Be Ye Holy
Chapter 1: Holiness
– The Foundation of Separation
term conveys the understanding that God is unique in His
holiness and is separate and distinct from His creation.
He is exalted in holiness. When Moses and the children of
Israel sang after their deliverance at the Red Sea, they
praised God's transcendent holiness. They asked, "Who
is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee,
glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?"
(Exod. 15:11). Hannah gladly recognized the transcendent
holiness of God in her prayer: "There is none holy
as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there
any rock like our God" (I Sam. 2:2). The same truth
is stated later in the same book: "Who is able to stand
before this holy Lord God?" (I Sam. 6:20). The song
of Moses and the Lamb likewise reiterates the truth: "Who
shall not fear thee O Lord, and glorify thy name? For thou
only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before
thee; for thy judgments are made manifest" (Rev. 15:4).
Holiness and God's glory
holiness and glory are linked together several places in
God is glorious in His holiness (Exod. 15:11). Because He
is the Holy One, His glory covers heaven and earth (Hab.
3:3). Part of His honor, weight, substance, or worth is
His holiness. For this reason He is to be praised (Hab.
3:3; I Chron. 16:29; Ps. 96:7-8). His dwelling place in
heaven is said to be "the habitation of thy holiness
and of thy glory" (Isa. 63:15). The tabernacle was
sanctified (made holy or set apart) by the presence of God's
glory in it (Exod. 29:43).
The Beauty of Holiness
times in the Old Testament (I Chron. 16:29; II Chron. 20:21;
Pss. 29:2; 96:9; 110:3) beauty and holiness are linked.
All five passages refer to the worship of God by man, and
these passages also link God's glory to His holiness. Girdlestone
explains the meaning of this phrase "the beauty of
holiness": "Other suggested readings are 'the
glorious sanctuary' and 'holy array.' The word 'beauty'
frequently means majesty or excellency, and probably points
to the glory of God rather than to the garments of man."24
Between God and Man
God is separate from His creation. He is holy in His character.
No god is like Him, and He is greater than man. This division
exists partly because God is the Creator and as such is
greater than His creation. The condition is not just that
God is intrinsically and transcendentally holy and that
man is neutral. The transcendence of God is made more glaring
by man's sin nature. Given the fact of God's holiness, Chestnut
is accurate when he states, "To sin is to violate any
of God's requirements in any way."25
He further points out the threefold nature of sin. Sin is
sin because (1) "It is self-assertion against God's
will" (Gen. 3:4-7), (2) "it breaks the bond between
man and God," and (3) "because the violator loses
holiness derived from closeness to god."26
When sinful man comprehends, even in part, the holiness
of God, only one response is possible. Isaiah said it for
all men when he recounted: "Then said I, Woe is me!
For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and
I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine
eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts" (Isa. 6:5).
declares that God in His holiness is greater than man and
is separate from man. God alone is holy. John Miley clearly
understood this when he stated, "In the deepest, divinest
sense, God only is holy."27
Be Ye Holy: The Call to Christian Separation. By Fred Moritz. ©1994.
BJU Press. Reproduction prohibited. This work is available for purchase at the
Bob Jones University Campus Store (phone: 1-800-252-1927; web address:
www.bju.edu/store.) Please note, due to browser limitations, the Hebrew
and Greek words are not displayed in their original languages.
Permission must be obtained from www.itib.org
to link to this page.