God is Holy
He Cannot Tolerate Our Sin
The word holy means “separate” or “set apart.” There is no one like God. He is perfect! Holiness carries the idea of separation from the imperfections of sin. God is sinless, and because He is holy He cannot tolerate our sin.
[God is] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity [sin]. HABAKKUK 1:13A
It’s not just that God doesn’t like sin; but because He is perfectly pure, He can’t tolerate sin. It is not just that He will not, but that He cannot. This means that if you were to stand before God with sin in your life, He would have to remove you from His presence.
There are as many definitions for right and wrong as there are people. But God’s definition is the only one that counts.
… sin is the transgression of the law. 1 JOHN 3:4B
No one likes to be told what to do, and at the core of sin is our rebellion against God’s law.
God’s Law is a reflection of His nature, and the essence of sin is offending His holy nature. The Ten Commandments are not just rules to live by. Each commandment protects us from offending Him. When we break God’s law, we distance ourselves from Him.
The first of the Ten Commandments teaches that we are to have no other gods before Him. This law is a reflection of God’s love for us — a deep love that demands loyalty from us. An idol can be anything that is more important to us than God. Have you ever valued anything as more important to you than God? I have. You and I have broken His law. We have offended God.
The third commandment is a reflection of His holy nature:
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. EXODUS 20:7
To take God’s name in vain is to use it flippantly or as an expletive like “Oh my _____!” Have you ever taken God’s name in vain? I have. We are law-breakers. We have offended God’s holy nature.
God’s command not to commit adultery is a reflection of His faithfulness. Breaking our marriage vows not only hurts our spouse, it offends our God. His command not to lie reflects His truthful nature. God is Truth and cannot lie. Have you ever told a lie or stretched the truth? I have. When we break God’s law, we offend Him.
If we want to have a relationship with Him, we’re going to have to deal with our inability to keep His laws.
Sin not only alienates us from God, it is destructive and enslaving. Jesus said, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” (JOHN 8:34). There are probably things you do that you know are wrong and would like to quit doing, but you can’t, for example, habitual lying, outbursts of anger, bitterness, immoral behavior or relationships, stealing, envy. You might be thinking, “I don’t sin that much.” JAMES 2:10 states, “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
This leaves us with a dilemma because the Bible teaches:
All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. ROMANS 3:23A
When we come short of the glory of God we come short of His holy standard of perfection. God tells us, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I PETER 1:16 ). Most of us are willing to admit that we have sinned, but many do not know that because of God’s holy nature, sin disqualifies us from having a relationship with God.
Imagine you and a friend having a contest to see which of you can jump to the top of a thirty-foot flagpole. One of you might be able to jump higher than the other, but neither of you could reach the top. You would both fall short of the goal. The same thing is true of our relationship with God. While some people might be better than others, no one is perfect. All of us fall short of His standard of holy perfection.
We will look at three more of God’s character traits, but if this were all we knew about Him, who could have a relationship with our holy God? No one!