy, Holy, Holy

Quite possibly the least discussed attribute is God's holiness.  Yes, we sing "Holy, Holy, Holy" and similar songs, but what do we mean by it?  Do we understand it?  Believe it? Live by it?

Simply put, God is set apart from us; there is no other like Him.  Interestingly, as He is set apart from man, He calls His people to be set apart from the rest of the world.  He gives us patterns--the sinless life of Jesus being one--to follow to do this.

He can't look on sin, yet sent His Son Jesus to die so that man could be forgiven for it.  That's a mighty God

The song HOLY HOLY HOLY also allows us a look at some of His other attributes:

LORD God Almighty--

  • LORD is the way the Jewish writers of the Old Testament recorded the proper name of God--Yaweh, or Jehovah as we write it today.  
  • God is an entity to be worshiped, followed and obeyed
  • Almighty reflects his attribute of omnipotence--all power is His

Merciful--He gives mercy which is withholding a punishment that is justly due.  He will withhold that from those who trust in Christ

Trinity--God is a God of three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  All are God; all are equal; together they are God.  It's not an easy concept to grasp and anyone who says he has it all figured out is most likely a heretic--or at best he is in well-intentioned error.

...all the saints adore thee...A picture of Heaven, when the saints will be glad to give to God all the rewards which they have earned in His service.  This clearly shows God to be worthy of all our worship and praise.

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee--Another picture of Heaven.  Here are two types of angelic beings, both engaged in acts of selfless worship.

Was, is and evermore shall be--Here's a statement of God's eternal nature, without beginning or ending.

Though the darkness hide thee--Our sinful world has clouded our ability to see God clearly as He is.  Adam and Eve walked with God, apparently in a literal sense; but since they sinned, mankind was no longer able to do that.  We cannot know, and I suspect even in eternity will never fully know, the full extent of God for we are limited beings and God is limitless.

Perfect in power, love and purity.  He is perfect, that is complete in all of these things:

  • He is all powerful--omnipotent.  There is nothing that the LORD God Jehovah cannot do! 
  • Love--He loved the world so much that He gave his only son....  That's perfect love
  • Purity--there is no guile in God.  He defines truth, it's recorded in His Word, and acts according to it

All Thy works shall praise Thy name...--there will come a time when every knee will bow to God's power and sovereignty.  There will be no more disputing of His claim to authority, his right to rule.  It will be over.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

  1. Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;
    Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!
    God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
  2. Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee,
    Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
    Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
    Who was, and is, and evermore shall be.
  3. Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,
    Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
    Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,
    Perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.
  4. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
    All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea;
    Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!
    God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

This has not been an exhaustive exploration of the Attributes, merely an introduction.  For a further and deeper study, I'd suggest biting the bullet and investing in a good book of systematic theology (I like Grudem's).  Along with a good study Bible, it will guide you to a better understanding of who God is and what He says about Himself.  He is NOT the god of pop-culture, He is Jehovah God, the LORD.

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