RPM, Volume 19, Number 33 August 13 to August 19, 2017

The Night Watches: The Holiness of God

Psa 63:6; 130:6; 42:8

By John MacDuff

"You only are holy." — Rev. 15:4

What a sublime perfection is this! It would seem to form the loftiest theme for the adorations of saints and angels. They cease not day nor night to cry, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!" It evokes from the Church on earth her loudest strains — "Let them praise His great and terrible name, for it is Holy!"

Holy, Holy, Holy Three!
One Jehovah evermore!
Father! Son! and Spirit! we,
Dust and ashes, would adore
Lightly by the world esteemed,
From that world by You redeemed,
Sing we here with glad accord.
Holy! Holy! Holy Lord!"

Reader, seek, in some feeble measure, to apprehend the nature of God's unswerving hatred at sin! It is the deep, deliberate, innate opposition of His nature to moral evil, which requires Him to hate it, and visit it with impartial punishment. It is not so much a matter of will as of necessity.

But what pleasure can there be in meditating on so awful a theme? The contemplation of a God "of purer eyes than to behold iniquity"- in whose sight "the heavens are not clean!" Jesus! Your glorious atonement is the mirror in which we can gaze unappalled on this august attribute. Your cross is, to the wide universe, a perpetual monument and memorial of the Holiness of God. It proclaims, as nothing else could, "You love righteousness and hate wickedness!" Through that cross the Holiest of all Beings becomes the most gracious of all. "Now, we can love Him," says a saint who has entered on his rest, "not only although He is holy, but because He is holy."

Gaze, and gaze again on that monumental column, until it teaches the lesson, how vain elsewhere to look for pardon; how delusive that dream; on which multitudes peril their eternal safety, that God will be at last too merciful to punish! Surely, if any less awful vindication could have sufficed- or had it been compatible with the rectitude of the Divine nature, and the requirements of the Divine law, to dispense pardon in any other way, Gethsemane and Calvary, with all their awful exponents of agony, would have been spared. The Almighty victim would not have voluntarily submitted to a life of ignominy and a death of woe, if, by any simpler method, He could have "cleared the guilty." But this was impossible. If He was to "save others," Himself he could not save!

Believer, seek that some faint and feeble emanations from this Divine attribute of Holiness may be yours. Let "Holiness to the Lord" be the superscription on your heart and life. Abounding grace can give no sanction or encouragement to abound in sin. 'His mercy,' says Reynolds, 'is a holy mercy which knows how to pardon sin, not to protect it; it is a sanctuary for the penitent, not for the presumptuous.'

Or, are you tempted to murmur under the dealings of your God? What are the sorest of your trials in comparison with what they might have been, had this Holy God left you to know, in all the sternness of its meaning, how "Glorious He is in Holiness?" Rather marvel, considering your sins, that your trial has been so small- your cross so light. Blessed Jesus! into this sanctuary of "holy mercy" which you have opened for me, I will flee. I can now "give thanks at the remembrance of God's holiness." Deriving, even from this august attribute, one of the 'songs in the night'— "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

Subscribe to RPM
RPM subscribers receive an email notification each time a new issue is published. Notifications include the title, author, and description of each article in the issue, as well as links directly to the articles. Like RPM itself, subscriptions are free. Click here to subscribe.