Blog Post

12th Nov 2023 – Minister’s Letter Understanding God’s holiness and ours

In English we have two words, ‘holy’ and ‘sanctify’. In Hebrew and in Greek they are the same word (adjective and verb form). J. I. Packer says, “‘Holy’ is the word which the Bible uses to express all that is distinctive and transcendent in the revealed nature and character of the Creator, all that brings home to us the infinite distance and difference that there is between him and ourselves… The word points to God as standing on a higher plane of existence. It focusses attention on everything in God that makes him a proper object of awe and worship and reverent fear and serves to remind his human creatures how ungodlike they really are.” (God’s Words, pp. 171-2)

Last week’s sermon (Isaiah 6:1-8) looked at God’s holiness, both all that makes God different from us as Creator and his moral purity. When we put our trust in Jesus we are made holy, pure, fit to be in God’s presence (see Colossians 1:22). We are sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11). However, we are then called to be holy in the way we live. 1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “As he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct, 16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” This is the process of sanctification that needs to go on in our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Nick Speyer